The following restrictions apply to J-1 Exchange Visitors (see J-1 VISA CATEGORIES section for additional restrictions):
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 they 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, they are 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 they are not eligible for J-1 status.
If the visitor had applied for an H class visa or U.S. Permanent Resident status (‘green card’) they are 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, they are 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. Cannot be a candidate for a tenure track position.
Visitor's primary site of activity must be UCLA, unless visitor is conducting activity at an off-campus institution as part of a collaborative project with UCLA and is maintaining their UCLA appointment. There must be a written agreement between UCLA and the other institution in relation to the visitor's activity. If the visitor is only working remotely from a residence and will not be present at UCLA, they are NOT eligible to apply for a DS-2019 form for J visa status.
DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the DS-2019 form. Requests should be submitted at least 3 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.
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 the department receives VGR approval notification from Graduate Division, the department can submit the 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 3 months prior to start date of program to give VGR enough time to apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy and make travel arrangements.
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 itemized documents listed below to DCISS for the processing of the DS-2019 form. DCISS will also process DS-2019 requests for UCLA School of Medicine units inviting undergraduate researchers.
Also note 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 22 days.
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.)
UCLA can accept a J-1 Transfer-In Request from another institution as long as the J-1 visa category remains the same at UCLA and as long as the subject of activity is similar to previous work. UCLA departments need to submit the following documents listed below:
- Complete DS-2019 Request Application (see above sections)
- Transfer-In Form
- Copy of previous DS-2019 form
- Copy of current J-1 visa stamp
- Copy of most recent I-94 admissions record
- Copy of current medical insurance proof
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 6 months prior to end date.
DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the extension. Please refer to the items below when submitting a DS-2019 Extension Request.
J-1 DS-2019 Processing Fees:
$300 Visa Services Fee + $40.00 SEVIS User Fee
Fee is per year of appointment. For example, the fee for an appointment over 1 year and less than 2 years will be $380.
Scholars fully supported through UCLA 19900/20000 funds are exempt from the $300 visa services fee.
Payment must be submitted through departmental recharge. DCISS cannot accept payment from the visitor. Only VGRs have the option to pay the fee directly through the GoGrad Portal.
J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Processing Fees:
$40.00 SEVIS User Fee
Fee is per year of appointment. Can be paid either through departmental recharge or through the DCISS website.
UCLA Visa Services Fee Structure Form
In addition to the DS-2019 processing fees, the scholar will be responsible for paying the following fees to government agencies or DCISS once they have received their DS-2019 form:
SEVIS I-901 Fee: $220
MRV Visa Application Fee: $160 (additional fees may apply depending on the U.S. Embassy)
jPATH Orientation Fee: $59 Fee
(Scholars can pay directly through the DCISS website after obtaining their DS-2019 form. jPATH is not required for visitors with a program duration of 3 months or less).
At the time of processing the DS-2019 form, the scholar must present evidence of financial support for the duration of the period stated on the DS-2019 form. Minimum required financial support is given below:
- Scholar: $26,968 per year / $2247 per month
- Spouse: $6,000 per year / $500 per month
- Each Child: $2,667 per year / $222 per month
These amounts include mandatory health insurance and allowance for supplies. Amount is subject to change.
Department sponsors need to determine English proficiency for J-1 Scholars in one of 5 ways:
A UCLA recognized English language test;
Certification by home academic institution where English is used;
Certification by English Language School where English training was completed within the past 2 years;
Copy of signed diploma or signed transcript from U.S. universities or universities in countries where English is the native language; or
A documented interview conducted by the UCLA faculty advisor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
The Certification of English Language Proficiency form must be included with all NEW and TRANSFER DS-2019 Requests. English Certification is not required for EXTENSION requests. An applicant whose first language is English and is a citizen of a country in which English is the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) is exempt from this requirement.
Prospective Exchange Visitors currently in the U.S. on another visa type (e.g. F-1) may apply for a change of status to J-1. The first step would be to request a DS-2019 from DCISS. Once the Exchange Visitor receives the DS-2019 form, they will need to complete one of the options below to change their visa status to J-1:
Leave the U.S., apply for the J-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy, and re-enter the U.S. to begin the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program. (recommended)
If Exchange Visitor is unable to leave the U.S., they can apply for a change of status by submitting an I-539 Application to U.S. Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS). It could take 3 to 4 months (possibly longer) to receive the approval of the change of status to J-1 from USCIS. The approval notice does not come with a J-1 visa stamp. The Exchange Visitor will need to apply for the J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy if they make plans to travel outside the U.S. after receiving the approval notice from USCIS. Please note, DCISS does not assist with the I-539 application.
Departments must request a change of program dates on the DS-2019 form if a visitor will not be able to enter the U.S. and report their arrival to DCISS within 25 days of their start date. Each request to change the start and/or end date can only come from the academic department (not the scholar). An additional fee and updated financial documents may be required if the new program dates constitute a longer program duration than originally planned.
Requests to change program dates should be submitted to DCISS by filling out the following online form:
DS-2019 Amendment Request Form
Self-supporting programs that are not degree, VGR, or URC programs must be reviewed by DCISS to determine eligibility for J-1 visa status. Please provide DCISS with the following documents before submitting DS-2019 requests for program participants:
1. Official Program Description
2. A memo from the faculty supervisor, addressed to DCISS J-1 Unit, UCLA Exchange Visitor Program. Include in the letter the following:
a detailed description of activities the participants will undertake, including breakdown of percentages of duties/activities, i.e., studying, teaching, research, observation, training, attending conferences.
- the site where the program will take place
- the amount of time participants will be engaged in program activity (e.g. part-time, full-time)
3. A letter of support from the Academic Department Dean, addressed to DCISS J-1 Unit, UCLA Exchange Visitor Program. The memo from the Academic Dean must confirm the review and approval of the self-supporting program.