How to Obtain A Visa

J-1 Scholars & J-2 Dependents Applying Abroad

You must have your DS-2019 form(s) in hand in order to apply for your visa. When you receive your DS-2019 form, review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa for location specific information. U.S. consulates and embassies will generally require that you:

  1. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Print the SEVIS receipt and bring a copy to your visa interview. The SEVIS fee must be paid in addition to visa fees. *The fee does not need to be paid for J-2 dependents, nor does the fee need to be paid for visa renewals.
  2. Submit the Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  3. Pay the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee, also known as the MRV fee
  4. Pay the Reciprocity Fee (only if applicable). Only a limited number of countries are required to pay a reciprocity fee. If you are not sure if you must pay this fee, contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that you will be applying for your visa for confirmation.
  5. Make an Appointment to interview for the J-visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The consulate will not schedule an appointment for you. Please review the Department of State website for visa interview tips.
  6. Bring Appropriate Documents to Your Interview, such as DS-2019 form, UCSF Appointment Letter, Financial Certification, Visa Application Confirmation Page, Visa Application Fee Payment Receipt, Passport (valid at least 6-months beyond your program start date). If your passport is valid for a limited time period upon U.S. entry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will limit your duration of legal status to shorter than your DS-2019 program end date.

For an overview of the J-1 visa application process, please see the U.S. Department of State website.

NOTE: Canadian Citizens do not need to apply for a visa. However, Canadians must still present a SEVIS fee receipt and a valid passport, financial certification, UCSF appointment letter and DS-2019 form to CBP.

At the port of entry, your passport and DS-2019 will be date stamped and returned to you. After U.S. arrival, go online to retrieve your Electronic I-94 Form.

Please note that J-1 scholars (and their J-2 dependents) can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the DS-2019 start date. This is strictly for settling in and preparing for your program; you may not begin work until the start date listed on your DS-2019 form.

H-1B Temporary Worker

After receiving H-1B approval notice (I-797 form), an international scholar applying for an H-1B visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will need to present the following:

  1. Passport. Must be valid for at least six months beyond the H-1B approval end date.
  2. Department Letter. This is to support your H-1B visa application. Please see sample letters. This should be dated close to date of travel.
  3. I-797 Form. Original H-1B approval notice (petitioned by UCSF). Embassy/Consular officer must return original to scholar in order to present to Immigration Inspector upon entry to U.S.
  4. I-129 Form. Copy of University’s H-1B petition.
  5. LCA Form. Copy of University’s Labor Condition Application.

**Documents listed below are for UCSF's Human Resources (HR) & Department representatives. International scholars are legally unable to submit these documents on UCSF's behalf.

Scroll down or click here to see our current recharge fees.

Manuals & Forms

International Scholar Dossier (ISD) Manuals

J-1 Documents

J-1 PROCESSING TIME: UCSF faculty, department administrators and international scholars are required to check with their UCSF Human Resource Generalist to identify processing times for initial and extension J-1 requests. J-1 requests must be submitted by HR through ISD.


  1. J-1 Processing Timeline
  2. ISD Frequently Asked Questions for HR
  3. J-1 ISD Attachments for Departments
  4. J-1 ISD Attachments for HR
  5. Visa Comparison Chart: J-1, H-1B and TN


  1. Certification of English Language Proficiency Form  
  2. Sample English Language Certification Letter
  3. Insurance Attestation
  4. J-1 Transfer In Form
  5. J-1 Transfer Out Form
  6. ISSO Program Completion Form (Qualtrics)
  7. UCSF Department to Department Transfer Approval Letter
  8. J-1 Payment/Reimbursement Form
  9. ECFMG Fee Form

H-1B Documents

H-1B PROCESSING TIME: UCSF faculty, department administrators and international scholars are required to check with their UCSF Human Resource Generalist to identify processing times for initial and extension H-1B requests. H-1B requests for academic appointments must be submitted by HR through ISD. For clinical trainees and staff exception requests, please contact Chris Flores.


  1. H-1B Processing Timeline
  2. Postdoc Process Overview 
  3. Academic Process Overview
  4. Postdoc HR Job Aid
  5. Academic HR Job Aid
  6. Department Job Aid for Postdocs
  7. Department Job Aid for Academics
  8. BearBuy Check Request Job Aid
  9. Visa Comparison Chart: J-1, H-1B and TN


  1. H-1B Petition Checklist for HR/Department
  2. DHS Check Request Form
  3. Export Control Attestation
  4. H-1B Support Letter (Research and/or Teaching only)
  5. H-1B Support Letter (Research and/or Teaching with Incidental Patient Care)
  6. Actual Wage Memorandum
  7. Notice of Intent to File
  8. H-1B Addendum
  9. H-1B Petition Checklist for Scholar
  10. Dependent Application Checklist & Waiver of UCSF Liability for Forms I-539 & I-539A
  11. ISSO Completion Form (Qualtrics)
  12. Memorandum of Agreement for Transfer Within UCSF Departments 

TN for Canadians and Mexicans

E-3 for Australians

B-1 Business Visa


Request for Outside Counsel

ISSO Recharge Fees

Effective Date for all requests received from July 1, 2019

Visa Type Rates

J1 Initial: 6 months or less


J1 Initial: 1yr (+6mo, less than 2yrs)


J1 Initial: 2yrs (less than 3yrs)


J1 Initial: 3yrs and up (max 5yrs)


J1 Extension/Amendment: 6 months or less


J1 Extension/Amendment: 1yr (+6mo, less than 2yrs)


J1 Extension/Amendment: 2yrs (less than 3yrs)


J1 Extension/Amendment: 3yrs and up (max 5 yrs)




H1B Initial


H1B Ext, Amendment, Other Changes


E-3 Initial


E-3 Ext.


TN Letter


TN Application


O Outside Counsel


O Internal Ext.


PR Outside Counsel


B-1 Visitors, SOM Clinical Electives


*Recharge fees for J-1 and B-1 visitors can be paid by the principal investigator, scholar or from Department funds.

*Recharge fees for H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1 and PR can only be paid by the principal investigator or paid from Department funds. The recharge fees for these employment-based visas cannot be paid by the scholar.