Degree or exchange students pursuing a full course of study at a post-secondary accredited academic institution in the United States may be eligible to apply for an Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa if eligibility requirements are met. The F-1 Student visa is the most common visa type used by degree students in the U.S. and best fits a student's situation. Most international students at UCLA have F-1 status. The J-1 visa comes with special restrictions; therefore, it is important that you review this site before deciding if J-1 is right for you.
Navigate this site for assistance on how to qualify for J-1 status, 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.
The Dashew Center only serves students that have been admitted to UCLA. We do not handle matters of admissions. Admissions inquiries must be directed to the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions Office or Graduate Division.
J-1 Eligibility and Restrictions
To be eligible for J-1 visa status, students 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.
You are participating in a specific educational exchange program such as the UCEAP program.
Purpose of the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program: International students at UCLA are generally holding F-1 or J-1 student status. F-1 is the most common visa status used by students in the U.S. and best fits a student's situation. Most international students at UCLA have F-1 status. Generally students apply for J-1 because they have to as part of an exchange agreement with their home university or government. All J-1 students are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.
Funding Requirements: 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.
Two-Year Home Residency Requirement: Some J-1 students are subject to the 2 year home residency requirement. This means that after you finish your J-1 student program, you’d need to return to your home country for 2 years before you are eligible for H1-B or U.S. permanent residency (green card). The U.S. embassy will determine if you are subject to this requirement when you go in to apply for the J-1 visa stamp. Our office does not determine if you are subject. If the J-1 holder is subject, then the J-2 visa holder will also be subject to this requirement.
Duration of Initial DS-2019: Upon requesting an initial DS-2019 form, if you only show funding for 1 academic year then your DS-2019 form will be valid for 1 year. If you show funding for 2 years, then your DS-2019 will be valid for 2 years, and so forth. For F-1 student visa, you only need to show funding for 1 academic year to receive an F-1 I-20 valid until expected degree completion date.
12-Month J-1 Research Scholar Bar: Being on J-1 student status for more than 6 months means you will be subject to the 12-month J-1 Research Scholar bar. It is not possible to waive this bar. This bar means that you will not be eligible for a J-1 Research Scholar visa until 12 months after you finish your J-1 student program. Many institutions in the U.S. rely on the J-1 Research Scholar visa for their post-doctoral positions. A J-2 visa holder will also be subject to this bar.
DS-2019 Extensions: The earliest DCISS can extend a DS-2019 form is 6 months prior to the current DS-2019 expiration date.
Post-Degree Completion Employment for MBA Students: MBA students on J-1 status are only allowed 18 months of Academic Training. Employment must be secured at the time of applying for Academic Training.* On the other hand, MBA students on F-1 status may be allowed up to 36 months of post-degree completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) with two separate application petitions with USCIS. Student does not need to secure employment at the time of applying for their initial 12-month of OPT.
*USDOS is temporarily allowing an Academic Training STEM initiative for J-1 students that would allow the duration of Academic Training to equate the duration of an MBA program. For instance, a 22 month long MBA program would allow 22 months of Academic Training instead of 18 months. The initiative will run for the next two academic years (2021-2022 and 2022-2023)
Obtaining a UCLA DS-2019 From
J-1 Degree Students
To request a UCLA DS-2019 form, 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 through an online application.
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 through the online application. This email will be sent to you approximately 2-3 months prior to your program start date.
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 J-1 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
J-2 Employment Application Guide
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 apply to work in the United States with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applications must be sent to the USCIS Service Center. The Dashew Center is not involved in the application submission.
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