New J-1 Exchange Visitors

If you are not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident and are interested in employment at UC Santa Cruz, consider the following information carefully so as not to jeopardize your status in the U.S.

Affiliation with UC Santa Cruz

The first step in the process to obtain J-1 status is to establish your relationship with a department in the University. Only upon request from the Human Resources or Academic Affairs Administrator in a University department will a Form DS-2019 for purposes of obtaining a J-1 visa be issued by our office. You will require this form to obtain a J-1 visa from the U.S. consulate or embassy nearest you. Once you have received your visa, you will be able to make your travel arrangements to come to Santa Cruz.

J-1 versus H-1B

In cases where someone could qualify for both J-1 and H-1B status, the University will sponsor J-1 status, unless significant circumstances mitigate against J-1. For further information, please consult with your department in the University or contact our office at


  • Do not come in B-1/B-2 status or under the Visa Waiver Program, unless specifically instructed to do so by our office!
  • Do not schedule your visa appointment before you have received the Form DS-2019 from us!
  • Do not make your travel arrangements before you have the visa in hand!
  • Do not assume that lack of compliance upfront can be fixed later!
  • Click here for more information on who may come to UC Santa Cruz in tourist status. 

Not yet in the U.S.

You must not enter the U.S. as a visitor or tourist, regardless of what a consulate or embassy may tell you. If in doubt, double-check with IFSS. This involves both government regulations and University policy. An error will very likely mean that you have to depart from the U.S. Everyone who plans to be affiliated with UC Santa Cruz (under an appointment or agreement) requires the appropriate status and visa. If you attempt to enter the U.S. without proper documentation, you may be turned away at the airport and forced to return to your home country at your own expense. The processing of your status may take considerable time (possibly months), so plan ahead and contact us well in advance.

Already in the U.S.

Your status must be transferred to UC Santa Cruz. This can take considerable time, depending on status. You must not discontinue your existing J-1 employment until our office has cleared you to do so. Otherwise, you may have to leave the U.S. and will only be allowed to re-enter when your documents have been approved by the appropriate government agency. Do not make spur-of-the-moment decisions in regard to your status, as it is usually not possible to resolve immigration matters after the fact.

Important Points:

  1. Do not seek visa or status-related advice from anyone other than IFSS.
  2. Anyone coming to UC Santa Cruz under an appointment or an agreement must obtain the appropriate status and visa.

Case Processing Times

Processing times outlined below begin the day IFSS receives a complete request. Processing times may vary and are subject to change. All requests can be submitted up to 6 months in advance of the intended start date.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Requests

  • 7 business days for new/initial requests and extensions/updates
Last modified: Dec 07, 2023