Services for J-1 Scholars

DCISS will be able to provide Exchange Visitors with the services listed below. Each request has a processing time. It is important that Exchange Visitors are aware of these processing times and submit their requests in a timely manner. 

Exchange Visitor (J-1) Unit Contact Email:

DS-2019 Extension

Please refer to the DS-2019 Procedures section of this site for complete instructions on how to submit a DS-2019 Extension Request to DCISS. 

Travel Authorization

Exchange Visitors need a (1) valid passport, (2) valid visa stamp (except when returning from Mexico, Canada or adjacent islands after a trip lasting no longer than 30 days) and (3) valid DS-2019 form with a travel validation signature to re-enter the U.S. after a trip abroad. 

The travel validation signature is valid for 1 year and accommodates multiple trips within the 1 year. In order to obtain a travel validation signature, the Exchange Visitor must do the following at least 1 week prior to leaving the U.S.:

  • STEP 1: Fill out the Travel Request Form (you can also fill this form out at DCISS)

  • STEP 2: Drop off the request form and your original DS-2019 form at the DCISS front desk. No appointment is required. 

  • STEP 3: Return to DCISS after 5 business days to pick up the signed DS-2019 form. (Processing time is 5 business days). 

Automatic Visa Revalidation allows J-1 holders to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or one of the adjacent islands to the U.S. (other than Cuba) on an expired J-1 visa if the trip is not exceeding 30 days. If you meet one of the following criteria, you will NOT be able to use the automatic revalidation rule.

  • You applied for a new J-1 visa while being out of the U.S. and it has not been issued.

  • You applied for a new J-1 visa and were denied.

  • You have a terminated or completed SEVIS record.

  • You have been out of the U.S. for more than 30 days.

  • You are a citizen from one of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, North Korea

Off-Campus Scholar Employment

Visiting Professors/Researchers/Short-Term Scholars/Specialists on J-1 visa status at UCLA are authorized to receive compensation or salaries from UCLA for employment when such activities are part of their program.  Any activity that that involves remuneration of any kind from an institution outside of UCLA must be authorized by DCISS in writing before the activity takes place.

According to U.S Department of State regulations, off-campus employment for monetary remuneration of Visiting Scholars/Professors is limited to: 

  • Occasional lectures

  • Short-term Consultations

  • Short-term activities (e.g. conference participation, meetings) involving travel reimbursement: Receiving travel reimbursement is also treated as a form of employment.

The employment must meet the following criteria:

  • Be directly related to the objectives of the exchange visitor's program.

  • Be incidental to the exchange visitor's primary program activities.

  • Not delay the completion date of the exchange visitor's program.

Employment can only be authorized up to 3 months at one time.

Acceptance of employment with an organization or institution other than UCLA without prior written authorization from DCISS is a violation of the EV's visa status and is grounds for terminating a visitor's participation in the exchange visitor program.

Procedures for Authorization

To apply for permission to engage in off-campus scholar employment, you must fill out and submit the J-1 SITE OF ACTIVITY REQUEST FORM at least 10 business days before the activity takes place. The form will ask you to upload the following two documents:

  • Letter from the prospective employer setting forth the terms and conditions of the offer including its duration, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation, and description of such activity.  There is no limitation as to the maximum or minimum amount of compensation the exchange visitor may receive.

  • Letter from the Department Chair or Faculty Supervisor explaining how the activity would enhance your program and that it will not interfere with the activities at UCLA.

If consistent with the purpose and objectives of the exchange visitor's program, DCISS will prepare the required written authorization and add the employer site to your SEVIS record.

Processing time is 10 business days. You will be emailed once the authorization letter is ready for pick up at DCISS.

Travel Reimbursement Authorization

Scholars that are receiving travel reimbursements from non-UCLA institutions in the U.S. must obtain written authorization from DCISS prior to participating in the activity. DCISS can only authorize activity related to the scholar’s primary program objectives. To obtain authorization, you must follow the same procedures for Off-Campus Scholar Employment.

On-Campus Student Researcher Employment

Visiting Student Researchers on the J-1 Student Non-degree visa category  may work on campus part time (up to 20 hours per week). In order to be employed, visitors must be in good academic standing and obtain on-campus work authorization from DCISS.

Work authorization is given for maximum one year. If you wish to continue employment after one year you can request an extension to your work authorization within a month of the end date. In order for DCISS to issue you a work authorization letter, please fill out and sbumit the following form:

J-1 Student On-Campus Employment Authorization Form

If you change employment at any time, you must complete another request form. Allow 5 business days to process.

Certification of Status (CoS)

DCISS can provide scholars with a Certification of Status letter verifying visa status and field of research or sign home institution certification forms, if needed. To request a Certification of Status, please fill out the following form:

J-1 Certification of Status Request Form

If you are submitting a home institution certification form for signature, you must fill out the request form at the link above and choose to either upload a scanned copy for signature or drop off at the DCISS front desk. DCISS does not provide employment verification letters or transcripts. 

Social Security Number Support Letter

The Social Security Number (SSN) is an identification number that allows scholars to receive compensation and apply for a drivers license. Bring the following documents to your nearest Social Security Administration Office to apply for an SNN:

  • Original Passport

  • Original DS-2019 Form

  • I-94 Admissions Record

  • SSN Support letter from DCISS (required only for J-1 Non-degree Students)

To request an SSN Support Letter from DCISS, please fill out and submit the following form:

SSN Support Letter Request Form

Click here to locate your nearest Social Security Administration Office. J-1 visa holders must wait at least 10 days after their visa check-in to apply at the SSA. 

DCISS will only process support letters for scholars on the J-1 Non-degree Student category. Scholars on the following J-1 visa categories do not require an SSN support letter from DCISS: Research Scholar, Professor, Short-term Scholar, and Specialist. 

Invitation Letter

DCISS no longer provides family invitation letters for visitor visas (B-1/B-2). The U.S. Department of State does not consider invitation letters when determining whether to issue or deny the visa:

"Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a visitor visa. If you choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember it is not one of the factors used in determining whether to issue or deny the visa." -

Scholars who would like to write their own invitation letters for their family members can use the Sample Invitation Letter template here.

J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Request

Only a spouse and minor unmarried children under the age of 21 years are eligible for the dependent J-2 visa status. They may accompany the J-1 student or join them at a later date. Dependents will need their own DS-2019 form to apply for the J-2 visa stamp. The J-1 DS-2019 application includes a section for dependent information. DCISS will automatically provide DS-2019 forms for those dependents listed on the application

However, if you are requesting DS-2019 forms for your dependents after yours has already been issued, you can fill out and submit the following documents to DCISS:

*A J-2 Dependent Fee of $40 is required per year of appointment for issuing a DS-2019 for dependents. Fees can be paid by logging into your DCISS account. 

SEVIS Transfer Out

You may request a transfer out of your J-1 SEVIS record to another U.S. Exchange Visitor (J-1) designated institution by filling out and submitting the following form to DCISS:  

Transfer Out Request Form (DCISS can also accept the new institution's Transfer Form in lieu of the DCISS Transfer Out Request Form)

A transfer request can only take place if your J-1 visa category will remain the same at the new institution, your subject of activity is similar to your current UCLA activity, and you do not exceed the maximum program duration of your J-1 visa category. Your new institution will make these determinations when accepting the transfer-out request from UCLA. 

Advisory Opinion

Scholars can submit an advisory opinion request to the U.S. Department of State if they feel that the U.S. Embassy has wrongly determined that they are subject to the 2 year home residency requirement or if the applicability of the residency requirement is unclear. Instructions are provided on the U.S. Department of State website here:

Scholars can consult with DCISS in obtaining a support letter. DCISS can provide a support letter only if in agreement that the scholar should not be subject to the 2 year home residency requirement. Appointment with a J-1 counselor is required.