Welcome to UCLA! Now that you have received a formal invitation from a UCLA academic department to conduct your program activity, what's next? Navigate this site for assistance on what you must do prior to arriving in the U.S.

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

Recent Update: Effective April 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of State will permit designated sponsors (including UCLA) to digitally sign and electronically transmit the DS-2019 form to all J-1 Exchange Visitors by email. Exchange Visitors will need to print and sign their DS-2019s.

Step 1: Obtain a UCLA DS-2019 Form

The UCLA Academic Department that is inviting you is responsible for providing the Dashew Center with the DS-2019 Request Application. Once processed, the Dashew Center will email the DS-2019 form to the exchange visitor and the UCLA Academic Department.

Step 2: Review your UCLA DS-2019

Print your DS-2019 and then sign and date at the bottom of your DS-2019. The J-2 spouse or dependent should sign the J-2 DS-2019 form. Parent or guardian must sign the DS-2019 form if exchange visitor is under 16.

Review your biographical information and program dates (item 3) on your UCLA DS-2019 . Contact the Dashew Center if there are any errors on the form.

Make sure to keep an electronic copy of your DS-2019 form for your records, before and after you apply for the visa stamp. When you apply for the visa stamp, the consular officer will sign your DS-2019. It is important that you keep a copy of the DS-2019 with the consulate's signature on it as well.

Contact the Dashew Center immediately if you are currently in the U.S.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

You must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before applying for the J-1 Visa. The fee is $220 and must be paid online at www.FMJfee.com . Print a copy of your 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*):

1. Fill out the DS-160 Application , pay the MRV (visa application fee), and schedule your appointment with a U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The fee is generally $185, but there may be additional fees depending on the embassy. Instructions are provided on the U.S. Department of State website .

2. Take your printed 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

Please do not purchase plane tickets until you have received your visa. Visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.

*Please Note: Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa application requirement, but must pay the SEVIS fee, and present their DS-2019 and SEVIS fee payment receipt at the port of entry to the U.S.

Step 5: Arrange Health Insurance

The U.S. Department of State requires that the exchange visitor and accompanying dependents obtain health, accident, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. The insurance policies must cover the entire program duration as indicated on the DS-2019. Any exchange visitor who willfully refuses to comply with this requirement shall be considered to be in violation of their J-1 status. The program sponsor is obligated to inform the United States Department of State of the exchange visitor's noncompliance.

J-1 Scholars at UCLA must follow procedures for enrolling in one of UCLA's health insurance plan options. Refer to the Health Insurance section on our website for a list of health insurance plans and enrollment instructions.

Step 6: Begin jPATH Orientation

UCLA jPATH is a mandatory orientation designed to meet U.S. Department of State requirements and to help you adjust to life in the U.S., Los Angeles, and on the UCLA campus. jPATH consists of 4 online video modules: J-1 Visa Workshop, Getting Started at UCLA, Getting Started in Los Angeles, and Cultural Adjustment.

Step 7: Prepare for U.S. Entry

Visitors entering the U.S. on J-1 status using an initial DS-2019 form may enter the U.S. up to (but no earlier) than 30 days before the start date on their DS-2019.

Carry the following documents with you to present to immigration officials when entering the U.S.: printed DS-2019, passport, financial documents, & SEVIS receipt.