Before Arrival

  1. Complete pre-entrance health requirements.
  2. Visit the Off-Campus Housing Office.
  3. If eligible (US Citizens), complete Section One of the I-9 Employment Authorization Form. (International postdoctoral fellows cannot complete this form prior to arrival but are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Employment in advance to set up a mandatory appointment upon arrival.)

Upon Arrival

  1. Check in with department administrators and sponsoring advisor/faculty members.
  2. Secure lab/office space and appropriate keys from department administrator.
  3. Establish postal mail procedures – what is your address at JHU and where can you pick up your mail?
  4. Confirm entry into payroll with dept. administrator – complete paperwork at Student Employment.
  5. JHU email is linked directly to payroll status and may take several weeks to activate. Postdoctoral Fellows should use an alternative account (i.e. gmail, yahoo, previous institution) in the interim period.
  6. Find JHED ID (check by searching for their name in the “people” search at, then set up email at
  7. Ask dept. administrator for information on how to get a J-Card (once JHED ID is known).
  8. Consider opening a local bank account (JHU can direct deposit paychecks). It helps to bring the Johns Hopkins offer letter with identification.
  9. Sign up to attend an orientation session.
  10. Subscribe to the Homewood Postdoctoral Association mailing list(listserv).
  11. Complete all benefits paperwork (enroll in Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Long-Term Disability, etc.)
  12. Health insurance for dependents can be obtained for a fee.
  13. There are times when Postdoctoral Fellows will need to visit the Student Health & Wellness Center to complete these requirements upon arrival in Baltimore; small fees may apply.

Tax Processes Upon Arrival

  1.  Fill out the I-9 (Employment Authorization) and W4 forms. U.S. citizens can complete section one on the I-9 before arrival.
  2. Non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents must check-in at the department’s administrative office immediately upon their arrival in the United States, or the first business day thereafter.
  3. Non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents also need to complete the JHU Foreign National Information Form (FNIF). This form is used by the JHU Tax Office to ensure that earnings are taxed appropriately.
    • The original FNIF and copies of the supporting documentation must be furnished to the JHU Tax Office upon arrival.  A copy of the form also needs to be supplied to the departmental administrator for the purposes of making sure payroll is entered properly into the JHU payroll system.
  4. An important note from Student Employment:
    • Checks will not be released to the postdoc or the department until payroll has been entered into the system and a valid I-9 form is on file at the central payroll office.
    • Federal regulations prohibit Student Employment from entering non-U.S. Citizens into the payroll system before a person’s physical arrival on campus.  Due to the length of time necessary to process payroll, it can take a few weeks before payroll disbursement becomes normal.  Please plan accordingly; Student Employment cannot provide emergency, short-term loans.
    • The department/Student Employment staff cannot answer any questions regarding tax withholdings, tax treaties, or tax eligibility.  Visitors must contact the University’s tax office if there are questions regarding tax withholdings, exemptions, or treaties.

New International Postdoctoral Fellows

  1. Check in with OIS, the Office of International Scholar Services.
  2. Obtain a SSN (Social Security Number).
  3. SSNs are important to have not only for payroll, but also help in terms of signing up for a cell phone service, utilities (BGE (electric and gas), internet, etc.
  4. International postdoctoral fellows not paid directly by JHU may not need to obtain an SSN; consult OIS in this situation.
  5. Consider registering with their national embassy here in the United States.

While at Johns Hopkins University

  1. Find out whether they are required to take the Responsible Conduct of Research course. All WSE Postdoctoral Fellows and KSAS Postdoctoral Fellows on NSF or NIH grants must take this course. Postdoctoral Fellows should consult their department administrator for more information and visit
  2. Remain mindful of postdoctoral fellowship appointment start and end dates.
  3. If there is any chance of renewal, international Postdoctoral Fellows need to make an appointment with OIS 6 months ahead of time.
  4. It is the postdoctoral fellow’s individual responsibility to ensure they remain in visa compliance at all times
  5. Speak with their advisor/PI/department administrator at regular intervals to ensure future plans are clear at least 4-5 months in advance.