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Prepare for your Visit to UC

Whether you currently hold an F-1 or J-1 visa, or are planning to apply for one to come to the U.S. to study, there are several procedures that you need to follow in order to be issued your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Follow this guide to make your transition to UC go as smoothly as possible.

Pay your SEVIS Fee

Prior to applying for your visa, you must pay a $180 SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SEVIS fee can be paid by credit card over the internet, or by check or money order via mail. If your visa has been denied, you do not need to pay the fee again if you re-apply for the same visa within 12 months of the denial. See our SEVIS Fee page for more information on who is required to pay this fee and payment options.

If You Have Eligible Dependents

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 who accompany or follow you to the United States are usually admitted in J-2 classification, but are not exchange visitors. You are not permitted to bring dependents to the United States in J-2 classification if adequate funding for their support and health insurance coverage is not available.

Eligibility Requirements

Only your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible for J-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, and sisters are not eligible. Further, J-2 documentation for family members can only be issued if you can show funding for their support and health care. If your dependents are to accompany you or join you in the United States, they may obtain their visas and admission to the United States along with you on the basis of the Form DS-2019 issued in their names.

Apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Unless you are already in the U.S. on J-1 status and will be transferring to UC from ELS or another school, you will need to apply for a visa in your home country.

Provide Documentation of your Dependents

Dependents who come to the United States must obtain their J-2 visas using the Form DS-2019 in their name. The J-2 applicant then presents the Form DS-2019 to the immigration officer at the port of entry to the United States. Upon entry to the United States, each dependent is issued a Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), indicating the date of entry, classification, and an admission for D/S.

You must notify UC International Services of any accompanying dependents in J-2 status and provide biographical information (e.g., full name, address, country of birth, etc.) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information, etc.) regarding those dependents using the UC International Services Add a New Dependent eForm found at Each dependent will then receive his/her own DS-2019 to apply for the appropriate visa. screenshot

Request Express Mailing

For students and scholars currently outside the U.S. who intend to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, we recommend that you have your DS-2019 sent by express mail. Regular mail overseas takes 4- 6 weeks. To request express mail service, you need to go to We have discounted express mail rates negotiated for UC students & scholars with DHL and FedEx, but you must use the eshipglobal service. Do not go through the DHL or FedEx websites directly.

You will need your UC ID number, mailing address, email address, phone number and a credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover cards only) to set up a user account. Our office will be notified once you have requested a shipment. If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing a shipment, please use the "Help" link in the site for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please email

Travel to the U.S. & Arrive at UC

Prior to arrival, please read our tips for traveling to the U.S. to prepare for your trip. For help finding UC after you arrive, visit our maps & directions page. Once you arrive at UC, there are a couple of things that will be required of you.