Maintaining J-1 Status

Maintaining your J-1 visa status is an integral part of your UCLA program. Now that you have begun your UCLA program it is important to be aware of the regulations you need to follow. Not following these regulations could lead to the termination of your Exchange Visitor Program. 

Exchange Visitor (J-1) Unit Contact Email: dcissj1unit@saonet.ucla.edu


Address & Contact Information Reporting


In compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Exchange Visitors are required to have a valid address, email, and phone number during their studies/research in the U.S. DHS may terminate the EV's immigration status automatically if they do not maintain their information with UCLA. 

To update your information, please fill out and submit the following form to DCISS:

Address & Contact Information Update Form

Health Insurance


The U.S. Department of State requires that the exchange visitor obtain health, accident, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. The insurance policies must cover the exchange visitor and all accompanying dependents for the EV’s entire duration in the U.S. starting with the date of arrival and ending with the date of departure. Any exchange visitor who willfully refuses to comply with this requirement shall be considered to be in violation of his/her exchange visitor status. The program sponsor is obligated to inform the United States Department of State of the exchange visitor's noncompliance.

J-1 Exchange Visitors at UCLA are required to enroll in one of the following health insurance plans depending on their UCLA appointment title:

(A) Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan (VSBP)

J-1 Exchange Visitors at UCLA such as Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers (VGRs) are required to enroll in the Visiting Scholar Benefits Plan (VSPB) through Garnett-Powers & Associates. Scholars may begin the enrollment process only after receiving the DS-2019 form. (Postdocs and employees receiving medical benefits through UCLA do not qualify for this plan). 

Information regarding eligibility, requirements, enrollment and the waiver approval process can be found on the Garnett-Powers site at http://clients.garnett-powers.com/vs/ucla/. VSBP 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 of VSBP, must bring their waiver confirmation and proof of medical insurance they used to waive out of the plan. 

The earliest you can begin the VSBP enrollment or waiver process is 31 days prior to the DS-2019 start date. You must first receive your DS-2019 form before enrolling or waiving. 

(B) Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan (PSBP)

Postdoctoral Scholars are required to enroll in the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (PSBP). Information regarding eligibility, requirements, and enrollment process can be found on the Garnett-Powers site at https://clients.garnett-powers.com/pd/uc/Your UCLA academic department will assist you with enrollment when you arrive as part of the hiring process.

(C) UCLA Employee Medical Benefits

Your UCLA academic department will assist you with enrollment when you arrive as part of the hiring process. Medical benefits coverage for UCLA hired staff and faculty do not include the following:

  • repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000

  • expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000

Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage may be purchased separately through BETiNS to fulfill the J-1 visa requirements.

If you are not sure of which category above you fall into, please contact your department for clarification.

Proof of enrollment in a health insurance plan is required for the online J-1 Visa Check-in Application. Refer to the PROOF OF HEALTH INSURANCE SAMPLE GUIDE to find out which types of documents DCISS can accept.

Employment


Any employment opportunity must be reviewed and authorized by DCISS before activity can take place. This includes receiving travel reimbursements and honorariums from an off-campus institute. Eligibility and instructions for employment authorization will differ based on the J-1 visa category.

J-1 Research Scholar/Professor/Short-term Scholar/Specialist

Employment authorization from DCISS is required for any activity taking place outside of the hosting UCLA academic department. Please contact DCISS if you plan to be employed by another UCLA department. 

Procedures for Employment Authorization

J-1 Student Non-Degree

Visiting Student Researchers on the J-1 Student Non-degree visa must request employment authorization from DCISS for any employment taking place on campus even if employment is taking place in the hosting academic department. Off-campus employment is not allowed. 

J-1 Student On-Campus Employment Authorization Form

Sites of Activity


Exchange Visitors are required to report all off-campus locations where program activity is taking place even if payment is not involved. Examples of off-campus activities include:

  • Field Work
  • Visiting research institutions
  • Visiting organizations
  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Meetings

The activity taking place at these locations must be directly related to the objectives of your program, be incidental to your primary program activities, not delay the completion date of your program, and must be approved by your UCLA faculty supervisor (PI).

In order for DCISS to authorize the off-campus activity, please fill out and submit the following form: 

J-1 Site of Activity Request Form

Valid Passport


All J-1 exchange visitors must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future.

Program Completion


Upon completion of your program, you do not need to inform DCISS of your departure unless you plan to leave earlier than 15 days prior to the expiration date on your DS-2019. You can contact DCISS by email dcissj1unit@saonet.ucla.edu to report your early program completion.

J-1 Exchange Visitors are allowed an additional 30-day grace period to prepare for their departure from the U.S. During this grace period, employment or study is not allowed. Upon departure of the U.S. within these 30 days, the J Visa status automatically expires and you will not be able to re-enter the country to reclaim the rest of your grace period time.

30-Day Grace Period


J-1 Exchange Visitors are allowed an additional 30-day grace period after their DS-2019 expires to prepare for their departure from the U.S. During this grace period, employment or study is not allowed. Upon departure of the U.S. within these 30 days, the J Visa status automatically expires and you will not be able to re-enter the country to reclaim the rest of your grace period time.