Our staff continues to work remotely at this time. We are preparing to return to working on campus for Fall 2021 and will continue to monitor COVID-19 information and guidance from local, state, and federal sources.

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Getting Your Visa

Getting Your Visa

The International Students and Scholars office helps visiting undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and faculty secure and maintain visas as well as paths to permanent residency.

We will work with you and your academic department to make sure documentation is processed according to regulations set by the United States federal government.

We have outlined some basic immigration information below. We understand that immigration and visa issues can be complicated. We're here to help! 

J-1/F-1 Visa Overview & Comparison

Visa Type F-1 J-1 
Financial Support Requirement Show financial support for the first year of the program when requesting Form I-20 Show financial support for the entire length of the program when requesting DS-2019. 51% or more of your financial support must come from a source other than personal/family funds
Working Approval Requirement May work on campus without prior approval from ISS and are eligible to participate in Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training. Must receive approval from the ISS office for any on campus employment and are eligible for Academic Training
Physical Presence Requirement Students are not subject to a two year physical presence requirement. May be subject to a two year physical presence requirement in their home country before they are able to return to the U.S. on any visa that has immigrant intent.
Dependent-Working in the US F-2 dependents cannot work in the United States J-2 dependents can apply for permission to work in the United States as long as the income is not used to support the J-1 student.
Dependent-Studying in the US F-2 dependents can only study part time at an approved school. Please contact ISS for details. J-2 dependents can study in the United States

 

Visa Related

  • Getting Your Visa

    Please note:

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic embassy/consulate closures and backlog of visa applications, many students are having difficulty getting visa appointments in a timely manner. 

    If you are within 60 days of your program start date, you may be able to request an expedited visa appointment. Please review your local embassy or consulate's procedures and requirements for an expedited visa interview. The ISS office has created a general letter template that confirms in-person instruction and arrival procedures at UCR. You may print this letter and include it with your documents if you wish. 

    ISS Letter - Visas and Arrivals 

    If you are unable to get a visa appointment before the start of the Fall quarter, you may need to defer your admission to Winter quarter or take Fall quarter courses remotely from your home country (if available and permitted by your department and if you are a graduate student, the Graduate Division). Please contact your academic department regarding your options if you cannot arrive for Fall 2021 quarter. 

     

     

    Instructions prior to COVID-19 pandemic: 

    To apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, you should gather the following documents before scheduling an appointment with the US embassy in your home country.
    [Note: Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are not required to obtain a student visa, they are only required to present the Form I-20/DS-2019 at the time of entry.]

    We recommend that you apply for a visa as far in advance as possible since visa issuance can sometimes take up to 3 months (or longer) depending on the required security clearances and country of origin. Please review the information below to assist you with the visa application process. Make sure to visit the Department of State’s website for more information about visa applications and fees: www.travel.state.gov.


    You will be required to present the following documents at the visa interview:

    • UCR Admissions Letter
    • Form I-20 (for F1) or Form DS-2019 (for J1) issued by UCR
    • Proof of financial support
    • Receipt for the SEVIS fee payment
    • Photo
    • Other items may also be requested (such as transcripts or test scores), depending on your embassy and situation. Please contact your embassy for further instructions.
    • Since you are applying for a non-immigrant status, be prepared to show that you have significant ties to your home country and that you plan to return there after completing your studies in the United States.

    If you are preparing to study in a field that the consular officer may consider “sensitive” to the national security of the United States, please plan to apply for a visa well in advance and be prepared for potential delays. Students in fields such as biochemistry, cell & molecular biology and nuclear engineering, for example, are sometimes subject to these security clearances.

    We recommend reviewing the following website for information: http://educationusa.state.gov

  • Change of Status to F-1/J-1

    If you are currently in the US on another visa and plan to change to F1 or J1 status

    Before requesting an I-20 or DS-2019, we highly advise that you speak with an International Student Advisor regarding your plans to change status. There are two ways to change status, by travel and re-entry or by filing a change of status application in the United States. The best option for you depends on a variety of personal factors, and an advisor can help you determine which option may be best for you in your situation.

  • Studying on Other Visa Types

    If you plan to study at UCR on a visa status other than F-1 or J-1:

    Any individual who holds a visa with non-immigrant intent  will be classified as an international student (non-resident) for immigration purposes. This is determined separately from your residency status for tuition purposes.

    Before starting classes, make sure your current visa status allows for full-time study. Some dependent statuses, such as F2, only allow part-time study but not full time.

    Please check-in with our office by completing the International Student Personal Record Form.

I-20/DS-2019 Related

  • F-1 Students – How to Request an I-20

    I-20 requests for new students are processed completely online through the application form.Please do not send any I-20 forms, passport or bank documents to our office via email or regular mail as this may result in a processing delay. AnI-20 will be issued after you are admitted to UCR and have submitted a complete I-20 application form.

    To apply for the I-20, please prepare and submit the following items:

    1Complete the electronic I-20 application form.

    This link has been emailed to the email address on file from your admissions application. It has been prefilled with some of your personal information. Please check this form carefully and complete all required fields, as missing information or errors will cause delays in processing.

    2Upload a copy of the identity page of your passport.

    Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from program start date. If needed, please renew your passport prior to requesting the I-20. We do not require copies of your visa.


    3Upload a recent bank statement or bank letter that shows the minimum funds required
    for your program
    .

    For program amounts and financial requirements, please visit the Estimated Cost of Attendance page.

     

    Once all required documents are received and complete, please allow 5 business days for I-20 processing. You will receive an email when your I-20 is issued.


    [Note: If you are transferring your SEVIS record from another school, we cannot issue your I-20 until the record is transferred to UCR. For more information on the transfer process, please visit the SEVIS Transfer to UCR page.]

  • Current F-1 UCR Students Starting a New Program

    Please apply for your new I-20 by applying for a Change of Education/Degree Level through the ISS office: https://international.ucr.edu/students/campus-info#update_the_information_on_your_i20ds2019_when_it_changes

  • J-1 Students – How to Request a DS-2019
    Education Abroad Reciprocity Students
    All UCEAP reciprocity Exchange students will be issued Form DS-2019.
    1. The central UCEAP office will collect your financial documentation and send it to us for DS-2019 issuance.
    2. Once your DS-2019 is complete we will email you shipping instructions.

     

    Graduate and Undergraduate Students

    Please email internationalstudents@ucr.edu to request information about obtaining a DS-2019 for J status.

     

    To apply for the DS-2019, please prepare the following items:

    1.  A copy of the identity page of your passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from program start date. If needed, please renew your passport prior to requesting the DS-2019. We do not require copies of your visa.
    2. A recent bank statement or bank letter that shows the funds required for the length of your program at UCR. For program amounts and financial requirements, please visit the Estimated Cost of Attendance page.
    3. Once all required documents are received and complete, please allow 5 business days for DS-2019 processing. You will receive an email when your DS-2019 is issued.

    Note: If you are transferring your SEVIS record from another school, we cannot issue your DS-2019 until the record is transferred to UCR. For more information on the transfer process, please visit the SEVIS Transfer to UCR page.

     

  • I-20 Mailing/Pickup Options

    I-20 Mailing/Pickup Options

    “As of March 25th, SEVP has temporarily allowed DSOs to send digital copies of I-20s for the duration of the COVID emergency. DOS and CBP have been advised to accept electronic I-20s for visa appointments and entry to the U.S. Your electronic I-20 form will be emailed to you as soon as the document is issued.

    **Please note that the ISS office is not currently open due to the campus closure. Physical I-20 pickup is unavailable at this time.

     

    I-20 Options for Graduate Students:

    1. Print and sign your electronic I-20 which was emailed to you and use it in accordance with the current guidance.
    2. If you require a physical I-20, please contact your academic department and request that they submit a mailing request for you.

    I-20 Options for Undergraduate Students:

    1. Print and sign your electronic I-20 which was emailed to you and use it in accordance with the current guidance.
    2. If you require a physical I-20, please create an Eship order using the instructions posted online.

SEVIS Related

  • Transferring Your SEVIS Record to UCR

    What is a SEVIS transfer?
    As an F1 student, the school that you are currently attending maintains your SEVIS record.
    When you transfer to a new university, your current school will need to transfer (or “release”) your SEVIS record to the new school in order to issue your I-20. This transfer process must be initiated and scheduled by the International Advisor (DSO) at your current school - it is not automatic. Your SEVIS transfer date should be between your graduation date/end of term at your current school and your term start date at the new school. To transfer, your DSO will need a copy of your admission letter to UC Riverside and the school code, which is LOS214F00177000.


    SEVIS Transfer Process
    Please see the following chart which shows the F-1 SEVIS transfer process in detail.
    J-1 students who are currently in the United States should email
    internationalstudents@ucr.edu
    for information about transferring to UCR.

  • Paying the SEVIS Fee

    What is SEVIS?
    The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an electronic database of international students in the United States. Your I-20 or DS-2019 is generated from this system and is like a “snapshot” of your SEVIS record at that moment. SEVIS is used by Designated School Officials (DSOs) to manage your F1 student record, and it’s also used by other government agencies to check your legal status in the United States.


    Who has to pay the SEVIS fee?
    -If you are a new incoming student with an initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019 form you are required to pay the SEVIS fee before you apply for your visa or before you enter the United States (if a visa is not required).
    -If you are a SEVIS transfer student with a transfer pending I-20 form, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.
    -If you are changing levels from one- degree level to another (ex. Bachelors to Masters) at UCR, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.
    -If you are changing status to F1 or J1, you will be required to pay the SEVIS fee.
    -If you are out-of status and re-entering the United States with an initial attendance I-20 form, you will be required to pay the fee.

    Please visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/paying-the-i-901-sevis-fee for more details.


    How much is the fee?
    For F-1 - $350
    For J-1 - $220
    For F-2 and J-2: None


    When do new/prospective students pay the SEVIS fee?

    • At least 3 days before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa interview
    • Before appearing at the Port of Entry (applies if you do not need a visa because you are a citizen of an exempt country)
    • Before filing a change of status application while in the U.S.


    Where do I pay the SEVIS fee?
    [Please Note: You cannot pay at the Port of Entry.]

    Pay online at www.FMJfee.com: use a credit card and complete Form I-901 (recommended method)

    Certain countries require payment by money order or Western Union

    For more information on payment requirements, please visit

    https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/paying-the-i-901-sevis-fee. 

    If you need assistance with fee payment, please contact the SEVP Response Center 703-603-3400.

    You will need your SEVIS number, which is listed at the top of your document and begins with the letter “N.”

    Once you have paid, please print your confirmation receipt and bring it to your visa interview as proof of payment. If you would like to request corrections to your I-901, would like to go to a different school, or would like to transfer your payment to a new SEVIS record, you must e-mail a detailed request to FMJfee.sevis@ice.dhs.gov.

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