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UCLA Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars

iSTART @UCLA Orientation

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 Online Orientation. The Online Orientation includes the following video modules: J-1 Visa Workshop, Academic Integrity, Getting Started at UCLA, Getting Started in LA, and Dimensions of Culture. 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.

See iSTART Registration Instructions.

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. Students will receive an automatic email with the link to the online visa check-in within 1 month prior to their program start date. Please email the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Unit if you have not received this email by the time your first quarter begins.

Failure to complete your check-in requirement in a timely manner will result in severe consequences for your visa status.

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 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.


If you do not complete the mandatory orientation and 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.