Office of International Students and Scholars

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Information for Incoming J-1 Students & Scholars


Getting Your J-1 Visa

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 applicable.  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 must bring to your interview. Please note that depending on the specific embassy or consulate you apply to, you may be required to provide additional documents in support of your application.  For additional guidance, please refer to information found on your embassy or consulate's website.

Items to Bring to Your Interview

For information, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website.

Health Insurance Requirement

All J-1 exchange students and visiting scholars must demonstrate health insurance coverage for their time at USD.  Please refer to the Health Insurance section of our website for more details about this requirement.

Pre-Arrival Information

Mandatory Immigration Check-In

You are required to visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) in USD’s International Center (Serra Hall, Room 315) within 3 to 7 days of your arrival in the United States to complete the mandatory immigration check-in.  Please refer to the Mandatory Immigration Check-In section of our website for more details about this requirement.

J-1 Undergraduate Exchange Student Orientation

All undergraduate exchange students at USD are required to attend orientation prior to the start of classes.  This orientation will begin with the mandatory immigration check-in, as described above.  To find a complete listing of orientation activities, please refer to the J-1 Undergraduate Exchange Student Orientation Calendar.  Please contact with any questions regarding the orientation.

Additional Resources to Prepare for Life in the United States

For a 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 by visiting this link.

In addition, the International Student and Scholar Handbook is a great resource for your pre-departure planning.  This handbook covers topics such as finding a place to live in San Diego, purchasing or renting a car, opening a bank account, etc.