COVID-19 Updates

J-1 Exchange Visitor FAQs

Newly Admitted J-1 Students

1. Will I be able to enter the U.S. and maintain valid J-1 status as UCLA plans to offer primarily remote instruction for spring quarter?

To maintain valid J-1 status, J-1 students with initial SEVIS records are required to enroll in a minimum of one in-person class. Undergraduate students may consult with their academic counselors, and graduate students may consult with their academic department SAOs for class availability and registration information. 

2. How many in-person courses must I be enrolled in spring 2021 to be able to enter the U.S. and maintain valid J-1 visa status?

To maintain valid J-1 status, J-1 students with initial SEVIS records are required to enroll in a minimum of one in-person class. Undergraduate students may consult with their academic counselors, and graduate students may consult with their academic department SAOs for class availability and registration information.

3. If my J-1 visa is approved after the spring quarter start date as indicated as on my DS-2019, what should I do and how late can I come to UCLA during the spring quarter if I am enrolled in an in-person course?

Students should first check with their academic departments to find out if a late arrival will affect their course enrollment. 

We will defer your DS-2019 start date to the second week of spring quarter (the add/drop deadline) to accommodate your late arrival.  To request for an updated DS-2019 with late arrival date, please email dcissj1unit@saonet.ucla.edu with the following information:

Last Name, First Name
Bruin UID number
Email Subject line: Updated DS-2019 for spring quarter


4. What is considered an in-person course?

An in-person class is when course instruction is only delivered in-person, with students and instructors physically present in a learning environment. The meeting location is displayed as a building and room in the UCLA Schedule of Classes. The first class of the term must be offered in-person. If a class changes from in-person instruction to remote instruction before the start of the term, enrollment in that class will not fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid J-1 status in the U.S.

5. What is UCLA's mode of instruction for spring 2021?

UCLA will shift to primarily remote instruction for spring, with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions.

6. If I am not taking in-person classes on-campus, can I still participate in the Dashew Center's programs/events?

Yes! All Dashew Center programs/events will be held virtually. See our programming page for more information. 

7. Do I need to request an updated DS-2019 with a notation about hybrid instruction for the spring quarter?

Students may request a notation on their SEVIS record regarding UCLA's hybrid model if they are enrolling in at least 1 in-person course this spring 2021.  To request the notation, please email dcissj1unit@saonet.ucla.edu the following information:

  • Last Name, First Name
  • Bruin UID
  • Updated SEVIS record with hybrid instruction notation

The physical DS-2019 will not be updated. The DS-2019 form does not include a field where a note can be entered. 

 

8. My classes will be entirely online during spring 2021. Will I be able to enter the U.S. and maintain a valid J-1 status?

No. Incoming J-1 students with initial SEVIS records will not be able to enter the U.S. and maintain their J-1 status with an entire online course load.

9. I plan to enroll in some in-person classes in combination with online classes. Will I be able to enter the U.S. and maintain valid J-1 status?

Federal  guidance requires that incoming students with initial SEVIS records must be enrolled in in-person classes or a combination of in-person classes and online classes if they wish to enter the U.S. and maintain valid J-1 status. Students must make normal progress towards their degree program and maintain full-time enrollment.

 

10. How do I obtain a document or letter verifying my in-person course enrollment at UCLA?

You must contact your UCLA academic department to find out if they can provide you with a letter verifying your in-person course attendance. The Dashew Center is unable to verify your course enrollment. 

11. What is the processing timeline for newly admitted DS-2019 requests? Is there a deadline to submit the request?

The current processing time is 15 business days from submission date. While there is no strict deadline for submitting your DS-2019 request, keep in mind that you will need your DS-2019 to schedule a J-1 visa interview (Canadians exempt) and enter the U.S. before your program start date. Please plan accordingly.

12. If I am unable to enter the U.S. by the spring 2021 start date indicated on my DS-2019, what should I do?

We will defer your DS-2019 start date to Fall 2021 if you are unable to enter U.S. due to enrollment in only online courses, delays in J-1 visa issuance, and/or COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Dashew Center will start processing DS-2019 start date deferment at the beginning of spring quarter. If you have signed a housing contract for spring quarter, please contact Housing directly. Undergraduate students, please contact UCLA Undergraduate Admission for more information if you have questions about deferring your program start date.  Graduate students, please contact your academic department for more information.  

13. Can I take entirely online classes for spring from abroad without having J-1 status?

Yes, students can take online classes from abroad without having J-1 status. Students will establish J-1 status once they enter the U.S. in valid J-1 status.

14. Can I defer my admission term?

Undergraduate students, please contact UCLA Undergraduate Admission for more information.  Graduate students, please contact your academic department for more information. 

15. What if I am unable to enter the U.S. by the start date indicated on my DS-2019 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?

Students who will not be arriving to the U.S. in J-1 status by the spring quarter start date must contact the Dashew Center during spring quarter to request an updated DS-2019 with an amended start date for their new planned arrival to the U.S. If you have signed a housing contract for spring quarter, please contact Housing directly. Undergraduate students, please contact UCLA Undergraduate Admission for more information if you have questions about deferring your program start date.  Graduate students, please contact your academic department for more information.  

16. Can I fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement with in-person, concurrent enrollment at another U.S. institution?

No, UCLA J-1 students must enroll in an approved, in-person course at UCLA to fulfill the in-person course enrollment requirement to maintain valid J-1 status in the U.S.

17. Where can I find an official approved list of in-person classes for spring quarter 2021?

The Registrar's Office has prepared this list of approved spring quarter on-site classes.

Continuing J-1 Students

1. Do I need to submit my travel authorization request to the Dashew Center in-person?

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may submit an online travel authorization request only if the travel authorization signature on your DS-2019 will be older than one calendar year at the time you plan to re-enter the U.S. A valid travel signature is NOT required to depart the U.S.

Please submit an Online Travel Authorization Request form to request a new travel authorization signature. You do not need to submit your original DS-2019 to request a new travel authorization signature. Your new DS-2019 (with a new travel authorization signature) will be shipped to your address (in the U.S. or overseas) via FedEx service.

2. Can graduate students be on filing fee status and maintain valid J-1 status during spring 2021?

If you are a student who will be on filing fee for spring quarter and are currently in the U.S. or plan to re-enter the U.S. from abroad, it is important that the details of your academic activities during your filing fee quarter are documented as you will not be enrolled in any coursework.

The purpose of this documentation is to explain your academic activities in compliance with recent SEVP guidance. You will not be required to submit this documentation to the Dashew Center; however, you should have it on file to submit to immigration authorities (e.g. CBP, USCIS, ICE, etc.) in case of any of questions or inquiries pertaining to your filing fee quarter.

3. If I am not taking in-person classes on-campus or I defer for the fall quarter, can I still participate in the Dashew Center's programs/events?

Yes! All Dashew Center programs/events will be held virtually. See our programming page for more information. 

4. I am a continuing J-1 student at UCLA and returning to campus from abroad for spring quarter, is the enrollment verification letter required upon re-entry into the U.S.?

Continuing J-1 students may request the J-1 Certification of Status (CoS) letter from our office. The combination of the CoS letter and a printout of your full-time fall enrolled classes course registration should be sufficient as supporting documents in case a visa post or port of entry officials may  ask for such verification. If you are on Academic Training, you should have your Academic Training authorization letter available with you.  

5. I plan to enter the U.S, but the country I am travelling from is on the U.S. travel restriction list. What can I do?

You will need to contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and ask about a National Interest Exception

Alternatively, you can try to travel to the U.S. from a country not on the travel restriction list as long as you have spent at least 14-days in that country. 

Countries currently on the travel restriction list include China, Iran, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, and countries in the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). This information is subject to change at any time.

J-1 Scholars

1. I am a new incoming scholar, but am unable to enter the U.S. by my DS-2019 start date due to visa delays and/or travel restrictions. What should I do?

You are required to enter the U.S. and report your arrival to the Dashew Center within 25 days of your DS-2019 start date. Otherwise your DS-2019 will automatically cancel out and become void. If you are unable to meet this deadline and would like to postpone your program, you will need to contact your UCLA academic department and request an amendment to your DS-2019 program dates. Your department will need to submit an amendment request directly to the Dashew Center.

2. Do I need to submit my travel authorization request to the Dashew Center in-person?

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may submit an online travel authorization request only if the travel authorization signature on your DS-2019 will be older than one calendar year at the time you plan to re-enter the U.S. A valid travel signature is NOT required to depart the U.S.

Please submit an Online Travel Authorization Request form to request a new travel authorization signature. You do not need to submit your original DS-2019 to request a new travel authorization signature. Your new DS-2019 (with a new travel authorization signature) will be shipped to your address (in the U.S. or overseas) via FedEx service.

3. If I am not on campus for the fall quarter, can I still participate in the Dashew Center's programs/events?

Yes! All Dashew Center programs/events will be held virtually for the fall quarter. See our programming page for more information. 

4. I plan to enter the U.S, but the country I am travelling from is on the U.S. travel restriction list. What can I do?

You will need to contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and ask about a National Interest Exception

Alternatively, you can try to travel to the U.S. from a country not on the travel restriction list as long as you have spent at least 14-days in that country. 

Countries currently on the travel restriction list include China, Iran, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, and countries in the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). This information is subject to change at any time.

5. I am a current J-1 scholar, but I am unable to enter the U.S. due to travel restrictions and/or embassy closures. Will this affect my J-1 visa status?

DCISS will continue to maintain the validity of your DS-2019 form so that you are able to enter the U.S. once restrictions have been lifted. However, if your DS-2019 is going to expire while you are abroad, make sure to contact your department to request a DS-2019 extension. DS-2019 extensions should be submitted to DCISS at least 3 weeks before your DS-2019 expires.