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
For information, please consult the U.S. Department of State website.
All international students and 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.
Students have the option to purchase health insurance through USD. Details (cost and summary of benefits) will be provided to the student upon check-in. The insurance premium is automatically added to your university bill at the time of registration during each semester. Payment for the insurance premium is due with tuition through the One-Stop Student Center.
(Click HERE to view current price list and benefits summary.)
J-1 students and scholars that already have health insurance that meets USD's standards may opt to waive the university health insurance plan (please refer to this page for guidance on university guidelines on health insurance). For information on the online waiver, please click here and click on "Student Waive" on the left hand panel of the webpage.
NOTE: Even if you have already filled-out USD's online waiver, you are still required to provide proof of insurance when you meet with OISS for check-in.
Please refer to the following guidelines to check for the type of information your insurance paperwork must have:
- Include effective dates of coverage (starting and ending dates)
- Include maximum dollar coverage for each sickness and injury
- Include outline of covered services
- Include list of excluded services
- Include insurance company contact information in case of emergency
- Explicitly state provisions for medical evacuation and repatriation
For questions on the health insurance requirements and online waiver, please feel free to send us an email.
Checking-in with OISS
All new international students are required to check-in with OISS within seven days of arrival in San Diego. Graduate exchange students, please contact your USD program coordinator for group check-in dates. Undergraduate exchange students, please contact Ms. Lauren Litz, Exchange Program Adviser, for information on check-in schedules.
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 immunization records
- Your proof of insurance, if not enrolling with USD's health plan
Also, be prepared to provide our office with your USD ID NUMBER and your ADDRESS in SAN DIEGO. We need your ID number to lift the OISS hold on your student account, and we will need your local address to register you on the SEVIS system.
*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.
For the student venturing off to the United States to earn a degree, traveling can be a source of both excitement and stress. You are likely eager to find out what documents you need to bring, how much money to bring, what to expect upon arrival here in the United States, etc. To help prepare you for your departure, please consult Education USA's excellent guide on pre-departure planning found here.