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Frequently Asked Questions

Visa regulations allow you to arrive no more than 30 days prior to the start of the academic program (date printed on your certificate of eligibility DS-2019). Consider the program start date and orientation date when buying tickets and planning your arrival. For academic term dates, see the UC academic calendar.

You will pass through US immigration at the port of entry (the first place you arrive in the US). If the port of entry is not your final destination, allow sufficient time before your connecting flight for verification of your immigration documents and customs inspection.

Possible, but not recommended. If you come to the US on a tourist visa prior to your UCEAP studies, you will need to exit the country and re-enter under the J-1 status. You may need to return to your home country to apply for the student visa.

Plan travel within the US after your UCEAP studies during the post-study 30-day “grace period” or during holiday breaks.

The timeline for processing your visa application will vary depending on local conditions. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate for information and instructions.

No. You must enter the US using the visa document issued by the institution you will be attending.

If you plan to participate in a summer study or English language program:

  1. Contact UCEAP as soon as possible. We will connect you with the international student advisor. Transfers will only be possible if both your host UC and summer session or language program institution are sponsoring your visit with the same visa type.
  2. Upon arrival at your summer session or language program, inform the international student advisor that you will need to transfer your visa document sponsorship to UC. The international student advisor will assist you with the transfer.

No. The organization that sponsors your summer work-study will issue you a DS-2019 visa document (for the J-1 visa). You must enter the US using the visa document issued by the sponsoring organization.

If you come to the US prior to UCEAP study on a work-study visa, you will need to exit the country after your work experience and re-enter the US under the J-1 non-degree student status. You may need to return to your home country to apply for the student visa.

Plan to participate in an academic training (internship) after your UCEAP studies.

  1. Attend campus check-in and orientation at your host UC.
  2. Enroll full-time each term of your participation in UCEAP.
  3. Report your California address and any change of address in the student information system at your host UC.

Full-time enrollment is strictly enforced. A reduced load must be approved by an international student adviser in accordance with immigration guidelines. See an advisor before falling below full-time.

Full-time enrollment:

  • Undergraduates: minimum of 12 units or 13 units at most UC Berkeley colleges.
  • Graduates: minimum number of units required by their host UC and department, usually 8-12 units.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the system that US immigration services and the Department of State (DOS) uses to track the status and dependents of international students and scholars. There are two main components in SEVIS: (1) visa document production (generation of the DS-2019 form); and (2) reporting events (any updates to your personal or program information).

  • The information on the DS-2019.
  • These events are reported to SEVIS:
    • Registration of each term
    • Full-time enrollment
    • Residential address and any changes. Report changes within 10 days.
    • Changes of major
    • Leaves or reasons for interrupting the program of study. Consult an advisor in advance.
    • Completion of program
    • Dependent information (if applicable)
    • Employment Authorization (on-campus and off-campus)
  • Thirty (30) days after the end date of the DS-2019 or completion of program, whichever comes earlier. You may not exit and re-enter the US in J-1 status during this 30-day “grace period."
  • If you officially withdraw prior to the end of your program, you must leave the country immediately. Your DS-2019 will be “ended” for inability to complete the program and your DS-2019 will be inactive. Contact the international student advisor to determine the official withdrawal date and to coordinate your planned departure.
  • If you do not officially withdraw from the program but stop attending UC, you must depart immediately. Your DS-2019 will be terminated. This may have negative implications on future visa applications.

Yes. Before you leave the US, obtain a re-entry signature on your DS-2019 from your international student advisor. Make an appointment well in advance of your planned travel. You will also need a valid US visa for re-entry.

Contact the advisor in the office of international students and scholars at your host UC campus.