The DS-2019 is the “certificate of eligibility” for J-1 status. All Exchange Visitors must have this document to receive a J-1 visa. J-1 degree-seeking students receive the DS-2019 from the Office of Admissions with their admission letter or shortly thereafter. J-1 Non-Degree Students are issued DS-2019s by the Office of International Services at the sponsoring academic department’s request.

Change of Status Note:  OIS does not process or support a change of status applications. If an applicant is already in the U.S. on another non-immigrant status other than J-1, they must exit the U.S., visit the U.S. Embassy, obtain a J-1 visa, and re-enter the U.S. on a J-1 status.

OIS Processing Time:
Individual applications10 business days (incomplete applications with missing items can take up to 1 month)

Initial applications: OIS requires Departments to select a start date two months from the date the application is submitted to OIS. This allows for adequate processing time with OIS (2-3 weeks), obtaining an appointment at the U.S. Embassy (3-4 weeks), receiving the J-1 visa (1 week), and travel to Los Angeles.

DS-2019 Maximum Duration Allotted: The maximum duration allotted for a non-degree student is DS-2019 is 2 years.

 J-1 Category Criteria: Non-Degree Students

  • Objective: Must be enrolled in a full-time course of study in a non-degree academic program with a specific educational objective. Full-time enrollment is required for the fall and spring terms (Undergraduate 12 units, Master 8 units, Doctorate 6 units).
  • Educational Requirement: All degree levels
  • Program Duration: 3 weeks to 2 years
  • Funding Requirement: Over 51% of funding must come from sources other than personal funding (51% rule waived for direct exchange students with an MOU from a foreign university)
  • Academic Training: Non-Degree Students may be given Academic Training for a period no longer than the time spent in the academic program. The periods of academic program and Academic Training may not exceed the 24-month maximum.
  • J-1 Bars: Not subject to 24-Month Bar
  • No Interns: USC does not offer the J-1 Intern Category

Application Requirements (Initial) 

  1. Internal Requisition for $250 (Initial requests) submitted via Workday
    • The ISP Name for OIS is ISP-SP-059 – Office of International Services
    • Business Purpose section of the system should identify Campus, Request Description: Name of Exchange Visitor, ISD-XXXXXX (i.e. UPC, Initial DS-2019 Request: Tommy Trojan, ISD-XXXXXX)
    • Each application must have its own ISD number, unless it is a Group application
  2. DS-2019 Request Form for Non-Degree Students
  3. Copy of Passport for Exchange Visitor & dependents
  4. Copy of the USC Invitation letter
  5. Proof of Funding for Exchange Visitor & dependents
  6. Copy of the signed invitation letter on USC letterhead
    • J-1 Category title, & description (enrolled full-time study x)
    • Start & end date
    • USC Site of Activity address (where exchange visitor reports for the duration of their program)
    • Value of tuition & fees: If the applicant will receive USC Funding or a MOU. Upload copy of signed MOU
    • Indicate Host faculty’s (Academic Advisor) name & email
    • Signed by Admissions or Department Chair/ Center Director
    • Note: If the offer letter does not indicate the information listed above, please include a secondary letter

Note: Workday Financial Management is the best resource for specific guidance on the new IR protocols. There’s helpful information on the Internal Requisitions Overview webpageas well as Workday support options here

Application Submission

  • The Department Facilitator submits a typed Application to OIS
  • Email all documents in a single email attachment to
  • Please ensure that all required documents are submitted at the time of application. Incomplete application packets will not be processed.
  • Subject Line of email should identify Campus, Request Description: Name of Exchange Visitor, ISD-XXXXXX (i.e. UPC, Initial DS-2019 Request: Tommy Trojan, ISD-XXXXXX.
  • The Department Facilitator indicated on the application will be notified regarding missing application items and when the DS-2019 is emailed to the applicant. Processing time is 10 business days but may take longer for incomplete applications.

DS-2019 Issuance

  • The Exchange Visitor (EV) will be emailed a digitally signed DS-2019, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility”. Please note that EVs are not permitted to digitally sign the DS-2019. OIS will include a handout called “Information for J-1 Students/Scholars” with the DS-2019. Exchange Visitors are encouraged to review the J-1 Pre-Departure webpages.
  • The Exchange Visitor can reference the SEVIS ID number on the DS-2019 to schedule a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy. The SEVIS ID number is located on the top right corner of the DS-2019 (starts with N00…).