J-1 Exchange Visitor

Overview and Eligibility

J-1 status (comprised of multiple categories) is usually the most appropriate classification for international visitors who come to UC San Diego temporarily to teach or engage in research as long as the position is not tenure-track. There is a 5-year limit to the J-1 Research Scholar/Professor category,  a 6-month limit to the Short-term Scholar category, and a 12-month limit to the Student Intern category. If your prospective scholar has not completed a bachelor's level degree program and is currently enrolled in one in their home country, you must request the "Student Intern" category.

For a list of UC San Diego appointment titles for which the J-1 can be requested, see PPM 200-16 "Supplement 1" pdf.

A visitor is not eligible for J status under the following circumstances:

  1. If the scholar has completed a previous J program (e.g. Student, Specialist, Dependent, etc.) which lasted more than 6 months and is now requesting J status as a Research Scholar or Professor to start a new program. There must be a 12-month gap between the end date of the previous J1/J2 program and the start date of the new J program.
  2. If the scholar has completed a previous J program in the Professor or Research Scholar category, they are subject to a 24-Month Bar that prohibits repeat participation in a new J program as a Professor or Research Scholar.
  3. If the scholar has applied for U.S. Permanent Resident status (green card).
  4. If the scholar has applied for a Waiver of the Two-Year Home Residence Rule and received approval notification from the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  5. If the position at UC San Diego is tenure track.
  6. If the position entails clinical training (e.g., section 2111 or 2113 compliance with the state medical board is required in order to fulfill requirements of the position).

If the J-1 Exchange Visitor is already in the U.S. and plans to transfer from another institution, see Transferring at UC San Diego for more information.

Processing Time and Cost

Departments should allow at least 45 days between submission of the DS-2019 request to IFSO and the anticipated start date of the Exchange Visitor's program, to allow for mailing, SEVIS fee payment, visa application, visa processing--including any required background checks, and travel arrangements.  IFSO will automatically push the start date back 45 days from receipt of the request (RUSH processing request start dates will be honored as much as possible, subject to the discretion of the Scholar Advisor).

The IFSO standard processing time is approximately 10 business days from receipt of a complete DS-2019 request and all required documentation, including the required recharge fee, and five business days (usually fewer) with RUSH processing. For those scholars who need to defer their start dates, IFSO will defer programs (amend start dates) for up to one year from the initial start date requested.  After a year of deferring and if an exchange visitor still has not arrived for their program, IFSO will cancel the exchange visitor's program without refunding the recharge fee. You can check the status of a J-1 submission using the J-1 Application Status Request Form. 

Information on IFSO online recharge.

J-1 exchange visitors will have additional fees to pay, including:

Please see this chart for a summary of fees required for the J-1 visa classification.

IFSO immigration advisors work on cases according to sponsoring department/ORU; for additional information, please contact the immigration advisor assigned to your area:

  • Roark Miller, x43731: SIO, Rady, SDSC, Qualcomm Inst., University Extension, and affiliate organizations (VMRF, Ludwig, IOA, HHMI)
  • Dalia Alshamas, x61447: SOM/Health Sciences departments/ORUs, Skaggs
  • Jennifer Homrich, x25851: all other Main Campus departments/ORUs

Minimum Financial Support

While federal regulations do not stipulate a minimum amount of financial resources required to support an Exchange Visitor during their program in the U.S., they do require that Exchange Visitor Programs determine that enough funding exists for the Exchange Visitor to carry out their program activity successfully without needing additional employment.  The International Faculty & Scholar Office has determined that, in the absence of other minimum amounts stipulated by the Graduate Division, the following minimum monthly financial support is required:

Single:  $2,400

Accompanying J-2 spouse: $800/month additional

Accompanying J-2 child: $400/month additional per child

*Exception: Postdoctoral appointment letter is sufficient proof to meet these requirements for title codes 3252, 3253, and 3254. No additional funding is required.

In addition, J-1 scholars and their dependents must have health insurance coverage that meets the standards established by federal regulation. Visitors with non-salaried academic titles (Visiting Graduate Student and Visiting Scholar) may enroll in the Visiting Academic Benefit Plan (VABP).

Proof of funding is required and a full month's funding must be accounted, even if the scholar's stay is less than one full month. See instructions below about the documentation required for proof of funding. 

English Proficiency

The Department of State requires scholars to have “sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis." [22 CFR 62.11(a)(2)].

The International Faculty & Scholar Office will accept any of the following as proof of English language proficiency:

  • Certification by a recognized English language test
    • Required Documentation: A copy of the test score in English
      • IELTS overall band score of 6 or higher
      • TOEFL test score must be 500 (paper based PBT), 173 (computer based CBT), or 61 (internet based IBT). 
      • PETS score level 5 or higher
      • TOEIC and TOEFL ITP are not accepted.
  • Certification by an academic institution or English language school
    • Required documentation: A letter issued in English within the past 6 months on letterhead including a signature from the school official. Must verify the exchange visitor possesses English language proficiency high enough to function daily within the UCSD position and within the local U.S. community. 
    • For graduates of schools that teach in the English language (e.g., schools in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) a copy of the diploma will suffice.
  • Certification by sponsoring supervisor
    • Must include interview details (supervisor name, date of interview, duration of interview, format of interview, and supervisor signature).
    • If supervisor has had numerous discussions in English over a certain time period, rather than a single interview, please indicate in the box to the left of the interview details "numerous discussions in English over the past x months (years)" or similar, appropriate phrase demonstrating that an evaluation of English skills was able to be made.

J-1 Initial Instructions

Required:

  • Online recharge
  • Form A (completed by department)
  • Form B (completed by scholar)
  • Form C (completed by scholar)
  • Form D (required for any exchange visitor with an MD; completed by department)
  • 5-Point Statement Letter (required for an MD with incidental patient contact, as indicated in Form D)
  • Copy of passport (biographical page, including dependents')
  • Proof of Financial Funding, i.e. scholarship letter on organization's letter head, recent bank statement showing currently existing liquid funds, (stocks, bonds, mutual funds not acceptable) etc., with a specific dollar (or other currency) amount. All documentation must be translated to English and the amount and be converted to U.S. dollars.  If funds are from a family member or other individual, our office will require an additional signed statement from that individual that they will be supporting the J-1 is required.(try the XE Currency Site for an online converter).
  • Copy of Immigration Documents if currently inside the U.S. (For Transfer or Change of Status)
  • Appointment Form (approved not pending)
    • Visiting Graduate Student Appointment (approved by Graduate Division in VGSAS)
    • Visiting Scholar/Postdoctoral Scholar Appointment (approved in RSAS)
    • Other Academic Appointments (offer letter or appointment letter from Dean's Office)
    • Other Salaried Appointments and Non-Salaried Appointments

Step-by-Step Instructions for filling out Forms A-D

J-1 Extension Instructions

Note: Exchange Visitors may not be eligible for extension if they have:

Required:

  • Online recharge
  • Form A (completed by department)
  • Form B (completed by scholar)
  • Form C Extension
  • Form D (if exchange visitor has an MD)
  • 5-Point Statement Letter (if exchange visitor will be performing incidental patient contact, as indicated in Form D)
  • Proof of Financial Funding:  i.e. scholarship letter on organization's letter head, recent bank statement showing currently existing liquid funds, (stocks, bonds, mutual funds not acceptable) etc., with a specific dollar (or other currency) amount. All documentation must be translated to English and the amount and be converted to U.S. dollars. If funds are from a family member or other individual, our office will require an additional signed statement from that individual that they will be supporting the J-1 is required.(try the XE Currency Site for an online converter).
  • Updated passport or I-94 card, as applicable (if scholar has received new documents since initial DS-2019 was issued)
  • Appointment Form (approved not pending)
    • Visiting Graduate Student Appointment (approved by Graduate Dicision in VGSAS)
    • Visiting Scholar or Postdoctoral Appointment (approved in RSAS)
    • Other Academic Appointments (Offer letter or appointment letter from Dean's Office)
    • Other Salaried Appointments and Non-Salaried Appointments

Step-by-Step Instructions for completing Forms A-D

J-1 Student Intern Instructions

The J-1 Student Intern category is available for undergraduate students currently enrolled in an overseas institution (not in the U.S.) to participate in an internship here at the UC San Diego.  DEPARTMENTS MUST REQUEST A VISITING SCHOLAR APPOINTMENT THROUGH THE OFFICE OF POSTDOCTORAL AND VISITING SCHOLAR AFFAIRS PRIOR TO SUBMITTING A J-1 STUDENT INTERN REQUEST (unless a graduate student, which would require a Visiting Graduate Student appointment through the Graduate Division). UC San Diego academic departments may host a J-1 Student Intern (the “Intern”) for a maximum period of 12 months. The designated Intern Supervisor within each UC San Diego academic department must read and agree to all certifications listed below, in Section 5: “Sponsoring Department Certification.” One requirement listed within the Certifications is the completion of an Intern Evaluation(s) by the Intern Supervisor. Evaluation requires a concluding evaluation and, for programs lasting more than 6 months, a mid-point evaluation as well. Please see below for more information on the J-1 Student Intern evaluation requirement. This J-1 category may be used for Visiting Graduate Students if circumstances warrant such an appointment.

PLEASE NOTE: The "Student Intern" category for J-1 Exchange Visitors is treated as a category of "Scholar" here at UC San Diego for purposes of services; these student interns may not be eligible to enroll in UC San Diego classes or receive benefits afforded students enrolled in degree programs at UC San Diego, such as housing (it is possible for Student Interns to enroll in extension classes).  It is incumbent upon the department to understand these limitations and make them known to any student intern they are sponsoring.

Required:

  • Online recharge
  • Form A (completed by department)
  • Form B (completed by intern)
    • This includes p.2, "Certification of Academic Status" (completed by intern's home institution)
  • Form C (completed by intern)
  • DS-7002: "Training/Internship Placement Plan (completed by student intern, department, and IFSO)
    • instructions below
  • Copy of passport (biographical page, including dependents')
  • Proof of financial funding, i.e. letter from Intern’s home institution, recent bank statement showing currently existing liquid funds, (stocks, bonds, mutual funds not acceptable) etc., with a specific dollar (or other currency) amount. All documentation must be translated to English and the amount and be converted to U.S. dollars.  If funds are from a family member or other individual, our office will require an additional signed statement from that individual that they will be supporting the J-1 is required.(try the XE Currency Site for an online converter).
  • Visiting Scholar Appointment approved (not pending) by Office of Research Affairs in RSAS (online system)

Step-by-Step Instructions

J-1 Amendments

All changes in site of activity, funding amounts or sources, and/or significant changes in job duties, must be reported to the International Faculty & Scholar Office through an Amendment Application.  No recharge fee is required.  If you have any questions on the need for submitting Form A, please contact ischolars@ucsd.edu.  See instructions on completing the amendment application. 

Programs that only require a date amendment for scholars who are delayed, should email ischolars@ucsd.edu. The amendment form is not required for this type of date amendments.

Medical Scholars: Five-Point Statement

NOTE: UC San Diego's Exchange Visitor Program may not be used for J-1s in clinical training opportunities; instead see policy for International Medical Scholars.

Any foreign medical graduate pursuing a J-1 Research Scholar/Professor program in the United States that involves incidental patient contact must apply for their J-1 visa with the "Five-Point Statement" (see below) appended to their application materials.

The International Faculty & Scholar Office will attach this Five-Point Statement to the Certificate of Eligibility for a J-1 Visa (Form DS-2019) it issues to the prospective J-1 Exchange Visitor.

The Five-Point Statement may not be used for a program with any element of medical training, as all clinical training programs for foreign medical graduates must be overseen by the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), which issues the Form DS-2019 for the J-1 category of Alien Physician.

The wording of the Five-Point Statement is prescribed by federal regulation at 22 CFR § 62.27(c) (iii), and is reviewed by consular officers at the time of visa application and by immigration inspectors at the port of entry to the United States.

How to prepare your statement

Please type the following statement on departmental letterhead with the signature of the department chair, leaving room for a signature from Roark Miller, Director, International Faculty & Scholar Office.

Attach the statement to the J-1 request form and send or deliver to the International Faculty & Scholar Office.

The government-prescribed wording must be followed exactly:

The program in which [name of physician] will participate is predominantly involved with observation, consultation, teaching or research.  Dr. ________ will be (indicate a brief paragraph describing the specific duties and why incidental patient contact is necessary for the program).

Any incidental patient contact involving the alien physician will be under the direct supervision of a physician who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien and who is licensed to practice medicine in the State of California.

The alien physician will not be given final responsibility for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Any activities of the alien physician will conform fully with the state licensing requirements and regulations for medical and health care professions in California.

Any experience gained in this program will not be creditable towards any requirements for the medical specialty board certification.

[signature]

[Department Chair name] 

[signature]

Roark Miller, PhD

RO, P-1-02849

J-1 Program Completion

J-1 Initial Application

J-1 Student Intern Application

J-1 Amendment Request

*Programs that only require a date amendment should email ischolars@ucsd.edu. The Amendment form is not required for date amendments.