Advanced Planning

Planning can be stressful but is an important step in preparing for your study abroad.

Scheduling your Travel

Errors in scheduling of travel can be costly. Consider these factors before you make travel commitments.

  • Check the UC calendar to confirm the date of your orientation.
  • Purchase tickets after you receive your DS-2019 for the visa application and confirm your consular appointment.
  • Make travel plans that allow time for processing of your visa.
  • Arrive no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date printed on your DS-2019.
  • Review your UC campus registrar’s office examination schedule before planning holiday travel. You will take the same examinations as UC students.
  • Obtain a reentry authorization signature from the international advisor if you plan to exit and reenter the US during your exchange. You cannot reenter the US if you exit during your 30-day “grace period”.
  • Arrive three to four weeks before the start of the term if you are not able to arrange housing prior to departure for the US. Most university-owned housing opens a few days before the start of the term. If you need temporary accommodations pre-term, budget for this expense. See your Campus Specific Instructions.

Family in Your Home Country

At least one adult family member in your home country is advised to maintain a valid passport. This will allow them to travel to the US to assist you in the event of an emergency.

Family Coming with You

Dependents (spouse and children) who plan to live with you in the US for the duration of your studies must have an appropriate visa and be entered into SEVIS.

Request certificates of eligibility for the J-2 (dependent) visa from your host UC. Be prepared to provide proof of your relationship to your dependents (e.g., marriage and birth certificates), and documentation showing that you have adequate funds to support your dependents and yourself.

Your spouse or children cannot automatically work in J-2 status; a work visa is required. For more information, visit the US Customs and Immigration Service

Parents, other family members, your fiancé(e), or a boy/girlfriend are not considered dependents, and cannot be issued certificates of eligibility by your host UC campus.

Family Checklist

  • Find your own housing in the community. Family or married-student housing facilities are generally not available to students with dependents due to waiting period of a year or longer for placement.
  • Ensure that you will have adequate financial resources.
  • Ensure that your dependents have adequate health insurance coverage that meets the J visa requirements. UC campus health insurance providers offer dependent coverage.
  • Investigate childcare and educational facilities if you plan to bring a child. Not all schools offer after-school childcare.
  • Consider your dependents’ English language proficiency.
  • Arrive early within the 30-day allowable period before the start of the term, so your family has time to transition to their new environment.

Advanced preparation is not only about packing your bags (and we recommend that you pack lightly) but preparing mentally and intellectually for the experience ahead. Preparation can help you adjust more quickly after you arrive.

  • Browse US and local news sources in addition to your host UC newsroom and social media.
  • Take a virtual tour of your host university before you arrive.
  • Continue exploring the pages of your host academic departments.

Meet UC Students

Meet UC students currently attending your home university. They can tell you about life at your UC host campus, local resources, and where to find the best burrito (a popular Mexi-Cali cuisine specialty).

UC students can also be valuable contacts after you arrive in California. Many reciprocal exchange students arrange to share housing or find temporary housing with UC students they meet in their home country.

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