Documentation:Science Co-op/USA - Stamford, CT (Specific to working at Cytec Industries)

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Helpful Tips For Co-op Students Going Specifically to CYTEC INDUSTRIES INC. in Stamford, CT


Return to: UBC Science Co-op Purpose: This document was created to help you prepare the necessary documents and funds BEFORE/AFTER your departure to Stamford, CT. This information may help to prevent some difficulties with paperwork and make it an easier transition for you.

Introduction

Stamford, located in southwest Connecticut, is the fourth largest city in the state. Downtown Stamford, a 15-minute bus ride or a half-hour walk from Cytec, is the central business district of Stamford and is home to many retail businesses, shopping malls, the University of Connecticut-Stamford campus, restaurants, etc. It is also within walking distance of Stamford Transportation Center, a major Metro-North train station, where you can take a Metro-North train west to Manhattan (45-60 minutes) or east to New Haven. Stamford Transportation Center is also serviced by Amtrak, whose trains can take you to cities such as Washington, DC or Boston, Massachusetts.

J-1 Visa Application

In order to work as an intern in the United States, you must apply for and receive an appropriate work/student visa; in this case, the J-1 Visa is appropriate. Cytec Industries, a co-op employer located in Stamford, requires that co-op students apply for a visa through CDS/Cultural Vistas; the application is done online. The application costs are covered by Cytec. Once your initial application and your host's application have been received and reviewed, a DS-7002 form (training plan) will be sent to the co-op office, which you must sign and arrange to be sent back in a timely fashion. You will then be required to fill out a second, more in-depth part of the application.


Cultural Vistas will then review the entire application. Once the application is approved, you will receive a Fed-Ex package will be sent to you containing the following:

  • A copy of form DS-2019
  • Form I-901 (SEVIS receipt)
  • DS-7002 (internship placement plan)
  • Health insurance benefit brochure and FAQ document
  • Participant handbook.

An appointment with the US embassy or consulate is not required for Canadian citizens. Aside from the phone interview conducted prior to employment, no further interviews are necessary.

Finances

In order to open a bank account and to be added to your company's payroll, you must have a social security number (SSN). It is strongly recommended that you wait 10 days after your arrival in the US and 3 days after you have confirmed your address with your CDS/Cultural Vistas representative to ensure enough time for the US government databases to communicate with each other and recognize that you have arrived in the US.

After waiting ten days, you should head to the nearest Social Security Office to apply for your SSN. There is an SS Office located in downtown Stamford; the address is:

   2 Landmark Square
   Stamford, CT 06901

You must have the following original documents (not photocopies) ready:

  • A completed Form SS-5
  • A letter of employment from your US host company
  • Passport including your J-1 visa and Form I-94
  • Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002)


Because your SSN will be mailed to you (usually within 1-2 weeks), it is crucial you provide the SS Office with a correct mailing address.

As you can see, it can take up to 3-4 weeks for you to obtain the SSN necessary to set up a bank account with; therefore, it is highly recommended you bring sufficient cash to last you during that time. You could, alternately, utilize a cheque-cashing service, which will most likely have cashing fees associated with it.


Cytec pays its hourly employees (e.g., co-ops and summer students) at the end of each week.

Banks:
Near the Cytec area, there are two banks and one credit union. They are:

   People's United Bank, 1937 West Main St. (located inside Stop and Shop)
   Bank of America, 383 West Main Street (8-minute walk east of Cytec)
   First County Bank (credit union), 1980 West Main St #305 (located near Shoprite)

Bring your passport, Social Security card, and proof of mailing address (e.g., the Social Security card sent to you). Once you have obtained a bank account, you can request direct deposit information for your bank account from a teller and submit it to your employer.

Insurance

Cultural Vistas requires that you purchase IEES Health Insurance, which is (at the time this was written), paid for by Cytec. If you have purchased health insurance from the AMS, it is also recommended you speak to an AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan representative in the SUB (lower floor) to extend your coverage so you are covered during your time in the US. You should bring along a letter of proof from the UBC Science Co-op office and your UBC Card.

Housing

At this point in time, Cytec owns several condominiums immediately next to it (511 West Main St.), which it offers to interns and summer students free-of-charge (as well as new employees at discounted rent). Utilities (heat, electricity, internet, cable, etc.) are all paid for by Cytec. These condos are offered to interns on a shared basis. Each condo contains two bedrooms (1 queen-sized bed in the master bedroom, two twin-sized beds in the second bedroom), as well as a loft (0-1 twin-sized bed) accessible by a set of steep stairs. Typically, Cytec has considerably more interns/summer students from May-August. These condos are fully furnished and have cookware (frying pans, saucepans, cutting board, etc.) and kitchenware (cups, bowls, plates, utensils) available for use. Each unit has a washer, dryer, stove/oven, fridge, and dishwasher. Towels and bed linens are also provided.

Transportation

Connecticut is serviced by CTTransit bus service. There is a major bus hub directly south of Downtown Stamford, located at Stamford Transportation Center. Buses can take you west to Greenwich or Port Chester, or east as far as Norwalk. Currently, bus fares are priced at $1.30 per trip, with transfer tickets available.

Stamford, being part of the New York metropolitan area, is serviced by Metro-North trains. Most notably, it is part of the New Haven Line, which spans from Grand Central Terminal (in New York City) to New Haven, CT. One-way offpeak tickets between Grand Central Terminal and Stamford are currently priced at $9.75. If you plan on making multiple trips over the course of your stay, you should consider purchasing a ten-trip ticket to save money. (Note that multiple-trip tickets may have expiry dates.)

There is also a Greyhound bus station on-site at Stamford Transportation Center.

Air Travel:
The two closest major airports are both located in New York City: LaGuardia Airport (LGA; usually domestic flights) and John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK; international)

  • Cytec will arrange a shuttle or limo to transport you to and from your chosen airport.

Documents

Obtained from the Cultural Vistas page:

How to Enter the United States:
You may enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date listed on your Form DS-2019. During your travel to the U.S. (or at the border if you are entering in a car), you will receive Form I-94 and Form 6059B.

  • Be sure that you receive a white Form I-94, not a green form, as the white form is designated for J-1 visa holders.


At your port of entry, you will need to present the following documents to a U.S. inspection agent:

  • Passport with with J-1 visa (Canadian citizens only: You will receive your J-1 visa status at your port of entry)
  • Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002)
  • Form I-797 (Notice of Action) – this is the receipt from your SEVIS payment
  • Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) – you will receive this during your travel to the U.S.
  • Form 6059B (Customs Declaration Form) – you will receive this during your travel to the U.S.

These documents should remain in your possession throughout your travel to the United States—do not pack them in your checked luggage. If you are unable to present them to the inspection agent, you will have significant problems entering the country. We recommend that you photocopy these and all other important documents before you leave home. Having copies will make it much easier to replace any documents that are stolen or lost.


The inspection agent will ask you a series of questions about the purpose and duration of your stay. You will be required to provide the U.S. address where you will be staying. If you don’t yet have an address, you may give the address of the hotel where you are staying. You must also submit to a digital finger/retinal scan for documentation purposes.


After this is completed, be sure that your passport is stamped by the agent and that Form I-94 is returned to you! Form I-94 should remain in your passport for the duration of your time in the United States; you will return it to an inspection agent when you leave the country.


Finally, expect to have your baggage inspected by U.S. Customs officials. This is to ensure that you have not brought any illegal or undeclared items into the United States.

Advice

  • Bring along or buy a router to connect to the provided modem -- otherwise, there will not be wireless internet and only one person can access (wired) internet at a time.
  • There are two grocery stores close to the Cytec condos: Stop & Shop (next to Cytec) and Shoprite (across the street from Stop & Shop). Shoprite typically has cheaper prices than Stop & Shop.
  • Major cellphone providers such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, etc. have prepaid or monthly (no-contract) options. If you have an unlocked cellphone, it is possible to obtain a SIM card from a provider and use it with your existing phone; however, you must confirm the frequencies used by the provider are compatible with your device.
  • The area between Cytec and Downtown Stamford (including the Metro-North station) is not necessarily the safest to walk through, especially at night. Taxis are available for hire in front of Stamford Transportation Center.

    NOTE:
Cytec requires potential employees to be tested for illicit substances. You are required to undergo a urine test either
at the beginning or some time in the middle of your work term. Testing positive for illegal substances (e.g., marijuana)
is grounds for being fired from your position.