Apply for your visa

After You Apply Visa Steps image

Steps to Visa Application Success

  • Contact the US embassy or consulate to learn about visa application procedures.
  • Apply for your visa as soon as possible after receipt of your certificate of eligibility (DS-2019 or I-20).
  • Be prepared to demonstrate that you plan to remain in the US for a specific, limited time and that you have strong social and economic ties in your home country. For more tips, click here.
  • Make travel plans that allow time for processing of your visa application. 
  • Arrive in the US no more than 30 days prior to the start date on your DS-2019.
  • Do not enter the US under a tourist visa.

Your program will determine your visa type.

Undergraduate and Graduate Students

After submission of documentation of financial support, follow instructions from your host UC to request the DS-2019 for the J-1 visiting student visa.

J-1 students are eligible for a period of Academic Training (AT) after their study abroad. Learn more.

Visiting Scholars

After submission of documentation of financial support, follow instructions from your host UC to request a DS-2019 for the J-1 short-term visiting scholar or visiting student researcher visa.  

Summer Programs

When you complete the summer application, submit your request for an I-20 for the F-1 Student visa. Be prepared to provide documentation of your finances at the time of application. For more information, click here.


Item Cost

Visa Application (projected increase May 2023)

$185 + any applicable reciprocity fees





Interview, travel and personal expenses

Travel to a consular office for your in-person visa interview will vary depending on your location.

US Citizens

Individuals born in the US are US citizens and must use a US passport while participating in the exchange program. US citizens do not need a DS-2019 or a visa.

Permanent US Residents

Permanent residents (Green Card holders) do not need a visa to enter the US. Confirm requirements for maintaining US permanent residence.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa to enter the US but must pay the SEVIS fee and have a Canadian passport and a DS-2019 or I-20. Contact the US embassy or consulate for more information if you have “landed immigrant” status.


Certificate of eligibility (DS-2019): Document issued by the host UC campus. Must be presented with a valid passport to request a US visa.

Visa: Stamp which specifies the terms under which you may enter the US. Must be obtained from the US embassy or consulate before leaving your home country. The visa is for entry only. Once you are in the US, you are allowed to stay until the end date of your program as listed on your DS-2019 even if your visa has expired.

Visa status: Status assigned by a US immigration officer upon entry into the US. A status carries with it certain conditions that you must follow to remain in the US legally. Examples of status types are tourist, F-1 student, and J-1 exchange visitor.

Passport: Required to obtain a visa and enter the US. When applying for your visa, your passport must have a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US.

Program start and end dates: Dates printed on your certificate of eligibility (DS-2019). These dates do not always correspond to the first and last days of instruction at your host UC campus.

SEVIS: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a US government system for collecting information about international students.