F-1/J-1 Guidelines


Keep your passport valid at least 6 months into the future. Contact your country of citizenship's consulate in the U.S. if you need to renew your passport. Many countries have consulates located nearby in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Local Address

Keep your local address updated. Enter your local address in MyUCSC and mark it as a residential address so ISSS can receive the information.


You must maintain full-time enrollment each quarter. Please visit the Enrollment Changes page for information on how many units you are required to take each term.

  • Filing Fee

    If you are on filing fee your I-20/DS-2019 will be shortened to the last term you were enrolled.  As an F1/J1 student you are required to be enrolled or on OPT/AT in order to be maintaining status if you are not enrolled.


If you need to withdraw from UCSC or drop below full-time units, you must have permission from ISSS before doing so. Please visit the Enrollment Changes page for how to request part-time status or a withdrawal.

I-20 or DS-2019

You must have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 from the school you are attending. The only exception is for sponsored J-1 students. If you are transferring from another school to UCSC, the transfer process must be started before you begin at UCSC. Please visit the Transfer to UCSC page if you have questions about the transfer process.

Keeping I-20 or DS-2019 valid

Please visit the Extend or Complete Program page if you need to request an extension. Your I-20 or DS-2019 end date can be found on page one of your documents. You must also request a new I-20 or DS-2019 if you are changing degree levels, e.g. changing from a PhD to a Masters.

Travel signature

Before you leave the U.S., make sure you have received a travel signature from an advisor. If you are an F-1 student, your travel signature is on the 2nd page of your I-20 and is valid for one year, or 6 months if on OPT. If you are a J-1 student, the signature is in the bottom-right corner of your DS-2019 and valid for one year or until the end date of your DS-2019, whichever is first.

Grace periods

The grace period ends when you depart the U.S., or no later than 60 days after the end date on your I-20 or EAD, whichever comes first (F-1 students), or no later than 30 days after the end date on your DS-2019 (J-1 students). For more information visit the Extend or Complete Program page.


Get proper employment permission. Visit the Employment section for detailed information on what approvals are necessary before beginning to work in the U.S.