As an ISEP student, you should only enter the United States as a J-1 exchange visitor using the DS-2019 issued by ISEP. For visa purposes, ISEP students are sponsored by ISEP, and not by the University of Montana.
ISEP students wishing to travel outside of the United States (even for travel to Canada!) during their exchange period must have their DS 2019 form signed the ISEP office in Washington, D.C. Please bring your DS 2019 form to International Programs (IP) after you have arrived to campus in order to have the form sent to ISEP for travel validation. Your travel authorization is valid for 6 months, so if you are staying at UM for a full year, you need to get it signed again during your second semester.
It is essential that you obtain permission to work while on exchange in the U.S. if you wish to work during your stay, or you will be in violation of your visa status. As a J-1 exchange student, you can work part time on-campus or off-campus (under special circumstances) during the semesters, or full time during holiday periods within the exchange period. You may also be able to complete an academic training period (an internship) as part of your exchange.
ISEP Exchange students must request authorization for employment and academic training through the Office of International Programs (OIP). Plan to visit OIP at least two weeks before you plan to begin to work. Requests for academic training must be submitted to IP by beginning of November for the Spring term and by mid-March for the Summer term.
If you plan to work, you will need to apply for a Social Security Card at the Social Security Office, located at 3701 American Way, Missoula, MT 59808, phone (866) 931-9029. You will also need this card to get a driver's license, if you wish to do so. Remember to bring your passport, DS-2019, and I-94.