Navigate this page for information on how to maintain your Exchange Visitor (J-1) student status during your studies and the various services that DCISS will be able to provide you including, but not limited to employment authorization, travel validation, and Academic Training.
It is important that you understand and follow the Exchange Visitor (J-1) regulations in order to ensure a successful experience at UCLA.
Maintaining J-1 Status
Once you have completed your mandatory check-in and visa workshop requirements at UCLA, it is your responsibility to review and understand DCISS' guidelines for maintaining J-1 status to ensure compliance with J-1 visa regulations during your academic program.
Failure to comply with J-1 regulations may result in the termination of your J-1 status and loss of future eligibility to enter the U.S.
J-1 students are required to maintain full-time enrollment and make normal academic progress toward completion of their degree program.
- Undergraduate Students: minimum of 12 units per academic quarter (students are not required to enroll full-time for Summer Quarter).
- Graduate Students : minimum of 8-12 units per academic quarter (please check with your department for full-time course load unit requirements).
* J-1 students can only count one course of online coursework toward the full-time enrollment requirement.
Failure to maintain full-time enrollment during your program will result in severe consequences for your J-1 status.
J-1 students are not allowed to drop below full-time enrollment without receiving prior authorization for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) from DCISS.
J-1 students are required to maintain a valid local U.S. address, overseas address, U.S. telephone number, overseas telephone number, and e-mail address at all times during their studies at UCLA Upon arrival to UCLA, please log in to MyUCLA , click on 'Settings,' then click on 'Official Email/Address/Phone' at the top right hand corner to update your contact information. 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).
- Home Phone Number: Must reflect a valid overseas phone number with country code. Input numbers only. No special characters (e.g. '+', '-', etc.), spacing, or parentheses (Example: 440123456789).
Note: Updating your contact information in MyUCLA is very important. DCISS cannot validate your arrival and J-1 status with U.S. Department of Homeland Security until your information has been updated.
J-1 students must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
J-1 students are allowed an additional 30-day grace period after their program completion date to prepare for their departure from the U.S., transfer to another U.S. school/degree program, or change their visa status in the U.S. During the grace period, employment or full-time study is not allowed.
Upon departure from the U.S. during these 30 days, the J-1 visa status automatically expires and you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. to reclaim the rest of your grace period time.
Services for Continuing Students
An extension of stay may be requested if the student needs more time to complete their studies. Student must email the DS-2019 Extension documents to DCISS at least 2 weeks prior to end date listed on DS-2019 . The earliest DCISS can process an extension of stay is 6 months prior to end date. DCISS needs at least 10 working days to process the extension.
The following documents are required for the DS-2019 Extension. Please refer to the financial chart to determine the amount of funding you need to show:
- DS-2019 Student Request Form : signatures required from Academic Counselor and Faculty Supervisor or Department Chairperson.
- Confidential Financial Statement (CFS)
- Financial Documents : UCLA funding letter , bank statement, etc.
- Departmental Recharge Order Form : Only required for self-supporting programs (e.g. MBA). Please contact your academic department for details.
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 fill out the the J-1 Travel Authorization Request Form. Due to COVID-19, DCISS will reprint your DS-2019 form and mail it to you. Information is provided on the request form:
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
On-Campus Work Authorization
Students and non-degree students on J-1 status may work on campus part time (up to 20 hours per week) while the school is in session and full time during the quarter/semester breaks and summer vacation. In order to be employed, students 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. To receive employment authorization from DCISS, please fill out the following online form:
If you change employment at any time, you must complete another request form. Allow 5 business days to process.
International students on J-1 visa status have the opportunity to engage in paid or unpaid employment directly related to their major field of study during or after completion of their studies and provided certain requirements are met. Such employment is termed Academic Training and is authorized in writing by DCISS. See Academic Training Section for eligibility requirements and application process.
Certification of Status (CoS)
DCISS can provide students with a Certification of Status letter verifying visa status and field of study or sign home institution certification forms, if needed. To request a Certification of Status, please fill out the following online 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 scan copy for signature or drop off at the DCISS front desk. DCISS does not provide employment verification letters or transcripts.
Social Security Letter
Students require a Social Security Number (SSN) Support Letter from DCISS to apply for an SSN at the Social Security Administration Office. The SSN allows students to receive compensation and apply for a drivers license. To request an SSN Support Letter from DCISS, please fill out and submit the following online form:
Click here to locate your nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. J-1 visa holders must wait at least 10 days after their visa check-in to apply at the SSA.
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. " - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html
Students who would like to write their own invitation letters for their family members can use the Sample Invitation Letter template here .
Reduced Course Load (RCL)
J-1 students are required to enroll full-time each academic quarter to maintain their J-1 status
J-1 students may be authorized by DCISS to drop below full-time enrollment if they are unable to complete their courses due to the following circumstances:
- Academic Difficulty : student has difficulties with course due to improper course placement, initial difficulty with reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with UCLA teaching methods (this reason can only be used once).
- Illness/Medical Condition :student has medical condition (medical documentation required).
- Final Quarter at UCLA : student has less units remaining to complete their program than is required to maintain full-time enrollment (option not available to exchange students).
Students must obtain authorization from DCISS prior to dropping below full-time enrollment. Appointment with a J-1 advisor is required.
J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Request
Only 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:
- J-2 DS-2019 Request Form
- Copy of Dependent Passport Photo Page
- Financial Documents
- J-2 Dependent SEVIS User Fee*
*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.
Registration In Absentia
Eligible J-1 graduate students planning to engage in degree-related research outside of California will be eligible to maintain their J-1 status through registration in absentia.
To request DCISS approval for your Registration In Absentia, please complete the In Absentia Request form from the Graduate Division and obtain your departmental signatures before requesting a signature from DCISS. Once you have received the appropriate signatures from your department, please contact the Dashew Center front desk to schedule an appointment with Tony Coelho, Exchange Visitor (J-1) Advisement Coordinator.
Leave of Absence (LOA)
J-1 students that are not planning to enroll for an academic term (Fall, Winter, or Spring Quarter) for personal or academic reasons must meet with a J-1 Counselor during a scheduled appointment to discuss how it will affect their J-1 visa status.
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.
International students on J-1 visa status have the opportunity to engage in paid or unpaid employment directly related to their field of study during or after completion of their studies and provided certain requirements are met. Such employment is termed Academic Training and is authorized in writing by DCISS.
J-1 Degree Students at UCLA may have the opportunity to engage in paid or unpaid employment anywhere in the U.S. which is directly related to their major, during or after completion of their studies, provided certain requirements are met.
J-1 Exchange Students under the Education Abroad Program (EAP) or UCLA Student Exchange Programs (e.g. LAW) may have the opportunity to engage in paid or unpaid employment anywhere in the U.S. which is directly related to their major, during or after completion of their studies, provided certain requirements are met.
Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
This is a condition attached to some Exchange Visitors (EVs) who receive J visa status under the following circumstances:
- the Exchange Visitor received funds from the U.S. government, his/her own government, or an international organization funded by government;
- the education, training, or skills that the Exchange Visitor is pursuing in the U.S. appear on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for his/her country published by the Department of State.
- Foreign medical graduates receiving training in the U.S. under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
EVs who become subject to the Two-year Home Residence Requirement are not eligible to change their visa status from J-1 to H (temporary worker), L (intra-company transferee), or an immigrant visa ("green card") , unless they return and reside in the country of their last permanent residence for two years after completing their programs in the U.S.
EVs who become subject, but do not wish to comply with the residence requirement may apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of State during or after the completion of the program. Information and guidelines are available at www.state.gov . DCISS will not be involved with the process of waiver application of EVs in any form.
DCISS cannot extend a DS-2019 if an EV’s waiver application is approved by the Department of State or USCIS.
12-month Research Scholar / Professor Bar
J-1 students (and their J-2 dependents) with a program duration of more than 6 months are subject to the 12-month research scholar bar. This means that the student will not be able to begin a new J-1 program as Professor or Research Scholar until 12-months after their current J-1 student program ends.
J-2 Dependent Resources
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization - The spouse or unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of an Exchange Visitor holding a valid J-2 visa status may work in the United States with authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applications must be sent to the USCIS Service Center.
UCLA Connect: A Network for Relocated Spouses and Partners - The group has a weekly meeting on Fridays at 11 am at the UCLA Dashew Center and events such as happy hours to workshops, throughout the year!
About the J-2 Visa - U.S. Department of State Website