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International Student and Scholar Support

Exchange Visitor Process

This section will guide visiting scholars and their supervisors through the required HR and immigration processes.

Process for Arrival

The order of this process is very important. No immigration work can be done without first obtaining an official offer letter.


Immigration document processing cannot begin without the receipt of a signed offer letter from the academic unit in consultation with the HR Office of International Services. Units should contact HR-OIS 6 months before the intended arrival of the Exchange Visitor.

After signing the offer letter, submit the Exchange Visitor Questionnaire & Attestation form online. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of funding, English language proficiency, and medical/evacuation/repatriation insurance.

  • Proof of funding: You must provide USC evidence of adequate financial support for your stay in the U.S. Certification may come from a scholarship or fellowship, personal savings, a salary from USC, other verified funding, or a combination thereof. If you will be paid by USC, the salary will count towards the total certification amount.
  • English language proficiency: The Department of State mandates English language proficiency for all Exchange Visitors. To help ensure the safety and success of USC Exchange Visitors, ISSS must receive one of three options to meet the English-language requirement.
  • Insurance: The Department of State requires all J-1 exchange visitors and their accompanying (or following to join) J-2 dependents to have and maintain medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance for the entire duration of their DS-2019. An Exchange Visitor or accompanying dependent who willfully fails to maintain the minimum level of insurance coverage established by the Department of State will be in violation of these regulations and will be subject to termination from the Exchange Visitor program.

The supervisor submits the USC Exchange Visitor Program Supervisor Agreement form.

Academic unit sends $100 SEVIS Maintenance Fee to ISSS.

Only scholars in the "Student Intern" category are required complete Form DS-7002 with ISSS and their faculty supervisor. Scholars complete Sections 1 & 3, supervisors complete Section 4, including Phase Information.

After all documents and forms are collected, Form DS-2019 can be issued. ISSS will email the document, which is used to obtain the J-1 visa. Once a scholar has receipt of the SEVIS number, a visa interview appointment can be scheduled with the U.S. consulate.

Check the Department of State for visa appointment wait times.

Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee then prepare and submit form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa/NIV application), to schedule the J-1 visa interview. You will use the information on the DS-2019 for this.

I-901 FAQsDS-160 FAQs

Make an appointment with ISSS for check-in and orientation. Bring your local contact information as well as immigration documents for SEVIS verification. Make an appointment with HR-OIS for employment/affiliate check-in to set up payroll, USC ID and email, and more.

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