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Change of Category for J-1 Scholars

When a Form DS-2019 is prepared for you, a particular category of activity is indicated on the form. This designation of a category helps to establish and define your program objective. For example, the student category indicates a formal program of study leading to a degree, certificate or other similar educational objective, while the research scholar category indicates the objective of academic research. In general, a change of category represents a change of objective and is not permitted.

However, you may request an exception to this policy. A request for change of category along with supporting justification must be submitted to the DOS by UC International Services. Upon DOS approval, UC International Services shall issue you a duly executed Form DS-2019 reflecting such change of category and provide a notification copy of such form to the DOS. There is a $215 fee that must be paid when submitting a request of this nature to the DOS.

In preparing a request for change of category, UC International Services will provide sufficient documentation of the reasons for the change to permit DOS to reach an informed decision. This documentation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Supporting letters from faculty advisors, funding agencies, or the home government supporting the change.
  • An explanation of how the current and intended activities complement each other.
  • A statement from you explaining your objectives and confirming your intention to return home at the end of the exchange visitor program.

Changing from Research Scholar to Student

Requests for a change of category from a research scholar to student will be evaluated recognizing the fact that, in some cases, research skills can be substantially enhanced by doctoral study. You are considered to be maintaining lawful status during the pendency of the application. If you apply for a change of category and are denied, you will have lawful status for an additional period of 30 days from the day of such notice and are expected to depart the country within that time or within the period of 30 days after the expiration of your Form DS-2019, whichever is latest.