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Required Documents

Passport

Your passport is by far the most important document that you will have. It is a document issued by the government of your home country that identifies who you are.

Your passport is the property of your home government. They have issued this passport to you with the understanding that it will be used responsibly for identification purposes. Keep this in mind during your stay in the U.S.; no one should ever ask to take your passport. Copies may be made (and hotels often collect passports and photocopy them all at one time), but never surrender your passport to anyone (with the exception of law enforcement).

Your passport must remain valid at least six months into the future while you are in the U.S. If the passport will expire in fewer than six months and you have no plans to leave the U.S., contact your home government's closest consulate to learn how to renew your passport while in the U.S.

Never attempt to enter the U.S. if your passport will expire in less than six months. There is a possible risk of being denied entry to the United States.

Remember, it is the responsibility of all internationals in the U.S. to be aware of their passport expiration dates and to apply for renewals as needed. To contact your home government's consulate or to learn how to renew your passport, please visit your country's foreign consulate office in the U.S.

Certificate of Eligibility: DS‑2019

A DS‑2019 is used to apply for a J Exchange Visitor visa. J‑1 scholars must have a valid DS-2019 at all times during their stay in the United States. DS‑2019 documents eligibility for J status and offers some detail about academic activities.

Section 3 indicates the duration of your program and the length of your J-1 status. The end date does not include the 30-day grace period.

Section 4 indicates the area of research discipline as well as the J-1 category.

Please note that the DS-2019 is not a contract or promise of employment. You or your department may choose to end your J-1 program at any time.

All of the information on the DS-2019 must be accurate at the time of issuance and must remain accurate throughout the duration of your program. Please review your DS-2019 and report any errors or changes immediately to ISO so that an updated DS-2019 can be issued.

DS-2019 form

I-797 Approval Notice

The I-797 Approval Notice is the form used to apply for an "H" Special Worker or "O" Extraordinary Ability visa. It is issued to the employer, approving the employer's petition to hire the worker in either H-1B or O-1 status.

Although it belongs to the employer, the worker can use it as documentation for employment authorization because it contains information about the their employer (UC San Diego) and their position.

The end date on the I-797 Approval Notice should be identical to the end date on the I-94 card. Please make sure that the employer and position information on this document is accurate. Supporting documents that were submitted as part of the H-1B application should also be correct. Any updates should be reported to ISO.

Report in advance any potential job changes to ISO so that the H-1B can be kept up to date.

I-797 Approval Notice

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

The EAD card is issued to F-1 students on their Optional Practical Training period of one year or for their 17-month STEM extension (in addition to other categories, such as the J-2 dependent or the pending lawful permanent resident).

F-1 students applying for a visa stamp during their OPT period will need to show either their EAD card or an I-797 receipt notice indicating that their application for one is pending.  If the EAD card has been issued, they will also need a letter from their employer.

Sample EAD

Form DS-7002 (required for Student Intern DS-2019 category only)

The Form DS-7002 is required only for the Student Intern J-1 category.  If this category is indicated in box 4 of the Form DS-2019, then the Form DS-7002 must be completed and signed by the prospective Student Intern, the intern's supervisor, and a representative from the UC San Diego International Scholar Office, and brought to the visa application interview.

Before Arriving: Apply for a Visa