The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is here to support the needs of all international scholars at UCSB. We are excited to welcome you to the UCSB community!

This online handbook is designed to provide you with the information you need to have a successful experience with us. It includes information regarding immigration requirements for those sponsored by UCSB in the J-1 status as well as their J-2 family members. It also includes information about services and cultural resources that are available on campus and in the local community. We hope the information contained in this handbook will prove useful by easing the transition to living in the U.S. for you and your family.


Contact Information

Location and Mailing Address

Office of International Students and Scholars

3130 Student Resource Building

Santa Barbara, CA 93106


Email: j1scholar@sa.ucsb.edu

Phone: +1 805-893-2929 


Office Hours

Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Click the phrase in blue to expand or collapse that section

U.S. immigration requirements are complex. The goal of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is to assist you by providing general information and detailed, case-specific advising services. We encourage you to contact OISS should you have questions or concerns. Like your academic fields, U.S. immigration law uses jargon which is designed to convey meaning. The following is a list of terms commonly used by OISS; familiarizing yourself with them will make communicating with our office more effective and efficient.


UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) - The University of California, Santa Barbara community refers to the campus as UCSB, or sometimes UC Santa Barbara.

OISS (Office of International Students and Scholars) - This is the main office at UCSB that supports international students and scholars. OISS manages the J1 Exchange Visitor Program.

DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J Nonimmigrant)) - The DS-2019 form is the document that the scholar must present when applying for the J-1 (or J-2 for family members) visa status.

UCSBGlobal - This is a web-based system that OISS uses to manage scholar information for issuing DS-2019 forms and processing J-1 program requests. It is the tool through which scholars maintain communication with OISS by managing their contact information, updating their immigration documents, and submitting immigration status requests.

DOS (Department of State) - This is the U.S. Government agency that runs U.S. embassies and consulates abroad and administers the J1 Exchange Visitor program. It is commonly referred to as the State Department.

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) - This is the U.S. Government Agency that handles immigration. It was formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) - This is the U.S. government agency charged with protecting the borders of the United States and its territories. USCIS is a component of DHS.

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) - This is a web-based application for tracking and reporting international students and exchange visitors in the United States. All institutions that welcome international students, scholars/researchers are required by the U.S. Government to monitor and report electronically about those individuals. Using the SEVIS database, the University of California, Santa Barbara is required to report basic information about international students and scholars.

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), is authorized as a J-1 program sponsor for four scholar categories: short-term scholars, professors, research scholars, and student interns. For more detailed information about these categories, see the Category Overview page

J-1 program participants should adhere to the 30-day Grace Period, which is detailed at the bottom of the Maintaining J-1 Status page. 

To participate in a J-1 program at UCSB, there are several stipulations that must be met; these are detailed on the J-1 Program Eligibility page

DS-2019 - The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is what establishes the Who, What, When, Where, and How of immigration for J-1 Exchange Visitors. It lists the biographical data of the individual, the activities they will be undertaking, the location of that activity, the dates of that activity, the category of exchange and the immigration sponsor which permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States. The DS-2019 form may be issued by UCSB; in that case, OISS is the office that is responsible for the administration of the visitor’s J-1 program. However, sometimes we have J-1 Exchange Visitors who have been sponsored by other J-1 program sponsors, typically because their activities are funded by outside sources that contract with organizations to administer the immigration sponsorship (e.g., Fulbright scholars). In that case, OISS may assist with general information and support, but we are not able to sign DS-2019 forms or to authorize any benefits pursuant to your status because UCSB is not the J-1 program sponsor.

DS-160 - The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form, is the document used to apply for your J1 Visa. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa. You must have your SEVIS number (located on the upper right hand corner of your DS-2019) and other information stated on your DS-2019 to complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form.

VISA - A visa is a foil that is placed in a passport by a U.S. consular official. Visas serve only one purpose – they allow an individual to travel to the United States border to request (re)admission into the U.S. in a particular immigration status. Visas have no bearing on the length or validity of a person’s stay in the U.S. However, a valid visa is required to reenter the U.S. after international travel, with a few exceptions. Citizens of Canada and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements though they still hold immigration status and are subject to the same laws which govern their immigration status. The entry stamp, different from the visa, is what is provided by the officers at the port of entry. The entry stamp indicates your class of admission and the date you entered the U.S.

I-94 - An individual’s immigration status is what controls their ability to stay in the U.S. as well as the types of activities they are permitted to engage in while in the United States. Immigration status is principally controlled by the I-94 card. As of May 2013 US Customs and Border Protection, CBP, is no longer issuing these cards at the Port of Entry. Rather, you receive a stamp in your Passport indicating the status in which you’ve been admitted and for how long you can stay in the US. You can then access your I-94 information on-line at www.cbp.gov/i94. Individuals who are admitted in J-1 status will have I94 information that reads J-1 D/S. D/S stands for Duration of Status. This means that a J-1 is legally present in the U.S. provided they have a valid passport, a valid DS-2019 form, and continue to engage in the activities that are consistent with their immigration status.

PASSPORT - The passport is the document issued by the government of your country of citizenship to establish your identity for purposes of international travel. The important thing to remember is that all individuals in the U.S. in non-immigrant statuses must hold a valid passport at all times. If your passport is expiring, please contact the embassy of your country of citizenship to find out how to renew/extend your passport. The websites of foreign embassies in the U.S. can be found at www.embassy.org.

DS-7002 (T/IPP) - The Trainee/Internship Placement Plan, also known as the Form DS-7002, is required when applying for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate under the Student Intern category. The DS7002 outlines the proposed internship. It demonstrates that the Student Intern and the hosting university department have agreed on the educational research objectives that will be pursued during the internship program. This document also explains how the Student Intern will be supervised throughout the internship. In addition, an evaluation form must be completed prior to the end date of the student intern’s program.

All international scholars are responsible for maintaining a valid visa status. Detailed information about how to do so can be found on the Maintaining Status page

All visiting scholars in J-1 status and their dependents must understand and abide by the federal laws governing their non-immigrant visa status. J-1 Employment information can be found here and J-2 employment information can be found here

Before traveling outside the United States, J-1 Exchange Visitors should be aware of all requirements listed on our International Travel page. 

All J-1 Visiting Scholars must provide proof of and maintain adequate health insurance coverage. The Health Insurance page details these insurance requirements and provides an overview of the U.S. health care system. 

Obtaining a Social Security Number

J-1 Exchange Visitors, employees are eligible for Social Security Numbers because those statuses authorize employment.

To apply for a Social Security Number, please wait at least 10 days from your entry into the United States. Then go to the nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office to apply. In general, you need to have the following original documents and your Social Security application to submit in person.

  1. Passport
  2. U.S. visa
  3. I-94 print out
  4. DS-2019
  5. Letter of employment from department

The address of the Social Security Administration Office closest to UCSB is at: 122 W. Figueroa St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101 1-866-695-6285 https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/


California Driver’s License

The Department of Motor Vehicle Administration (DMV) issues driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and identification cards for the state of California. In order to obtain a driver’s license, you must establish that your presence in the United States is legal, that you reside in the state of California, and other eligibility criteria for the type of identification you are requesting visit the website below for more information:


To begin the process for a driver’s license, identification card, or social security card we recommend that you wait at least 10 days from your entry to the United States to verify your eligibility for benefits through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program.


To find information about Housing, Transportation, and Campus Safety, go to this page.