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- I read on the State Department visa instructions website that I need to fill out a DS-7002 form. Do I need to?
- No, the DS-7002 form is specifically for “interns” and “trainees”. These are terms with very specific meanings to the State Department, and these categories carry rules and regulations that do not apply to visiting scholars (which is what you are). In fact, UC Davis cannot process DS-7002 forms. To avoid confusion, don’t use the words “intern” or “trainee” in any of your communications with us regarding your visa.
Some of you may have agreements that your university would like us to sign, and often these agreements use the words “intern” or “trainee”. This is okay, as long as the agreement is only between UC Davis and your university and will not cross over into the realm of the US State Department.
- When should I book my flight reservation?
- It’s not advisable to make your flight reservation until you have your visa since timelines for getting a visa can change and the embassy/consulate may require more time to process your visa than is normal. Generally speaking, airfare prices tend to be higher the closer you get to your desired travel date, so it might be less expensive to book your flight as far ahead of time as possible. The more time you have for getting your DS-2019 and visa the better!
- What do I do when I get to UC Davis?
- When you arrive at UC Davis, the first thing you should do is rest and take it easy. No doubt you have come a long way and it has been a long trip, so just take some time to relax and begin adjusting to the time change. Then after a day or two, come to my office to fill out some necessary paperwork. It won’t take too long, but it is mandatory. Please bring with you your passport and DS-2019 form. After that, you will need to go to SISS to check in; otherwise you may risk having your visa become invalid (a visa becomes invalid 30 days after the begin date on the DS-2019).
My office is 1162 RMI North. RMI stands for “Robert Mondavi Institute” Click here for a map of RMI. Click here for a map of the full campus and click here for a map showing SISS.
- What if I have my DS-2019 but getting my visa takes longer than I thought, and risk not getting to UC Davis by the begin date on my DS-2019?
- Don’t worry–first of all, you have 30 days from the begin date on your DS-2019 to arrive and check in. However, don’t let it get too close. If it looks like you might not get here within the 30 days, we can simply issue you a new DS-2019 with a later begin date, typically a month after the original end date. However, it can be any date that you think might be best, depending on the nature of the delay and how long you think the delay might be.
There is nothing you need to do for this process. We will email you the new DS-2019 and, if you are two weeks or more away from traveling, we will also fed-x it to you. You don’t have to have the original as long as you still have your first original DS-2019 with the embassy/consulate signatures; just keep the two DS-2019s together for convenience. Any time an immigration official pulls your record up your most recent DS-2019 will appear in their system (with amended dates, if any).
- What are the “categories” of J-1 visas and how do I know which one I should be in?
- There are four categories of J-1 scholar, but most scholars fall into one of two categories: one is “Research Scholar/Professor” and the other is “Short-term Scholar.” They are quite different from each other. The main differences between them have to do with 1) how long you can stay, and 2) when you can return to the US as a J-1 scholar once you are back home after your program ends. Note: you don’t have to be a professor to be in the ” “Research Scholar/Professor”” category, and you can be a professor in the “Short-term Scholar” category.
- How long can a short-term scholar stay?
- A scholar in the “Short-term Scholar” category cannot under any circumstances stay longer than 6 months. A scholar in this category does not have to stay for six months; it’s just that this category prohibits staying longer (in other words, no extensions of time past six months are possible). Scholars come for a variety of time periods within this category: two months, three months, etc. It just depends on what the individual program calls for, and this is determined by you and your PI. When can a short-term scholar return to the US as as a J-1 scholar once they are back home at the end of their program? Any time. Immediately if you want. There are no restrictions on how long you must wait before you return. This is a distinct advantage of this category if you want the flexibility of returning soon.
- How long can a “research Scholar/professor” scholar stay?
- A scholar in this category can stay for up to five years. Typically a “research scholar/professor” will come for one year initially and then, if everyone agrees, they can be extended for one, two, three, up to 4 more years. However, there is an important financial aspect to this: a scholar must show that they have sufficient funding already sitting in an account, or in the form of a guaranteed salary, for the length of time they are signing up for. Visit funding is discussed in more detail below.
- When can a “research scholar/professor” return to the US as a J-1 scholar once they are back home at the end of their program?
- A scholar in this category is subject to the “24-month-bar” and must wait two years before returning as a J-1 scholar. This two years is different from the “two-year residency requirement” that you may have heard about. (This will be discussed below.) This is a disadvantage of this category, but as you can see both categories have pros and cons. Again, it just depends on the structure of your visit, and the goals of your visit, as agreed upon between you and your PI.
Click here for a more comprehensive description of these two categories as well as descriptions of two other categories not mentioned here.
- What is the two-year residency requirement? Is it the same thing as the “24-month bar” that is applied to the J-1 “Professor/Research Scholar” category?
- It is NOT the same thing. Click here for a description of this requirement.
- How much money will I need for my visit, and what documentation do I need to provide for proof of funding?
- You will need a minimum of $2,000 USD per month that you plan to be here, and you will need to show that you have the whole amount for the entire visit. So if you plan to be here for six months, you will need to show that you have $12,000 USD. A partner/spouse needs $600 USD per month, and a child under age 21 needs $300 USD per month.
If you are in a salaried position in your home country and your employer agrees to pay your salary while you are at UC Davis (and the salary is at least $2,000 USD) you may use these funds in lieu of showing that you have all the necessary funds in a bank account. You will need a letter from your employer, on institution or company letterhead, attesting to your salary and giving permission to use it for funding your visit.
Special note on funding sources for undergraduate visiting scholars: if you are an undergraduate, only 50% of your visit funding may come from personal funds (yours, your family’s or anyone’s). The other 50% (or more if you so desire) must come from an institution, company, or other organization. You are not required to use your personal funds for 50% of your funding; it’s just that if you do use personal funding you can use it for no more than 50% of your visit funding. For example, you could have your funding be 20% personal funds and 80% institutional funds; or of course up to 100% institutional funding and 0% personal funding.
- How do I get wi-fi on campus?
- Click here for instructions on connecting to wi-fi on the UC Davis campus.
- I’m starving! Is there anything to eat around here?
- Click here for on-campus restaurants. Click here for restaurants in Davis (these come and go constantly). Another Davis restaurant listing may be found here.
- Do I need to get a social security card?
- Click here for info on getting a social security card.