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. Please contact DCISS immediately if there are any errors on the form. 

You must sign the DS-2019 form under Signature of Applicant. The J-2 spouse or dependent should sign the J-2 DS-2019 form. You must sign the J-2 DS-2019 form if accompanying minor is under 16.

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 are exempt from this step*):

  • 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 this step, 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.

Check-in & Orientation

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 Online Visa Check-In and the DCISS In-Person Orientation which includes the following components: Getting Started at UCLA, J-1 Visa Workshop, and the Academic Integrity Workshop. There is a mandatory orientation fee of $59 that will be charged to your Bruin Account. 

J-1 students are required by the U.S. Department of State to complete an orientation 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.

Mandatory Online Visa Check-In

All newly admitted J-1 degree and exchange students are required to complete the online visa check-in by the end of week 2 of their first quarter. More information to come soon. 

Mandatory In-Person Orientation

All newly admitted J-1 degree and exchange students are required to attend the mandatory international student orientation. The orientation includes the following components: Getting Started at UCLA, J-1 Visa Workshop, and Academic Integrity Workshop.

Registration is mandatory. DCISS will send you an email within 30 days before the quarter start date with registration information. 

Winter 2020 Orientation Sessions

UNDERGRAD EXCHANGE STUDENTS:

JAN 8 | 2:30 PM - 7PM

JAN 9 | 2:30 PM - 7PM

LLM EXCHANGE STUDENTS:

JAN 24 | 2PM - 5PM

Pre-registration is mandatory. DCISS will send you an email within 30 days before the quarter start date with registration information. All orientation sessions will be located at 300 Bradley International Hall, 417 Charles E. Young Drive. You are only required to attend one session. You must be present throughout the entire duration of the orientation.

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

If you do not attend the mandatory orientation and complete the Online Visa Check-In 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. 

This 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 complete the online visa check-in?

It is mandatory that you complete the online visa check-in with DCISS by the end of week 2 of your first quarter at UCLA. If you fail to report to our office within this time period, your DS-2019 form will be voided automatically by the US Homeland Security Department making your stay in the U.S. illegal. Contact DCISS immediately if you will not be able to complete the online visa check-in by the deadline.

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.