Newly Admitted J-1 Students

The Exchange Visitor (J-1) Student Program is designed for degree or exchange students pursuing a full course of study at a post-secondary accredited academic institution in the United States. Students who intend to receive J-1 visa status for Degree programs or Non-degree programs at any time during their studies must have a ‘substantial’ portion (at least 51%) of their total expected expenses at UCLA covered by a source other than personal or family funds. Such funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from a government or academic institution, organization, or company. 

Navigate this site for assistance on what you must do prior to arriving in the U.S., how to obtain your required legal documents to study at UCLA, and steps you must take to complete the mandatory immigration check-in and visa workshop requirement through the iSTART Orientation Program. 

DCISS only serves students that have been admitted to UCLA. DCISS does not handle matters of admissions. Admissions inquiries must be directed to the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions Office or Graduate Division

Click below to get started!

Pre-Arrival

Step 1: Obtain a UCLA DS-2019

J-1 Degree Students

To request for a UCLA DS-2019, you must first submit the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to confirm acceptance of your admission to UCLA. Once you have submitted your SIR, you will receive an automatic email with instructions on how to request a UCLA DS-2019 online.

J-1 Exchange Students (e.g. EAP, IEO, LAW)

Once you have been officially registered with UCLA, you will receive an automatic email with instructions on how to request a UCLA DS-2019 online. This email will be sent to you approximately 2-3 months prior to your program start date.

Step 2: Review your UCLA DS-2019 Form

Look at your biographical information and program dates (item 3) on your UCLA DS-2019 and sign at the bottom. Please contact DCISS immediately if there are any errors on the form. Return the form to our office if you decide not to come. 

Contact DCISS immediately if you are currently in the U.S.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

After you receive your UCLA DS-2019, please remember to pay the mandatory, one-time SEVIS I-901 Fee online. Print a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt and have it with you when applying for your J-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and when entering the U.S.

Step 4: Apply for a J-1 Visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate

If you are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid J-1 Visa, follow the steps below to apply for a J-1 Visa (Canadian citizens exempt*):

  • Fill out the DS-160 / MRV (visa application) fee and schedule your visa appointment with a U.S. Embassy/Consulate online at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

  • Take your UCLA DS-2019, valid passport, SEVIS fee receipt, MRV (visa application) fee receipt, passport style photos (if applicable), evidence of strong ties to your home country, and financial documents to your visa interview appointment. The following are examples of strong ties: proof of close family ties in your home country; proof of ownership of real property including stocks & investments; proof of guaranteed employment in your country or any other document that supports your intent to return home at the conclusion of your activities in the U.S.

If you intend to apply for J-2 Visas for your spouse or children, you must provide evidence of their full names, relationship to you, residence, nationality, and DS-2019s. Allow enough time to apply for the visa because the issuance of visas to some individuals could take longer due to security clearances. For more information about the visa application process, please visit http://travel.state.gov 

** Canadian citizens are exempt from Step 3, but must present their valid passport, UCLA DS-2019, SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port of entry to the U.S., and will hold J-1 status in the U.S. during their program at UCLA.

Step 5: Arrival to the U.S.

You may only enter the U.S. with your J-1 Visa and UCLA DS-2019 up to (but no earlier) than 30 days before the start date indicated on your UCLA DS-2019. 

*** Transfer Students are not subject to the 30 day arrival limitation.

Step 6: Complete iSTART@UCLA

iSTART@UCLA is a program that helps international students transition to their new life at UCLA and in the U.S. Required components of iSTART are the Visa Check-In and the DCISS Online Pre-Arrival Orientation which include the following modules: Getting Started in L.A., Cultural Adjustment, J-1 Visa Workshop, Academic Integrity Workshop, Legal Information for International Students, and DCISS programs. There is mandatory fee of $59 to access iSTART. 

J-1 students are required by the U.S. Department of State to complete a J-1 Visa Workshop and a Visa Check-In to validate their J-1 status in the U.S. 

If you do not complete the mandatory components of iSTART, a Hold will be placed on your student record which will affect your course enrollment, eligibility to receive services from DCISS and University resources. Failure to complete your check-in requirement will also result in severe consequences for your visa status within the U.S.

Check-in & Orientation

The following check-in and orientation information applies to both J-1 Degree Seeking students and J-1 Non-degree Students participating in exchange programs (e.g. EAP). 

Mandatory Visa Workshop

All newly admitted J-1 degree and exchange students are required to complete the mandatory J-1 Visa Workshop. The J-1 Visa workshop is only offered online through iSTART@UCLA: Pre-Arrival Orientation . The orientation will provide you with information on how to maintain your J-1 status at UCLA, apply for J-1 benefits, and request services provided by DCISS. 

All newly admitted J-1 students must complete the J-1 Visa Workshop online and pass the J-1 Visa Workshop Quiz to successfully meet this requirement.

Mandatory Visa Check-In

Upon arrival to UCLA, all newly admitted J-1 degree and exchange students are required to check-in with DCISS. The mandatory Visa Check-In requirement can only be completed in-person at Bradley International Hall at ONE of the DCISS Visa Check-In Sessions listed below.

Please bring the following documents to your designated visa check-in session:

  • Completed J-1 Check-In Form

  • Copy of page 1 of your UCLA DS-2019

  • Copy of your I-94 Admission Record

  • Electronic I-94: After your arrival to the U.S., access and print online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov

  • Copy of your J-1 Visa (Canadian citizens exempt)

  • Copy of your Most Recent U.S. Entry Stamp Inside Passport

  • Copy of your Passport Photo Page

  • Original Passport and UCLA DS-2019

Please Note: Only make copies of the documents listed above AFTER your arrival to the U.S. DCISS does not provide photocopy or print services. Please plan accordingly. You will not be able to complete the visa check-in if you do not have the documents listed above. Map of UCLA Copy Services

Winter 2019 Visa Check-In Sessions

EAP STUDENTS:

JAN 4 | 10AM - 11:30AM

JAN 8 | 10AM - 11:30AM

300 Bradley International Hall

LAW EXCHANGE STUDENTS:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 9AM - 12PM; 2PM - 4PM 

Tuesdays: 2PM - 4PM

106 Bradley International Hall

Mandatory Address, Phone Number, and E-Mail Reporting

All J-1 degree and exchange students are required to maintain a valid local U.S. address, overseas address, U.S. telephone number, overseas telephone number, and e-mail at all times during their studies at UCLA Upon arrival to UCLA, please log on to www.my.ucla.edu and click on “Settings”, then click on “Official Email/Address/Phone” at the top right hand corner to update your contact information in the UCLA system. Update your contact information as follows:

  • E-Mail: Must reflect a verifiable email address that you check on a daily basis.

  • Mailing Address: Must reflect your local U.S. address within the Los Angeles area.

  • Permanent Address: Must reflect your overseas address outside the U.S. country.

  • Primary Phone Number: Must reflect a valid 10-digit U.S. phone number. Input numbers only. No special characters, spacing, or parentheses (Example: 3109876543).

Please Note: Updating your contact information in MyUCLA is very important. DCISS cannot validate your arrival and J-1 status with DHS until your information has been updated.

Mandatory Health Insurance Requirement

All J-1 degree and exchange students are required to have health, accident, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance at all times during their studies at UCLA. The UCLA UCSHIP plan offered for degree and exchange students meet this requirement. Visit the Ashe Student Health Center for more information. You must also have health insurance for any period of time that UCSHIP will not cover during your stay in the U.S. UCSHIP coverage begins on the first day of Fall Quarter start date.

One option is to purchase a one-month insurance policy plan from one of the following providers:

Moreover, if you arrive to the U.S. earlier than the start date of Fall Quarter, you must purchase a short-term health insurance plan from one of the options above to bridge the period before your UCSHIP coverage begins.

DCISS HOLD

To ensure that all students complete the check-in requirement, DCISS has placed a future HOLD on your records. The HOLD will be completely removed once the following are complete:

  • iSTART Online Orientation

  • Visa Check-In

  • Updating Address, Phone Number, and E-mail in MyUCLA

If you do not complete the J-1 Visa Workshop and the Visa Check-In requirement by the end of Week 2 of your first Quarter at UCLA, an all-services hold from DCISS will become active on your Student Record which will affect your eligibility to receive services from DCISS and UCLA departments, restrict your course enrollment, and restrict your access to UCLA campus resources. 

Failure to comply with visa check-in requirements in a timely manner will result in termination of your J-1 status.

FAQ

How do I obtain J-1 visa status to study at UCLA?

You will need to obtain a DS-2019 form from UCLA to obtain J-1 visa status. To request for a UCLA DS-2019, you must first submit the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) to confirm acceptance of your admission to UCLA. Once you have submitted your SIR,you will be emailed with instructions on how to request a UCLA DS-2019 online.

Students who intend to receive J-1 visa status for Degree programs or Non-degree programs at any time during their studies must have a ‘substantial’ portion (at least 51%) of their total expected expenses at UCLA covered by a source other than personal or family funds. Such funds may be identified as a scholarship, fellowship, or a grant/award from a government or academic institution, organization, or company. 

After my arrival at UCLA, how soon must I check-in at DCISS?

It is mandatory that you check-in with DCISS as soon as possible after your arrival, but no later than 30 days after the starting date listed on your DS-2019. If you fail to report to our office within the 30-day time period, your DS-2019 form will be voided automatically by the US Homeland Security Department making your stay in the U.S. illegal. Please check-in during one of the designated visa check-in sessions for new incoming students.  

Where do I get a UCLA Bruin Card?

Please go to 123 Kerckhoff Hall in order to get your new Bruin Card. 

How do I make an appointment?

You can make an appointment by calling the DCISS front desk staff at 310.825.1681. 

What services need an appointment?

Appointments with a counselor are required for the following: Any detailed questions regarding your visa status, home residency requirement, change of status or other out-of-the-ordinary requests, transfers and work permits/academic training.