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Frequently Asked J-1 Questions

Who is my J-1 Immigration Advisor?

ISEO immigration advisors work on cases according to the Scholar's last name; for additional information, please contact the immigration advisor assigned to the Scholar's last name. See list of Advisors on our contact us page.

Electronic DS-2019s with Digital Signatures

What is the new rule allowing for electronic DS-2019s?
  • The Department of State has issued an interim final rule regarding electronic signature and transmission of Form DS-2019. Effective April 27, 2023, ISEO is permitted to use digital signatures and transmit Form DS-2019 electronically. Exchange visitors will need to print and sign the electronic DS-2019 prior to visa interviews or travel to the United States.
Can ISEO electronically transmit Forms DS-2019 to any entity or third party?   NO!
  • The new regulation specifically limits electronic transmission of Forms DS-2019 to the following entities: exchange visitors; accompanying spouses and dependents; legal guardians of minor exchange visitors; ISEO staff; Fulbright commissions and their staff; and Federal, State, or local government agencies or departments. ISEO may also continue to send paper Forms DS-2019 via mail to these entities as well as to foreign third parties acting on ISEO's behalf.
Do exchange visitors still have to use paper Forms DS-2019 after receiving them electronically?  YES!
  • Exchange visitors and their J-2 accompanying spouses and dependents, if any, must print out their Forms DS-2019 and sign them with ink.
  • You must continue to present paper Forms DS-2019 at U.S. embassies or consulates when they apply for a J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant visa, at the U.S. port of entry, at Social Security offices, and at the DMV for driver license.
May I or my J2 dependents sign their DS-2019 digitally/electronically?  NO!
  • J1 and J2 dependents must print out and sign their DS-2019 forms in ink.
Are there any changes to travel signatures on Forms DS-2019 and DS7002?  YES!
  • ISEO may now apply digital signatures in the Travel Validation section of Forms DS-2019.
  • When exchange visitors plan to travel outside the United States, an ISEO advisor must sign Forms DS-2019 – either with a digital signature or in ink – to denote travel approval.
  • Exchange visitors must then present a paper version of their Form DS-2019 to re-enter the United States. Without a valid travel signature, the exchange visitor may be unable to re-enter the United States.
My DS-2019 was lost, damaged or stolen. Can I reprint the one I was originally emailed?   NO!
  • If your DS-2019 is lost, damaged, or stolen, you must notify your ISEO advisor as soon as possible. ISEO will file a report in the SEVIS system and email you a new DS-2019.
What options are available for transmitting Forms DS-2019 and DS-7002?
  • New Option - ISEO's default method of submission.
    - ISEO may now use digital signature software to sign Forms DS-2019 and then electronically transmit them (e.g., via email) or mail them.
      - ISEO may print and physically sign paper forms in ink (blue ink not required), scan, and electronically transmit DS-2019 and DS-7002 documents via email.
  • Traditional Option:
      - Upon specific request, ISEO will print, physically sign (blue ink not required), and mail paper forms to scholars.

What are the costs associated with the J-1?


Description Fees (effective 09/01/23) Who Pays? Note

ISEO J-1 Request Fee (New and Extension)

Payment via POET(AF):

  • Initial $657
  • Extension $437


Payment via Credit Card with overhead cost recovery:
  • Initial $749
  • Extension $498
EITHER Department or J-1 Scholar

Department pays by recharge or scholar can pay by credit card.

Note: department must pay recharge for all postdoc appointments.

ISEO Rush Fee

Payment via POET(AF):
  • $437


Payment via Credit Card with overhead cost recovery:
  • $498
EITHER Department or J-1 Scholar Department pays by recharge or scholar can pay by credit card.
SEVIS Fee $220 EITHER Department or J-1 Scholar Normally, J-1 pays. Covers all J-2s and future extensions. Fee is paid to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Visa Fee (aka MRV Fee) $185 J-1 Scholar Each visa applicant must pay (J-1, J-2s) and for each subsequent visa. Fee is paid to U.S. embassy or consulate.
Visa Reciprocity Fee Variable J-1 Scholar Only applies in some countries.

ISEO's online recharge form aligns with the update in the UCSD Financial System (July 1, 2020), the addition of a two-tiered structure was implemented to reflect different rates applied based on source of funds--institutional or credit card/outside payments, per institutional policy regarding overhead cost recovery

J-1 fee resources:

What documents do I need to travel?

To re-enter the U.S. to continue your program/employment after a short break outside of the country, it is necessary to have proper documentation. Prepare these documents in the U.S. before leaving and keep all documents handy during your travels.

  1. Valid passport (minimum of 6 months into the future)
  2. Valid, unexpired J-1 visa stamp in your passport
  3. Valid printed Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature from the International Services and Engagement Office*
    *If your Form DS-2019 requires a valid travel signature, complete the online request; please allow 5 business days for processing.
  4. Appointment letter (optional)
Note: A leave of absence is required if your travel is for business and over 30 days or, your travel is personal and over 60 days. 

Please see our travel and re-entry page for the most up to date information on travel.Travel and Re-Entry

If your visa stamp has expired you will need to renew it; see applying for a visa.

Travel Signatures

How do I request a travel signature?

Travel signatures can be requested here

How long is my travel signature valid for?

Travel signatures are valid for one year or up until the end date on your DS-2019 if sooner than one year.

Do I need a travel signature for domestic travel?

You do not need a travel signature for domestic travel, we recommend carrying a form of valid ID and copies of your immigration documents when traveling within the U.S.

Do I need a travel signature everytime I travel?

You do not need a new travel signature if your current travel signature is still valid.


Can I work remotely while on my J-1?

Is remote work from a residence in the U.S. allowed for a J-1 scholar?
  • The Department of State has indicated that Exchange Visitors, if working remotely (from a residence) must limit this work to 40% of their effort (e.g., 2 out of 5 days a week). In short, this means that the U.S. Dept of State will expect that you are on campus or wherever your nonresidential worksite is for at least three of five days a week.  Anything less than this would not align with requirements of the Exchange Visitor program and could jeopardize your legal status in the U.S.
  • For those Exchange Visitors whose programs began prior to July 1, you are allowed to maintain your current hybrid schedule through December 31, 2023, after which you must then comply with this Dept of State directive.
  • Exchange Visitors working remotely (from a residence) must report their remote address to ISEO. ISEO will need to add it as a secondary Site of Activity in SEVIS.

Can a J-1 Scholar work fully remote?
U.S. Department of State (US DOS) guidance specifically does not permit a fully virtual exchange visitor program. ISEO will not be able to issue DS-2019 forms for fully remote work.
Can a J-1 Scholar work remotely from outside the U.S?

The current UCOP and UCSD Academic Personnel guidance does not allow remote work from abroad. The only exception is if the work itself is in that foreign county. For example, we have physicists who must conduct their research at CERN in Switzerland. In all other cases, scholars are required to be present to start their appointment. If tunable to report to UCSD on the proposed date or you do not have authorization to work in the United States, you may defer your start date.

J-1 Research Scholars who will be out of the country for more than 30 days for business/research, or for more than 60 days for personal travel, should notify the International Services and Engagement Office (ISEO). J-1 scholars can notify ISEO by submitting a J-1 Leave of Absence Request FormFor extended absences of three months or more, J-2 dependents should accompany the J-1 principal.

Please make sure to submit this request before the leave begins as this request cannot be back dated.

After receiving the Leave of Absence Request, ISEO staff will input the leave information into the J-1 scholar's SEVIS immigration record to alert immigration officials that the scholar will be outside the U.S. for a duration of time but their J-1 program will remain active. When submitting the request form, confirmation emails will be sent to the department administrator and the scholar's supervisor or PI.

Please see the requirements for maintaining an active J-1 program below. Keeping your J-1 program active is important when considering the 24-month bar, also discussed below.

J-1 Short-Term Scholars and J-1 Student Interns are not eligible for a J-1 Leave of Absence. If you are in one of these categories and will be outside the U.S. for a longer duration of time, you can contact with any questions.

How can I change my status to H1B?


  1. You must be in a sponsorable appointment title that allows for H1B sponsorship. Only certain appointment titles at UC San Diego are eligible for H-1B sponsorship, per institutional policy; see PPM 200-16, "Supplement 1"
  2. You must be employed full-time 100% with a salary paid by UC San Diego
  3. The department administrator must initiate the H-1B request with ISEO.
  4. The department chair must be willing to support the H-1B petition and pay all associated H-1B fees.
  5. If you are subject to the Two-Year home country residence requirement (212e) then you must have a waiver of fulfilled two year in country of permanent residence

Can I apply for Permanent Residency while on J1?

Consult with ISEO Advisor BEFORE applying for Permanent Residency. The DS-2019 can no longer be extended after you have received an approved I-140 and submitted the I-485 Adjustment of Status.

EADs are taking a long time and you may risk not having work authorization.

J-1 Exchange Visitor status is a non-immigrant intent status with intention that you intend on returning home after you complete your J-1 program, we recommend that you change to H-1B status which does allow for dual intent. Always consult with your department to make sure they are supportive of an H-1B before applying for the waiver or Adjustment of status to ensure you do not have a break in work authorization.

If you are subject to the J-1 Two Year Home Rule 212e you must have the waiver approval to apply for the I-485 Adjustment of status.

Please Consult with ISEO Advisor BEFORE applying for the J-1 waiver.

If you are interested in applying for permanent residency, we recommend that you attend the

Permanent Residency Overview: Process and Pathways (Intro)

My Visa is expired, do I need to go back home and renew my visa?

If you have a valid DS-2019 and your visa is expired you can remain in the U.S. and continue with your J-1 program without having to travel and re-new your visa.

The DS-2019 form is what authorizes you to stay and work in the U.S.

If you travel and your visa is expired then you must renew it in order to re-enter the U.S. Apply for a U.S. Visa (

Can my J2 dependent work while in the U.S.?

J-2 dependent family members may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to accept employment on the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; a job offer is not required and a Social Security Number (SSN) can also be requested with this form (J-2 dependents14 or older).  If approved, the J-2 will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with no work restrictions. The EAD is an identification card with your photograph, signature, and expiration date of your permission to work; the EAD is not valid for traveling outside the U.S. and re‑entering. The employment must not be used to support the J-1 principal or the J-2 dependent(s), however, as regulations require the J-1 have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents without requiring family members to work. It is taking USCIS 8 to 13 months to issue an EAD, both initial and extension, and one is not allowed to work based on a receipt notice evidencing application for the EAD, so plan accordingly.

Note that any work done on U.S. soil will require an EAD, even if the employer and/or payment mechanism is abroad.  Minor children interested in working are also subject to additional state requirements.


More information about the application process, extensions of EAD, and sample cover letters can be found here.

There is a mistake on my I-94 when I re-entered the U.S.; how can I get it corrected?

Deferred inspection provides assistance to those individuals who at the time of entry into the United States believe that the documentation and corresponding endorsements issued at the port of entry require review and possible correction. They are available to review and issue the necessary documents to remedy errors recorded on arrival documents relating to improper non-immigrant classification, inaccurate biographical information or incorrect period of admission, if appropriate.

Please note: The deferred inspection sites will only correct errors issued at the time of entry to the United States. You must bring your immigration documents with you for possible correction: Passport, printed form DS-2019, I-94, I-20, or I-797


San Yisidro Deferred Inspections Office

495 Virginia Ave. San Ysidro, CA 92173

NOTE: Do not cross the pedestrian bridge. 


Deferred inspection is located on the opposite side of the Pedestrian Bridge. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (closed on weekends and federal holidays). For additional deferred inspection information contact (619) 662-2229 or (619) 428-3505.


You can now request I-94 corrections by contacting Do not forget to include your passport biographical page and visa. If the electronic I-94 information is not updated within 3 business days, you will have to visit the deferred inspection office in the San Diego Airport, Terminal 2. Please note that initial entry J-1’s cannot be validated in SEVIS and apply for SSNs until the corrected I-94 is provided to ISEO.


For information regarding public transportation in San Diego visit our Transportation and Commuting Alternatives page.

212e Two Year Home Residency Requirement

Can you assist me with understanding the 212e Two Year Home Residency Requirement?

We have information found on our website here:j1/maintaining/212e, we also periodically offer a 212e and Bars workshop, additionally you can get more information by emailing your advisor.

*Before applying for the waiver always consult with your immigration advisor.

Is there a difference between the 212e Two Year Home Residency Requirement and the 24 month bar?

212e Two Year Home Residency Requirement

If you are subject to this requirement, you cannot apply for H, L, or permanent residence status unless you either spend a cumulative total of two years in your home residence country (time in other countries does NOT count) or obtain a waiver of the requirement.

Three criteria determine if you are subject to the requirement:

  1. Funding Source
    You are subject if you received any direct government funding from either the U.S. government or from your home government during your J-1 program. You are also subject if you received indirect government funding through a bi-national commission or international agency (for example, Fulbright or the U.N.). You are not subject if your funding comes only from indirect government funding through the university, unless the grants were specifically targeted for international exchange (e.g. an NIH or NSF grant through UCSD).
  2. Exchange Visitor Skills List*
    You are subject if your country of last permanent residence is on the “Skills List” and if your area of specialization during your J-1 program is listed for your country. ISEO can help you understand how the Skills List affects you.
  3. Medical Education or Training
    You are subject if you are a foreign medical graduate and came to the U.S. or acquired J-1 status to obtain graduate medical education or training. You are also subject if you were an Alien Physician sponsored by ECFMG.

24 Month Bar

All J-1 Exchange Visitors in the professor or research scholar category (Box 4 of your Form DS-2019) are subject to a "24-Month Bar" on "repeat participation" in those categories.

If you are J1 Professor or J1 Research Scholar; once your J-1 program ends and the SEVIS record becomes "inactive," you must wait 24 months before beginning a new program as a J Professor or Research Scholar. There is no waiver for the 24 month bar.

How do I transfer to UCSD or another institution?

How do I Transfer In to UCSD

If you would like to transfer to UCSD, your sponsoring Department at UCSD will need to submit a J1 Initial Application on your behalf. Our office will need the name and contact information of your current International Office Advisor to coordinate your transfer. The ISEO standard processing time is approximately 15 business days from the receipt of a completed J-1 Application and 5 business days with RUSH processing.

Please note for J-1 scholars Transferring to UC San Diego, ISEO cannot issue the DS-2019 until the SEVIS release/start date. This may fall out of the 15-day business window depending on the transfer date.

Please notify us if you plan to travel outside of the U.S. while the transfer is pending. International travel is NOT recommended when transferring in between positions.


How do I Transfer Out from UCSD

Please notify your advisor and your department that you would like to transfer to another institution. The immigration advisor at your new institution should contact your immigration advisor in our office to request the transfer of your record.

Please notify us if you plan to travel outside of the U.S. while the transfer is pending. The ISEO standard processing time is approximately 15 business days.

In order to facilitate the transfer out to another J-1 program we will need the following Information for your prospective J-1 program sponsor/institution:

  • International Scholar Advisor contact name:
  • International Scholar Advisor email:
  • J-1 SEVIS program number (NOT your SEVIS number) P-X-XXXXX

The following will need to confirmed by your UCSD department administrator or Supervisor:

  1. Confirmation the scholar is in good standing with department from (department Admin or PI):
  2. Confirmation the scholar has maintained their J-1 status;
  3. Last date of employment at UCSD:

What should I do before I depart the U.S.?

What should I do before I depart the U.S.? How long can I remain in the U.S. after my J-1 program ends?
  • J-1 status allows for a 30 day grace period effective immediately after whichever comes first:
    • From the end date on the DS-2019
    • OR
    • From the end date of your J-1 program activity
    • You may not work or be paid during this period, nor may you depart and reenter the U.S.

Where can I go for questions about taxes?

Is there someone at ISEO I can speak with regarding my taxes?

Neither UC San Diego nor any of its employees is authorized to offer tax advice, but we may be able to steer you to appropriate resources if you submit your question to For support in completing your tax filings, please use the resources on this website. GLACIER Tax Prep also has a HELP link accessible within GTP when you are completing your federal tax form. If you have additional questions regarding your specific situation, we recommend contacting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at (800) 829-1040. You may also contact the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) for questions about state taxes at (800) 852-5711. You may also visit this helpful link from the IRS.

I did not earn any income last year. Am I still required to file taxes?

While you are not required to file a tax return, you are still required to file a Form 8843. All nonresident aliens who are present in the U.S. under F, J, M, or Q I-94 statuses at any point in the tax year are required to file this form. Form 8843 is not an income tax return but an informational statement required by the U.S. government.

How do I determine if I am a resident or nonresident?

If you created a Glacier record during the previous tax year it would have identified you as a Resident or Nonresident alien for tax purposes. You may also take the Substantial Presence Test to make this determination.  You can also refer to Publication 519, “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens” for more information. For California state tax residency determination, refer to Publication 1031.

Where can I get my tax return filing forms?

If you use GLACIER Tax Prep, it will help prepare the form 1040NR and Form 8843. Tax forms can also be found at the Internal Revenue Service or the California Franchise Tax Board.

More information on taxes can be found here:living-in-sd/taxes/index

How Do I Apply for a Social Security Number?

If you are a UC San Diego employee, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). SSN

J-1 Scholars: we recommend that you wait 5 business days after completing the registration process at the International Services and Engagement Office (ISEO) to apply for a Social Security Number. J-1 scholars in the Research Scholar, Short-term Scholar, and Professor categories are eligible to apply for a SSN; J-1 Student Interns are only eligible if they are being paid by UCSD. 

For the most current and detailed SSN application instructions visit 

Remember that you are not a “student” for U.S. immigration purposes. When reviewing the instructions make sure to select the noncitizen option. Learn what documents you will need to get a Social Security Card

The following documents are required to apply for a Social Security card:
  • Completed Social Security Form
  • Passport
  • Form I-94 record printed from the USCBP website and/or admission entry stamp in the passport.
  • Additional documents by status:
    • J-1 scholars (non-Student Intern category): DS-2019 form
      • The Research Scholar, Short-Term and Professor categories do not need an employer letter to be eligible for a social security number, Section 4 of the DS-2019 shows your J-1 category. Only student interns need an employment letter.
      • The Social Security Office may confuse your request with a category that does require an employer letter. We encourage you to print out the Social Security Program Operations Manual System (POMS) which shows that your category does not require an employer letter to be eligible for a social security number:
      • Social Security Program Operations Manual System (POMS) - RM 10211.345 "Section A" lists the categories that do not require an employer letter: 
    • J-1 scholars - Student Intern category: employment letter from ISEO advisor; contact your advisor or for this letter
      • only eligible for a SSN if being paid by UC San Diego.
    • J-2 dependents: qualify only when they apply for J-2 Employment. J-2 dependents can apply for work authorization and a social security number at the same time.
    • H-1B or O-1 employees: Form I-797

Upon applying for a social security card, a receipt will be issued as the social security card is mailed. The receipt will not contain your SSN number as that is generated after you depart the SSN office. Please note that there is no change to obtain a social security number.

Social Security Offices

The local San Diego Social Security Office has indicated that you can only receive services from the social security office your zip code is assigned to. This is based on your local/home/residential San Diego address, not your work address. To see instructions, hours and other offices and services, visit their website.

To determine which Social Security Office that provides you services: 

Most UC San Diego Faculty/Scholars tend to live in zip codes that direct them to one of the following offices: 
  • The Kearny Mesa Office (8505 Aero Drive San Diego, CA 92123) -  (866) 331-6397
    • Zip codes this office services: 92037; 92038; 92039; 92108; 92111; 92117; 92121; 92122; 92123; 92124; 92126; 92131; 92142; 92145; 92168; 92177; 92193; 92196; 92197
  • The San Diego Card Center (1333 Front Street San Diego, CA 92101) - (855) 820-0097
    • Zip codes this office services: 92092; 92093; 92101; 92102; 92103; 92104; 92105; 92106; 92107; 92109; 92110; 92112; 92113; 92116; 92118

For bus routes to these offices visit, or visit UC San Diego’s Transportation and Parking Services website.

Can you help me with Housing?

Unfortunately, our office does not have the resources to assist with securing housing. We have great list of resources and information on our website here:living-in-sd/housing/index

How do I get a Campus ID Card

To obtain a UC San Diego ID card, ask your department for assistance. Please note that there two main types of UC San Diego ID Cards the general UC San Diego ID card and the Health Systems ID Badge. Your department would determine which ID card (if any) you require.

For a General UC San Diego ID Card  - The administrator needs to complete and authorize the Campus Card Request Form. Take the completed form and go to the Student Services Center, 3rd floor, suite 354A. If you are responsible for the fee, it must be paid at the Central Cashier’s Office located on the 1st floor of the Student Services Center.

Your UC San Diego ID Card can be used for a variety of discounts in the San Diego community. 

More information is available at:

How do I get a UCSD email?

Please check in with your department and work with your department Human Resources person to obtain your UCSD email.