Pre-arrival Information for BARDA Participants
BARDA participants receive detailed pre-arrival information by email and on the Moodle site that includes other information about logistics and the BARDA course. Below are some highlights from the pre-arrival guide.
Applying for a Visa
1. Apply for any necessary travel permissions from your agency or government.
2. Apply for a passport if you don't already have one.
3. Visit and read the Nonimmigrant Visa (consular) section of the US Embassy website in your country
4. Familiarize yourself with US visa information for temporary visitors
5. Take visa photos
6. Apply online for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa using Form DS-160 (read the online instructions carefully)
7. Schedule a visa appointment using the on-line service or by phoning the call center as instructed on the website of the U.S. Embassy in your country. You will be applying for the J-1 Exchange Visitor (Non-degree Student category) visa and you will need to submit your SEVIS ID number at the time you make your appointment. Your SEVIS ID# is at the top right corner of your Form DS-2019 and begins with the letter "N." You will probably not be permitted to make a visa interview appointment until you have your SEVIS ID#.
8. Pay your visa application fee and print/keep your receipt. You may need to show this at your visa interview. We cannot reimburse you for the visa application fee, airport taxes, (excess) luggage fees, duty on imported goods, or local travel between your home and your point of departure (the airport). We can reimburse you for the $180 SEVIS fee (Form I-901) if you provide the receipt and proper documentation.
9. Go to your scheduled interview with the Visa Officer and take all of the following supporting documents:
- GTI/BTEC admission letter
- Visa photos
- Photocopy or print out of your submitted visa application
- Copy of your visa application fee receipt
- Form DS-2019
- SEVIS fee receipt (Form I-907 receipt attached to the back of your DS-2019)
- Visa appointment date/time confirmation
You may need to return another day to get your visa and passport. Each U.S. Embassy has different processing times and procedures. The GTI will have already sent an email or fax to the Consular officer telling them about the BARDA program, so we don't anticipate that you will have to explain much if anything. They may ask you what you do for your job, why you want to come to the U.S., if you have been to the U.S. before, if you have any family members living in the U.S., and what you will do after the program ("return home to continue your employment" is always a good answer). If you have any trouble, please contact the GTI (firstname.lastname@example.org with "BARDA" in the subject line) for help.
Before you leave
- Check with your bank to find out if your debit/credit card will work in the U.S., discuss any fees or restrictions, and get some spending cash ($300 or more recommended) in U.S. dollars prior to departure. Although most of your expenses inside the U.S. will be paid for, you will want to have money to buy food in the airport, souvenirs, snacks, personal items, or to pay for optional activities during your free time.
- Check with your mobile phone company to see if your mobile phone will work in the U.S.
- Make copies of your passport and visa and give the copies to a trusted family member or friend in case of emergency.
- Carefully read through the emails sent to you by the GTI and NC State.
Your airline tickets will be sent to you by email. Check that they are correct and take them with you to the airport early enough to go through your security and processing procedures. Be sure you keep your passport, DS-2019 form, and Admission Letter with you when you board the airplane – you will need it when you land. The GTI will arrange for transportation to and from the airport and the beginning and end of your program.
Raleigh is located in the state of North Carolina about 400 miles from Atlanta, Georgia and 500 miles from New York City. The nearest airport is Raleigh-Durham (RDU) International Airport (www.rdu.com). It is about 15 miles away from NC State. Raleigh and the RDU airport are relatively safe areas, but please note that basic safety precautions need to be taken with regard to your baggage, money and personal belongings.
The GTI team monitors your flight information (in case there is a delay) and meets you at the airport. If you miss a connecting flight, we will not be informed by the airline, so it is very important to contact us (email or cell phone) immediately. You may be able to arrange alternate flights by yourself with the airline or you can call our travel agent (Hickory Beeline Travel) toll-free in the U.S. at: 1-800-845-1054 for assistance. Once you land at the gate, please proceed to the luggage area and special visitors booth reserved for BARDA participants.
If for any reason, you are not met at the airport, please call the GTI (phone number to be provided). All BARDA program participants are expected to arrive on the Saturday before the training program and depart Raleigh the Friday/Saturday following the end of the program.
BTEC (for training content)
Dr. Jennifer Ruiz, Assistant Director, Bioprocess Services and BARDA training program manager
GTI (for logistics)
Mr. Michael Bustle, GTI Director
Ilin Misaras, GTI Training Program Coordinator for BTEC programs
BARDA and BTEC Background
Beginning in September 2010, BTEC has received annual grant awards as part of a five-year, nearly $5 million project funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With funding from this grant, a team of instructors from BTEC, Duke University, and industry provided a three-week course entitled Fundamentals of cGMP Influenza Vaccine Manufacturing to three different groups of trainees from February through June 2011. Trainees were selected by institutions participating in a U.S. government-sponsored program to build vaccine production capacity among countries with developing economies. In 2012, the program expanded to offer two additional courses in advanced upstream and advanced downstream processing. These three courses are offered again in 2013.