CONTACT Arrival Information

We are very excited you will be joining us for the CONTACT program in Vermont! This year’s CONTACT program will bring together peacebuilders from many countries around the globe. It will be an exciting and enlightening experience!

CONTACT arrival day is Sunday, June 3. Departure day is Saturday, June 23. To better prepare you for your arrival, please closely review the essential information below.

Make sure to complete the online Participant Information Survey by May 15. This will provide us with essential information about things like your religious, food, and housing needs.

General Tips

  1. Protect your valuables. Carry them in a money belt or neck wallet or close to your body at all times.
  2. Keep important documents (passport, airline tickets, etc.) secure yet easy to access at immigration. Before leaving for your trip, make two copies of all documents. Keep copies separate from originals in case of loss or theft.
    1. Give one copy to your family.
    2. If you lose your documents, notify program staff immediately.
    3. Pack originals of your documents in carry-on luggage and copies in checked baggage.
  3. Money, credit cards, and traveler’s checks should always be carried in a money belt or close to your body.
  4. Keep a record of your account numbers and a list of important phone numbers. Leave a copy of this list with someone at home.
  5. Never leave your luggage alone. Do not lock your luggage. Customs officials may need to look inside your bags for security reasons.
  6. Prepare a “carry on” travel bag with some clothes, important documents, medical prescriptions and personal goods in case of delayed, misdirected, or lost luggage. At least one person every year experiences luggage delays, so it is good to have a change of clothes and any medication you need for a couple of days. Due to increased security at airports, participants should be careful about what to pack in their carry-on luggage. For guidelines please visit https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items.

Security in Airports

  • Security staff has the right to check your belongings and what you carry on your person.
    • You may be patted down or asked to take off your belt/jacket/shoes.
    • Checked and carry-on baggage may be opened and searched. 
  • You must comply with all security officers’ requests.
  • Do not make jokes during security checks. Respond directly to all questions.
  • Packing tips:
    • All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in three-ounce (100 ml) or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
    • All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
    • Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.
    • If you need larger amounts of liquids, gels, and aerosols such as toothpaste or shampoo, please place them in your luggage and check them with your airline.

Searches should not make you feel humiliated. They are a standard part of the flying process.

In order to travel to the United States, you will need to procure a visa. It is your responsibility to make arrangements for your visa interview and procure either a B1, B2, J1, or F1 visa prior to coming to the US.

It is recommended that you locate the nearest US embassy or consulate and verify visa appointment and processing wait times well in advance of your intended travel date.

If You Require a Visa

Process to obtain your visa:

  1. You – Using “Visa” as the subject line, email a scan of your passport identification page (including your name, date, and place of birth) along with a scan of your visa to the following addresses:
  2. You – Submit your $200 SEVIS I-901 fee; see the Billing and Finance section below for payment instructions.
  3. We – Complete the Form I-901 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee on your behalf.
  4. We – Send via courier:
    • your I-901 payment receipt,
    • your DS-2019 form,
    • an official letter of acceptance to the program,
    • an official letter of your scholarship award (if received),
    • an official letter to the consular officer,
    • a letter from the director of the International Student and Scholar Office, and
    • a CONTACT program brochure.
  5. We – Email you the tracking information for your documents and provide you with your SEVIS number and the CONTACT program number, which you will use to schedule your visa interview appointment.
  6. You – Contact your local US embassy or consulate and schedule your appointment date for a date after the scheduled date of receipt of your documents. Use the tracking number provided to determine when your documents will arrive.
  7. You – Once you have your visa interview date, send your interview date to Michael Smallis (Michael.Smallis@sit.edu).
  8. You – After you receive an official decision on your visa application, you must email Maira Tungatarova at maira.tungatarova@sit.edu to confirm the approval or denial of your visa.
  9. In the case of visa denials, Maira Tungatarova will be in touch with you about any further actions we can take toward getting your visa approved.

Please carefully read this information regarding your J-1 visa application process.

If You Hold a Valid B-1, B-2, F-1 Visa

Using “Visa” as the subject line, email a scan of your passport identification page (including your name, date, and place of birth) along with a scan of your visa to the following addresses:

After making plans for your travel to Vermont, you must complete the online Participant Information Survey.

If you plan to arrive in the US before June 3 or depart after June 23, you will be responsible for your own lodging and related expenses.

Air Travel & Shuttle to and from SIT Campus from Dartmouth Coach Bus Station

We highly recommend that you fly into Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).* CONTACT staff meet participants in person at BOS baggage claim and escort them to the Dartmouth Coach Bus stop for onward travel to Lebanon, New Hampshire. Look for someone wearing a CONTACT t-shirt with a big CONTACT sign! We do not provide this service at other airports.

Upon arrival in Lebanon, CONTACT staff provide transportation to SIT. We provide this service on arrival day (Sunday, June 3) and departure day (Saturday, June 23) ONLY.

Dartmouth Coach bus tickets currently cost $38 one-way or $62 round-trip. Please view the Dartmouth Coach time tables and purchase tickets online in advance.

*If you fly into or out of other airports in Hartford or the Greater New York City area, you must make your own travel arrangements to SIT. Note that alternative travel can be extremely expensive and more time consuming (at least 5-6 hours from New York and New Jersey).

See this document for Dartmouth Coach bus schedules and additional travel information.

Train Travel

From New York City - There is a train called “The Vermonter” that runs from Penn Station to Brattleboro once per day in the evening.

From Boston - Trains from Boston to Brattleboro are not direct. You have to take a train from Boston to either Springfield, Massachusetts or New Haven, Connecticut and then get the train to Brattleboro, which can take 5-6 hours total.

See the Brattleboro Amtrak train station website for train schedules. Indicate your arrival time on your Participant Information Survey and CONTACT staff will arrange for your transportation to SIT campus.

Bus Travel

See the Brattleboro Greyhound bus station for schedules. Indicate your arrival time on your Participant Information Survey and CONTACT staff will arrange for your transportation to SIT campus.

Car Travel

The GPS address for driving to campus is 1 Kipling Rd., Brattleboro, Vermont, 05302.

Take Exit 3 off Interstate 91 in Vermont. Follow the exit ramp to a roundabout, take the first right out of the roundabout onto Putney Road (Route 5) south. Proceed southbound on Putney Road one quarter mile to Black Mountain Road (traffic light).

Turn right onto Black Mountain road and follow the road over I-91 overpass. After two rather sharp curves, Black Mountain Road bears to the left. You bear right onto Kipling Road, to the top of the hill. Turn left at first opportunity — Dickinson Road — and then follow signs for where to park and check in.

    Please call the CONTACT program associate at 802 258-3332 if you are detained at Customs and Immigration.

    Arrival and Customs

    Every traveler must complete a Customs Declaration Form. You will receive this form during your US flight. You should complete it before landing so that you are prepared for Customs Check. The purpose of travel on your Customs Declaration Form should be indicated as “Business.” The back must be completed, signed, and dated. You will also be asked to provide a permanent US address. Please use SIT’s address: SIT Graduate Institute, 1 Kipling Road, Brattleboro VT 05302.

    When arriving in the US, you will be required to go through Customs and Immigration. To expedite this process, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

    • Comply with all customs directions. Failure to comply with any requests by Department of Homeland Security officials increases the amount of time you are likely to spend going through Customs and Immigration.
    • Have your passport with the necessary visa and all documents and correspondence from your visa interview meeting readily accessible as soon as you arrive.
    • A customs officer will ask for your declaration form and may ask questions about your luggage. If the agent asks you to open your bags, you must comply.
    • Customs regulations must be taken seriously. You must follow all rules. For example, you cannot bring any fruit or any food articles (not in a container) into the US.

    Entry Requirements

    B-1/J-1/J-1 visa holders will need to have their passport with the necessary visa. It is also recommended you bring all documentation that was required for your visa interview, including your DS 2019 form (for J-1 only), acceptance letter, health insurance, and statement of financial resources. You should have these original documents with you in your carry-on luggage and a set of photocopies in your checked luggage.

    If you are selected for a random entrance interviews, do not worry. Follow directions, answer all questions truthfully, and comply with all requests for documents and baggage searches. If necessary, please contact SIT program staff.

    Note: International visitors to the US arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. Those who need to prove their legal-visitor status — to employers, schools/universities or government agencies — can access their CBP arrival/departure record information online at https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94.

    Check-in will take place on Sunday, June 3, at the Student Center on SIT’s Vermont campus from noon until midnight. All CONTACT participants must register during this period in order to attend the program. If you experience travel delays, please call the CONTACT program associate at 802 258-3332 as soon as possible. Orientation will take place on the morning of Monday, June 4. View SIT campus map.

    Participants staying on campus are provided with single- or double-occupancy rooms and three meals per day while on SIT campus. Single rooms are available at an additional charge. The SIT dormitories are within walking distance of all classrooms and dining facilities. Students staying off campus will either need to provide their own meals or purchase their meals separately.

    Accommodations for meals will be made for all participants observing Ramadan. 

    In order to allow us to make the appropriate arrangements for your room and board, please complete the online Participant Information Survey.

    Financial Aid

    A limited number of partial tuition scholarships are available. Preference is given to students who can demonstrate that they have the support of their community and/or organization. Demonstrated financial support indicates not only that they are trusted in their community but that these students are more likely to return and share their knowledge to make a difference in their community. The scholarship will cover only a portion of the tuition fees for the course. Financial aid cannot contribute to room and board, visa fees, or travel expenses, which must be paid by the applicant regardless of financial aid decision.

    Financial Aid Request Form

    Using “Financial Aid Request” as the subject line, email the Financial Aid Request Form to the following addresses:

    Deposit

    A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to confirm your place in the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program and to secure any scholarship awarded through SIT. Please note that participants who require a J-1 visa must submit their deposit before SIT will issue the required SEVIS/I-20 form which is necessary for your visa application. Please see payment methods below.

    Tuition, Fees, and Room and Board

    Participants must pay their tuition, room and board, and fees in full before arrival and registration. If full payment is not received prior to arrival, participants will not be allowed to register or stay on campus and, if a J-1 visa was issued, SIT will withdraw sponsorship of the visa. There are no exceptions. Additionally, participants should bring enough money with them to cover their personal expenses during the program. Payment must be received by SIT no later than Friday, May 25, 2018.

    To Pay by Check:

    Send checks (US banks only) made out to SIT Graduate Institute in US dollars to:

    SIT Graduate Institute
    PO Box 676, Kipling Road
    Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA
    Attn: Student Accounts Office
    (Note: Your name must appear in the memo line of the check.)

    To Pay by Wire Transfer:

    You may access our wire transfer information via the link below.  After the wire has been sent, email Jim Parker a copy of your wire transfer receipt – jim.parker@sit.edu.

    Wire Transfer Form

    To Pay by Credit Card:

    If you or someone else will be making a payment for program deposit or tuition and fees, please call the Student Accounts Office at 802 258-3199 to provide the required credit card information.

    By Vermont state law, all participants are required to fill out an SIT health form. Please complete the health form as directed below and send it back by May 26 to Cheryl Williams (cheryl.williams@sit.edu).

    • US Citizens: Complete only Part I of health form
    • Non-US Citizens: Complete Parts I and II of health form

    J-1 visa holders are required to have insurance for their time in the US.  Proof of insurance is due upon arrival at SIT.

    There are many companies that offer short-term travel insurance however please note that any insurance purchased should meet the following requirements according to the US State Dept: 

    J Visa Regulations Regarding Health Insurance Requirements

    U.S. Government regulations require J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents to have health insurance. As of May 15, 2015, the J-1 regulations require the following with respect to health insurance coverage:

    • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Payment for repatriation (preparation and transportation of remains to home country) in case of death in the amount of $25,000
    • Payment for medical evacuation (transportation to home country on advice of attending physician) in the amount of $50,000
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
    • Coverage of pre-existing conditions after a reasonable waiting period
    • Payment by the insurance company of at least 75% of the costs of medical care (the patient must not be required to pay more than 25% of medical care costs)

    To comply with these regulations, health insurance policies must be underwritten by corporations having one of the following: 

    • A.M. Best rating of A- or above
    • McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims- paying Ability rating of ‘A- or above
    • Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above
    • Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above
    • Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above.

    Insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the exchange visitor's (J-1 scholars) government will meet this requirement. The regulations state that any exchange visitor (or accompanying dependent) who fails to maintain health insurance coverage as detailed above or who misrepresents such coverage will be in violation of U.S. Government regulations and shall be subject to termination as an exchange visitor.

    The following website provides quotes for J-1 travel insurance from various companies to compare prices: http://www.visitorshealthinsurance.com/compare-j1-visa-insurance/ although you are free to choose from other insurance providers provided they meet all previously mentioned requirements.

    Whatever insurance you choose, they should provide you with documentation of your coverage which you can bring to CONTACT.

    Medication and Medical Supplies

    • If you plan to take any prescription medication while abroad, be sure to have enough for your entire length of your stay. You must have the prescription paperwork to accompany any medications you bring.
    • Carry copies of medical records, prescriptions in generic form, and related information in a safe place. If you self-inject prescribed medication, you may need to carry needles and syringes. You will need a physician’s prescription and often a letter from your doctor or provider for medication and medical supplies in order to pass through customs.
    • Over-the-counter medicines, such as cold remedies, pain medication, and contact lens fluid and cleanser are available in pharmacies.
    • If you wear contact lenses or glasses, be sure to bring an extra set with you. Pack extra contact lenses or glasses in your carry-on luggage. Getting a new prescription for glasses or contacts abroad can be difficult and costly. Remember the medical insurance you are getting during the program does not cover these items.