Congratulations on being admitted to UC Davis. The Staff at SISS look forward to working with you. The information below, as well as our New Student Handbook, should address many of your questions about preparing to come to Davis including how to obtain your student visa.
Most international students need either an I-20 Form or DS-2019 Form to apply for a student visa. You must be first admitted to UC Davis, and indicate that you plan to attend the University before SISS can prepare your I-20 or DS-2019 form. You will need to decide whether to apply for a F-1 or J-1 visa.
The Student Visa : F-1 or J-1?
Most students coming to UC Davis use the F-1 visa. This is the most common visa for international students studying in the United States. The J-1 visa is also known as an Exchange Visitor visa.
Students in an educational exchange program, such as UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), JD Exchange, Vietnam Education Foundation, should use the J-1 visa. To be eligible for a J-1 visa a majority of the student's financial support must come from sources other than personal funds. Sometimes government funded students are required by that government to use the J-1 visa.
|Must have majority of financial support from non-personal sources||Any type of financial support is acceptable|
|All employment, both on-campus and off-campus requires work authorization from SISS||Limited on-campus employment does not require work authorization. All off-campus employment requires authorization from SISS or USCIS.|
|Academic Training, (AT) a type of employment, is available for up to 18 months for undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students. Those that complete a PhD are eligible for an additional 18 months of AT. Non-degree students (i.e. EAP) may be eligible for maximum 12 months or duration of program, whichever is shorter
(i.e. 3 months of program of study = 3 months of Academic Training). You must have a job offer to apply for AT.
|Optional Practical Training (OPT) after program completion is available for 12 months, with a 17 month extension possible for STEM majors. A job offer is not required, but there is a limit to the amount of time that a student can remain unemployed.|
|J-2 dependents may work after obtaining work authorization, and may attend school full-time or part-time.||F-2 dependents are not allowed to work. An F-2 spouse may not engage in full-time study, and F-2 children may only attend kindergarten through twelfth grade full-time. Study that is avocational or recreational is allowed.|
|J-1 and J-2 dependents may be subject to the 2-Year Foreign Residence Requirement.||There is no 2-Year Foreign Residence Requirement.|
The U.S. Department of State– Bureau of Consular Affairs has a number of helpful web sites:
Requesting the I-20 or DS-2019 Form from SISS
An I-20 or DS-2019 form is required to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa. Students who have been offered admission should submit a request for the I-20 or DS-2019 form. The appropriate I-20/DS-2019 Request Form can be downloaded at the Student Forms page.SISS begins processing new Fall quarter requests for I-20s or DS-2019s in March.
If you are a new student beginning in Fall quarter, SISS must receive all of the required documentation along with your I-20/DS-2019 Request Form. You may want to send your documents by way of express mail to assure a timely delivery. Please submit all documents together.
We understand that you are anxious about receiving your I-20 or DS-2019 for your visa interview. It will take our office approximately 14 business days to create your I-20/DS-2019 from the day that we have received all of your documents. We will not begin processing until all of your documents have been received. Please make sure that you submit your Statement Intent to Register (SIR). Graduate students do this through the electronic admission letter system, while undergraduates do this through the MyAdmissions web site. We will not be able to begin processing your document until this has been submitted to the University.
Please allow sufficient processing time before contacting our office. If you need to contact the office, it is strongly advised that you email SISS (email@example.com) and your international student advisor.
Transfer Students and Students Coming from Other Institutions
If you are coming to UC Davis from another U.S. university or high school, SISS will only be able to issue your DS-2019 or I-20 form after you have contacted your previous institution and requested a trasfer of your SEVIS record to our office. Please remember that you cannot begin your program at UC Davis unless you have a UC Davis DS-2019 or I-20. This information is on the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form that can be downloaded at the Student Forms page.
Applying for Your U.S. Visa
The only place to obtain a U.S. visa is at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Follow the instructions on the web site for the US Embassy or Consulate at which you will be applying. Additional information on visas can be found on the U.S. Department of State web site. There you will find specific information for both the F-1 and J-1 student/exchange visitor visas.