J-1 Visa



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Information for UCLA Departments

The following guidelines will help departments determine whether to request a J-1 visa status for a visitor.

Eligibility

Following restrictions apply to J-1 Exchange Visitors.

  • If the visitor had been in a previous J program (except in a Research Scholar or Professor Category) which lasted for more than 6 months and seeks to begin a new program, on J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category, there must be a 12-month gap between the end date of the previous J program and the starting date of the new program before he/she can be eligible to enter the US to start the new program.
     
  • If the visitor had completed a previous J program in the U.S. as a Professor or Research Scholar, he/she is subject to a 24-months bar (gap) to start a new J-1 program as a Professor or Research Scholar.
     
  • When requesting J-1 status for a student – if the student is fully supported by personal funds he/she is not eligible for J-1 status.
     
  • If the visitor had applied for an H class visa or U.S. Permanent Resident status (‘green card’) he/she is NOT eligible to apply for a DS-2019 form for J visa status.
     
  • If the visitor had applied for and received a Waiver of the Two Year Home Residence Requirement from the State Department or USCIS, he/she is NOT eligible for a DS-2019 form for J-1 visa status.
     
  • If the position is tenure track, visitor is not eligible for J-1 status.
     
Inviting a Research Scholar / Professor / Short-Term Scholar / Specialist

Departments must submit a DS-2019 Request Form. DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the DS-2019 form. Requests should be submitted at least 2 months prior to start date of program to give scholar enough time to apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy and make travel arrangements. Please refer to the following checklist when submitting a DS-2019 Request. For specific instructions on how to fill out the Request Form click here.

  • Completed DS-2019 Request Form with signatures from:

    • Faculty Advisor
    • Departmental Contact person – even if the applicant fills out the form
    • Chairperson of the department
  • Copy of the picture page of the passport including expiration date

  • If dependents are accompanying:

    • picture pages of the passport.
    • other bio data as required in the form.
  • Documentary evidence of financial support in English. If supported by UCLA no additional documents are necessary. Acceptable financial documents include:

    • Personal funds: A recent bank statement no older than 3 months verifying the required amount of money. Online print-outs and ATM receipts are not acceptable documents.
    • Family funds from abroad: Bank statements, sponsorship letter, and/or bank letters verifying that EV will receive the required amount of money from their family during the term.
    • Government or other sponsoring agency: A signed copy of the scholarship or award letter on official letterhead which states the amount and duration of the award.
    • Home country institution/employer: Copy of signed letter from employer on official letterhead indicating the amount and continuation of salary payments during program participation.
  • Departmental Recharge Form - $40.00 per year of appointment. Other fees may apply. Please see FEE section below.

  • Resume/CV of the applicant

  • A memo from the faculty supervisor, addressed to Dr. Shideh Hanassab, Responsible Officer, UCLA Exchange Visitor Program. Include in the letter the exchange visitor’s name, title of UCLA appointment (if applicable), and a detailed description of activities the EV will undertake, including breakdown of percentages of duties/activities, i.e., teaching, research, observation, training, attending conferences, the site where the research will take place, etc. (DCISS also accepts Postdoc Offer Letters in place of memo).
Inviting a Visiting Undergraduate Researcher to UCLA

Departments must contact the Undergraduate Research Center for additional information including, but not limited to, fees, application procedures and supporting documents Complete application instructions are available online . Once approved by the Undergraduate Research Center, the department can submit the DS-2019 Request Form and supporting documents to DCISS for the processing of the DS-2019 form.

Refer to the above check-list for Inviting a "Research Scholar” and the following guidelines when requesting a DS-2019 for undergraduate students:

  • Students will only be eligible for J-1 “Non-degree Student” status.
  • Programs must be for a minimum 3 weeks.
  • Program activity must equate to a full-time work load (Must be confirmed in memo from faculty supervisor).
  • Students must have a ‘substantial’ portion (at least 51%) of their funding coming from a source other than personal or family funds. Such funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from another organization.
  • Visa services fee for non-degree student requests is $340. (See below for more information on fees.)
Inviting a Visiting Graduate Researcher (VGR) to UCLA

A Visiting Graduate Researcher (VGR) is an individual, domestic or international, who is: (1) enrolled as degree-seeking graduate student at his or her home institution and maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of his or her academic degree, and (2) invited to conduct short-term doctoral research or participate in a "prescribed course of study" such as a mentored or independent research project or master’s research collaborations with a faculty member at UCLA.

Departments must contact UCLA Graduate Division for additional information including, but not limited to, fees, application procedures and supporting documents. Complete application instructions are available online. Once DCISS receives VGR approval notification from Graduate Division, the department can submit the DS-2019 Request Form and the supporting documents listed below to DCISS for the processing of the DS-2019 form. DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the DS-2019 form. Requests should be submitted at least 2 months prior to start date of program to give VGR sufficient time to apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy and make travel arrangements.

  1. Completed DS-2019 Request Form with signatures from:

    • Faculty Advisor
    • Departmental Contact person – even if the applicant fills out the form
    • Chairperson of the department
  2. Copy of the picture page of the passport including expiration date

  3. If dependents are accompanying:

    • Picture pages of the passport. Other bio data as required in the form.
  4. Documentary evidence of financial support in English. If supported by UCLA no additional documents are necessary. Currently VGRs on a one year appointment are required to show financial support of at least $26,968 (divide by 12 for monthly amount); 51% of which needs to come from non-personal sources. Acceptable financial documents include:

    • Personal funds: A recent bank statement no older than 3 months verifying the required amount of money. Online print-outs and ATM receipts are not acceptable documents.
    • Family funds from abroad: Bank statements, sponsorship letter, and/or bank letters verifying that EV will receive the required amount of money from their family during the term.
    • Government or other sponsoring agency: A signed copy of the scholarship or award letter on official letterhead which states the amount and duration of the award.
    • Home country institution/employer: Copy of signed letter from employer on official letterhead indicating the amount and continuation of salary payments during program participation.
  5. Resume/CV of the applicant

  6. Print-out of Graduate Division approval email

Also note the following guidelines when requesting a DS-2019 for a VGR:

  • VGRs will only be eligible for J-1 “Non-degree Student” status.
  • Programs must be for a minimum 3 weeks.
  • Program activity must equate to a full-time work load.
  • VGRs must have a ‘substantial’ portion (at least 51%) of their funding coming from a source other than personal or family funds. Such funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from another organization.
  • Visa services fee for non-degree student requests is $340. This fee will be paid for by either department or VGR through the new Graduate Division online application system. DCISS will not accept P-39s for VGR requests. (See below for more information on fees.)
Requesting a DS-2019 for Degree Seeking UCLA Students

To be eligible for J-1 visa status, degree seeking UCLA students must have a ‘substantial’ portion (at least 51%) of their funding coming from a source other than personal or family funds. Such funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from UCLA or another organization. Once a student has been admitted and deemed eligible for J-1 visa status, departments can submit the following documents to DCISS for the processing of the DS-2019 form. DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the DS-2019 form.

  1. Completed DS-2019 Request Form with signatures from:

    • Faculty Advisor
    • Departmental Contact person – even if the applicant fills out the form
    • Chairperson of the department
  2. Copy of the picture page of the passport including expiration date

  3. If dependents are accompanying:

    • Picture pages of the passport
    • Other bio data as required in the form
  4. Documentary evidence of financial support in English. If supported by UCLA no additional documents are necessary.

  5. Graduate Division Admissions Letter


Requesting a DS-2019 Extension

An extension of stay may be requested if the Exchange Visitor needs more time to complete his/her research activity or studies. Departments must submit a DS-2019 Request Form at least 2 weeks prior to end date listed on DS-2019. The extension cannot go beyond the maximum period duration for the designated J-1 category. The earliest DCISS can process an extension of stay is 3 months prior to end date. DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the extension. Please refer to the following checklist when submitting a DS-2019 Extension Request:

  1. Completed DS-2019 Request Form with signatures from:

    • Faculty Advisor
    • Departmental Contact person – even if the applicant fills out the form
    • Chairperson of the department
  2. Documentary evidence of financial support in English. If supported by UCLA no additional documents are necessary. Acceptable financial documents include:

    • Personal funds: A recent bank statement no older than 3 months verifying the required amount of money. Online print-outs and ATM receipts are not acceptable documents.
    • Family funds from abroad: Bank statements, sponsorship letter, and/or bank letters verifying that EV will receive the required amount of money from their family during the term.
    • Government or other sponsoring agency: A signed copy of the scholarship or award letter on official letterhead which states the amount and duration of the award.
    • Home country institution/employer: Copy of signed letter from employer on official letterhead indicating the amount and continuation of salary payments during program participation.
  3. Departmental Recharge Form - $40.00 per year of appointment. Other fees may apply. Please see FEE section below.

  4. Proof of medical insurance. Acceptable documents include insurance card, verification letter or email. Document must be in English and include insurance company contact information.

  5. Visiting Graduate Researchers (VGRs) and Undergraduate Researchers must obtain extension approval from Graduate Division or the Undergraduate Research Center (URC). DCISS requires copy of confirmation email from Graduate Division or the Undergraduate Research Center (URC) indicating approval of appointment extension.


Exchange Visitors through UOEAP

For visitors through the Universitywide Education Abroad Program (EAP), departments need to contact the Universitywide Office of EAP.

Exchange Visitors to UCLA School of Medicine

UCLA School of Medicine Visa and Licensing Office processes J-1 visas for visitors to the School of Medicine and other affiliated hospitals (http://www.deans.medsch.ucla.edu/visa/avisa.html).

Tourist Visa (B1/B2) VS Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa.

A tourist visa (B1/B2/WB/WT) status may be, at first glance, thought as appropriate for certain visitors who are invited to UCLA. These visits can be short in duration, the visitor may not be paid, and they will not have a formal appointment at the university. However, if the university is benefiting from the visit, if equipment and facilities used are owned or operated by the university, the contents of the visit and/or research activity undertaken might result in the form of published work, patent or discovery at a later date, and/or the visitor is involved in a formally structured program, use of B1/B2/WB/WT visa will contradict U.S. Department of State guidelines. In such cases a J-1 visa would be the appropriate visa status. The Department of State has made clear that any visitor to a U.S. academic institution who engages in a collaborative activity or research, and whose activity will benefit the hosting institution should be sponsored for a J-1 visa.

On select cases where the visitor is invited to come to UCLA as a speaker or will be attending a meeting, interview, conference or workshop for a duration of 3 weeks or less, the B1/B2/WB/WT visa may be an option. With regards to payment eligibility under B-1 visa, contact UCLA payroll for restrictions and limitations.

Fees

A fee (submitted on UCLA Departmental Recharge Form – P39) is required to process DS-2019 forms for Exchange Visitors. No other form of payment will be accepted. Fees vary:

  • General Fee: $40.00 per year of appointment or less. If appointment exceeds a year, an additional $40.00 fee is required.
  • Degree programs fully supported by 19900/20000 funds : NO FEE

In addition to the processing fee of $40.00, a $300.00 co-payment/year is required for the following types of programs:

  • Programs not fully supported by 19900/20000 funds
  • UCLA affiliated units (e.g. HHMI, UNEX, NPI, Hammer Museum, UCLA Medical Center, UCOP, UC Press).
  • Non-degree Student Programs
  • Self-supported degree programs

For further information please refer to the UCLA Visa Service Fee Structure Form.

Documents & Forms


Exchange Visitor (EV) Regulations Handbook


American Culture and Conversation


Spouses’ Circle