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Bold Hearts. Brilliant Minds.

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Visa & Entry Requirements


You are welcome at UCR!

We look forward to having you join our UCR family. As an international student, you will need a valid passport, nonimmigrant visa (F-1 or J-1) and the appropriate documentation to study at an accredited university in the United States.


F-1 Visa

The F-1 Visa is the most common visa status for international students who plan to study full time in the U.S. The F-1 Visa is required upon entry.

J-1 Visa

J-1 Visa is used for exchange visitors (short-term scholars, research scholars, professors and physicians) engaged in research and/or teaching.

  • Form I-20
    Get Started
    • Check your inbox for an email from UCR regarding your I-20.
    • Submit the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by May 1.
    Gather the necessary documents:
    • Proof of financial support
    • Valid passport
    • Official transcripts and test scores
    • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Transfer Form (if applicable)
  • F-1 Visa
    Complete the following to apply for a F-1 Visa:
    • Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee.
    • Gather the necessary documents: Form I-20 or DS-2019, SEVIS I-901 Fee receipt, UCR Admission Letter and proof of financial support.
    • Receive a visa, but keep the envelope sealed until you arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry.

    Dependents (if applicable) need to apply for F-2 Visas. Undergraduate Admissions can assist with this process.

  • U.S. Entry

    Once a visa is received, you may enter the U.S. within the 30-day period before the program start date. This date is noted on the initial attendance Form I-20 (for the F-1 Visa) or DS-2019 (for the J-1 Visa). Entry will be denied if you arrive early.

    Students with a “transfer pending” Form I-20 document may return to the U.S. at any time after a short visit home, as long as page 3 of the Form I-20 is endorsed for travel.

  • Required Documentation for U.S. Entry

    We recommend that you apply for a F-1 visa as soon as possible. Processing can take up to three months.

    The following is required:
    • Valid passport
    • Valid Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Visa
    • Valid Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 for F-1 students)
    • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 Fee payment
    • I-94 Form/Card (received upon entry to the U.S.)

Calendar Checklist


March 1 Housing contracts become available
May 1 Deadline to submit your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR)
May 10 Deadline to submit housing contract and first payment
July 1

Submit all necessary documents:

  • Proof of financial support
  • Copy of identification pages of valid passport
  • Required official transcripts/test scores
  • SEVIS Transfer Form (if applicable)
September Attend the mandatory Orientation NOTE: UCR campus housing will not be available for incoming international students until one week prior to the mandatory International Student Orientation. Other arrangements will need to be made if you plan to arrive early.


International Student Resources

Once you are admitted to UCR, the International Students and Scholars (ISS) Office will provide information on the following:

  • International Student Orientation
  • Visa matters including the Form I-20
  • U.S. entry
  • Transferring F-1/J-1 Status from another U.S. school
  • Employment options
  • Academic information
  • Course registration
  • Health matters
  • Housing
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Student organizations
  • Cultural adjustment
  • International friendships
  • Classroom culture
  • Money matters
  • Taxes
  • Support services
  • Cultural and educational programs

Mandatory International Student Orientation

International students are required to attend the mandatory International Student Orientation in September. Receive a warm welcome, connect with faculty, staff, and students, and learn more about the campus environment. Orientation information will be sent via your R’Mail account. Topics include:

  • University services and resources, which will support your educational and personal goals (i.e., academic/student services departments, libraries, and information technology)
  • Initial academic advising, course selection, and registration
  • Social events, which minimize anxiety and promote friendship/networking opportunities
  • An introduction to visa regulations
  • Public safety and health information
  • Shopping for necessary supplies

UCR campus housing will not be available for incoming international students until one week prior to the mandatory International Student Orientation. Other arrangements will need to be made if you plan to arrive early.



International admissions counselors and current students are here to provide answers and guidance.

Get Help