If you are currently on a non-immigrant visa you may have the ability to change your status to J-1. If you hold J-2 status and are subject to two year home residency or have been present in the U.S. for more than 6 months, you are ineligible to change status to J-1. In addition, if you hold C, D, or K visa status you are ineligible to change status to J-1. Finally, to be eligible to change status to J-1 status in the U.S., your current status must not expire until at least 30 days prior to the start date of your proposed J-1 exchange visitor program.
Changing status to J-1 student is a cooperative effort between you, UC International Services and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS has an online system for making application to change status called the ELIS-Electronic Immigration System.
Once a UC department has decided to sponsor you as a J-1 Exchange Visitor you should go to https://ioffice.uc.edu. Click on the “Biographical Information” link, then follow the instructions and complete the “Change of Status to J-1” eForm.