- GETTING YOUR J-1 VISA
- HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT
- PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION
- INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AND SCHOLAR HANDBOOK
- POST-ARRIVAL CHECKLIST
Once you have received your Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, the next step is to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa for yourself and your dependents, if you have any. You will need to make an appointment for an interview with a Consular Officer at an American Embassy or Consulate in the city where you reside. Please refer to the checklist below for documents that you would need to prepare before going on your interview. Please take note that, depending on the specific embassy or consulate you are applying to, you may be required to provide additional documents in support of your application. For guidance, please refer to information found on your embassy or consulate's website.
- Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
- Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S.
- One (1) 2X2 photograph
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee
- Visa reciprocity fee, if applicable
- Letter of invitation from sponsoring department at USD
- Your USD contract (if applicable)
- Proof of health insurance (if applicable)
- Other such documents as required by your specific U.S. embassy/consulate
For more information, please consult the U.S. Department of State website.
All international scholars on a J-1 visa are required by federal law to carry health insurance for themselves and their dependents for the duration of their program.
Scholars have the option to purchase health insurance through USD, if not covered by their sponsorship. Details (cost and summary of benefits) will be provided to the student upon check-in. The insurance premium is billed to your USD account.
Click HERE to view current price list and benefits summary.
J-1 scholars that already have health insurance that meets the US Departments of State's guidelines may opt to waive the university health insurance plan (please refer to this brochure for guidance on Department of State guidelines on J-1 medical insurance).
To be eligible for a waiver of USD's health insurance requirement for international students, student must already be covered by an insurance plan that has the following features:
- Be in effect throughout the semester and renewable for continuous coverage
- Have a minimum dollar coverage of $100,000 per illness or injury
- Include outpatient care (doctor visits, outpatient surgery, etc.)
- Include hospitalization
- Repatriation for at least $10,000
- Medical evacuation for at least $25,000
Note: If the original proof of insurance is in your native language, please obtain a version of the policy in English to meet the proof of insurance requirement during check-in.
For questions on the health insurance requirements, please feel free to send us an email.
Checking-in with OISS
All new international scholars are required to check-in with OISS within seven to ten days of arrival in San Diego. Please contact your USD program coordinator or OISS directly to make your check-in appointment. Please allot anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour for your check-in.
Documents to Prepare for Check-in
- Your Passport
- Your Form DS-2019
- Your I-94 card* (white card usually stapled to your passport; may be green in some instances)
- Your proof of insurance, if not enrolling with USD's health plan
*Currently, the I-94 card is transition into a paper-less digital form. It's possible for some students to still receive a paper I-94 card, depending on the port of entry. Please visit the official website for information about the I-94 card. All students should receive a stamp on their passport to prove that they have entered the United States.
To help prepare you for your departure, please consult Education USA's excellent guide on pre-departure planning found here.
Please refer to this checklist as a reference for what you need to do as soon as you arrive at USD.