J-1 Visa



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Pre-Arrival & Check-In

This section outlines the steps J-1 visitors must complete before and upon arrival to UCLA. Pre-Arrival information for J-1 Degree Students and Exchange Students (e.g. EAP) can be found at the following link: STUDENT PRE-ARRIVAL

Step 1: Obtain a UCLA DS-2019 Form

The UCLA Academic Department that is inviting you is responsible for providing DCISS with the DS-2019 Request Application. Once processed, DCISS will provide the DS-2019 form to the UCLA Academic Department. You will receive the DS-2019 form from the department. See Info for UCLA Departments.

Step 2: Review your UCLA DS-2019 Form

Look at your biographical information and program dates (item 3) on your UCLA DS-2019. Please contact DCISS immediately if there are any errors on the form. Return the form to our office if you decide not to come. Contact us immediately if you are currently in the U.S.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

You must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for the J-1 Visa. The SEVIS fee can be paid online at www.FMJfee.com. Print a copy of your payment receipt and have it with you when applying for your J-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and when entering the U.S.

Step 4: Apply for a J-1 Visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate

If you are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid J-1 Visa, follow the steps below to apply for a J-1 Visa (Canadian citizens exempt*):

  • 1. Fill out the DS-160 Application at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

  • 2. Schedule an appointment with a U.S. Embassy/Consulate at http://www.usembassy.gov/

  • 3. Take your UCLA DS-2019, valid passport, SEVIS fee receipt, MRV (visa application) fee receipt, passport style photos (if applicable), evidence of strong ties to your home country, and financial documents to your visa interview appointment. The following are examples of strong ties: proof of close family ties in your home country; proof of ownership of real property including stocks & investments; proof of guaranteed employment in your country or any other document that supports your intent to return home at the conclusion of your activities in the U.S.

If you intend to apply for J-2 Visas for your spouse or children, you must provide evidence of their full names, relationship to you, residence, nationality, and DS-2019s. Allow enough time to apply for the visa because the issuance of visas to some individuals could take longer due to security clearances. For more information about the visa application process, please visit http://travel.state.gov

*Please Note: Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa application requirement, but must pay the SEVIS fee, and present their DS-2019 and SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port of entry to the U.S.

Step 5: Arrange Health Insurance

See Health Insurance Section

Step 6: Begin jPATH Orientation

UCLA jPATH is a mandatory orientation designed to meet U.S. Department of State requirements and to help you adjust to life in the U.S., Los Angeles, and on the UCLA campus. jPATH consists of 4 online video modules: J-1 Visa Workshop, Getting Started at UCLA, Getting Started in Los Angeles, and Cultural Adjustment. There is a mandatory fee of $59 to access jPATH.

jPATH Overview

Step 7: U.S. Entry Procedures

Visitors entering the U.S. on J-1 status using an initial DS-2019 form may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start date on their DS-2019. Carry the following documents with you to present to immigration officials when entering the U.S.: DS-2019, passport, financial documents, & SEVIS receipt. Be sure that the immigration officer at the U.S. Port of Entry stamps the date of entry in your passport.

Step 8: Mandatory Visa Check-in (Validation of Arrival)

The arrival of a newly admitted UCLA J-1 Exchange Visitor must be updated in SEVIS. This process is called ‘validation’ and must be completed within 30 days of the starting date stated on Box #3 on the DS2019 form. In order to do this, the Exchange Visitor is required to check-in with DCISS upon arrival to UCLA. Failure to validate one’s arrival will result in automatic termination of their J-1 status in the SEVIS system. Exchange Visitors are required to bring the following documents to DCISS:

  • 1. Copy of UCLA initial or transfer DS2019

  • 2. Copy of I-94 Admission Record*

  • 3. Copy of J-1 Visa (except Canadian citizens)

  • 4. Copy of Passport Photo Page

  • 5. Copy of Proof of Medical Insurance**

  • 6. Original Passport & DS2019

Copies of the documents listed above must be made only AFTER arrival to the U.S. and before reporting to DCISS. DCISS does not provide access to a copy machine or printer.

*J-1 visitors can print their I-94 Admission Record at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home only after arrival to the U.S. This website will only be accessible after the EV’s arrival. If EV receives a paper I-94 card instead, they must make a copy of both front and back sides of the card.

**VSISP enrollment confirmation will be sent to the J-1 visitor by email. Visitor must print and bring for check-in. Those approved for the waiver, must bring their waiver confirmation and proof of medical insurance used to waive.J-1 visitors exempt from the VSISP plan must provide proof of their UCLA affiliated medical insurance. See Health Insurance Section.

The following time slots are designated for the validation of arrival at DCISS:

Monday: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Wednesday: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Step 9: Living Accommodations

DCISS does not provide housing assistance, but UCLA Community Housing Office at www.cho.ucla.edu or our corporate sponsor Zuma Housing can provide you with housing options. Eligibility for university housing is dependent on your UCLA appointment title. Please contact your UCLA academic department for more information.

Documents & Forms


Exchange Visitor (EV) Regulations Handbook


American Culture and Conversation


Spouses’ Circle