Human Resources can help you process the correct visa application after you have an approved appointment. If you are traveling to collaborate with a UCSD faculty member, you should travel under the J-1 classification. Visit this link for a summary of the costs involved.

If you plan to travel for the purpose of consultation, conferences, invited presentations, or independent research, for less than 90 days, you may be eligible to apply for an ESTA visa waiver. If your home country participates in this program, it is important that you obtain a WB (waiver business) stamp at US Immigration. As a reminder, if you will be here in collaboration with a faculty, you should be traveling under J-1 classification.

Regardless of visa status, international visitors to UCSD are asked to check in with the International Faculty & Scholars Office on campus. Please review the information on the UCSD International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) website if you are considering traveling to UCSD.


Designed for individuals visiting for six months or less. Employees in this status can be paid and are not subject to any "home rules" or "bars" applicable to full Research Scholar J-1 holders.

The J-1 status is commonly utilized by Postdocs and occasionally by Professional Researchers. Ladder Rank Faculty Members are ineligible for J-1 status.


DS-2019 Application Process

Processing Time:

  • Obtaining a DS-2019 from the International Center requires 15 business days from the date of submission, provided all accompanying documents and fees are paid.
  • Note: Processing will not occur outside of 45 days from the requested start date of the appointment.


  • There is a re-charge fee of $657 for J-1 processing.


Application Components:

  • Departmental Request Form (requires PI and Chair signature)
  • Applicant Forms
  • Applicant Accompanying Forms

Duration and Cancellation:

  • DS-2019 can be requested for up to five years, but for Postdocs, it is only for the length of their contract.
  • The application can be canceled at any time.



    The H-1B visa is typically utilized for the Professor series and the Professional Researcher series. Postdoc H-1B requests are granted only in exceptional circumstances.


    H-1B Visa Application Process

    Processing Time:

    • Initial request processing time without premium processing: SIX MONTHS
    • With premium processing: FOUR MONTHS (additional cost of $3,126, paid by department)
    • Premium processing fee: $876


    • International Center re-charge for H-1B visas: $3,126 (paid by department)
    • Other fees to Dept. of Homeland Security:
      • $460 I-129 Petition Processing Fee
      • $500 Fraud Detection & Protection Fee
      • *Premium (rush fee): $2,805
    • Application Requirements:
    • Requires detailed immigration information from the candidate.
    • Assembled by the department, including:
      • Departmental request signed by PI and Chair
      • Chair Letter
      • Job Offer letter signed for acceptance
      • Checks (pay authorizations)
      • Campus recharge form signed by the appropriate authority
    • An index number is needed for processing.

    Duration and Cancellation:

    • It can be requested for three years at a time, up to six years in total.
    • Can be cancelled at any time.
    • If termination is initiated by the University, the employer is obligated to pay for return airfare to the employee's home country.
    • Employees in this status MUST be employed 100%.


    The International Center will ONLY consider processing cases for ranks ABOVE POSTDOC. This includes Professional Researchers and Faculty.

    Processing Procedure:

    • Permanent Residence applications should be facilitated through the University specifically for Faculty.

    Case Handling:

    • All cases for the entire university are processed by one part-time counseling attorney.
    • Employment should be intended to be permanent.



    TN Visa

    • For Canadian and Mexican Citizens.
    • Processed by the employee upon entry into the US.
    • Not sponsored by UCSD.
    • Enables the scholar to work at UCSD.
    • UCSD's involvement is limited to providing an employment offer letter.

    F-1 OPT

    • Status for postgraduate students continuing their studies in a "training position" (e.g., postdoc appointment).
    • Facilitated by the degree-granting institution.
    • Typically granted for one year, with possible extensions.
    • After expiration, employees must transition to a different status, typically J-1.

    B-1 (Visitor for Business) / B-2 (Visitor for Tourism) / WB (Waiver for Business)

    • For visitors staying a maximum of 90 days.
    • Not intended for paid positions, but some forms of payment are allowed (e.g., per diem, travel expenses, honorarium).
    • Facilitated between the visitor, consulate, and/or entry officer.
    • Can be obtained with an offer letter from UCSD.