Information for Visiting International Summer Session Students

Welcome! This page provides comprehensive instructions for visiting international summer session students currently outside of the United States to apply for their visa documents.

For information about the Summer Session application and enrollment requirements view the Summer Session website: 

NOTE: You must apply for Summer Session before requesting your visa documents.

Summer Session I deadline to request documents is May 31.

Summer Session II deadline to request documents is July 1.

Please be sure to submit your request as early as possible to allow yourself ample time for your visa appointment.


Step 1 – Right Away:

Meet English Language Requirements

All undergraduate student currently studying in a university or college outside of the US will have to meet specific English proficiency requirements to attend Summer Session.  The English language requirements are outlined below.

English Requirements:

  • Students with fully international records can demonstrate English proficiency with the following scores. Please note scores are only valid for 2 years:
    • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Achieve a minimum score of 83 on the Internet-based TOEFL
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Achieve a minimum score of 7.0 (academic module)
  • Students with mixed high school records (both English and non-English curriculum) can demonstrate English proficiency with ACT English/writing scores, SAT writing scores, AP English scores, IB English scores, or the TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Students in an English taught curriculum (i.e. IB, A Levels, accredited American school) for 3+ years are not required to take an English proficiency exam, but must show proof of their attendance at an English-speaking institution.
  • Students educated in English-speaking countries are not required to demonstrate English proficiency
    • The countries that are considered English-speaking are; United States, Canada (except the Province of Quebec), Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Liberia, & Commonwealth Caribbean countries.
    • U.S. citizens are not required to demonstrate English proficiency.

Pay the ISPO Visa Administrative Fee

All visiting international summer session students requesting a visa document, must pay the ISPO visa administrative fee. The ISPO visa administrative fee is $475, payment must be made at

Proof of payment is required at the time of submitting the iPortal request. A $3.00 credit card processing fee may apply. Fees subject to change without prior notification. Once the visa administrative fee is submitted, it is non-refundable. If a refund is requested it will reviewed per case.

Request your I-20 or DS-2019

  • Submit the I-20 or DS-2019 request through the iPortal.
  • You will not be able to access the iPortal until at least 48 hours after you have been paid and registered for Summer Session.
  • The iPortal will help you determine what is the appropriate status and visa (see: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification).
  • You will need your UC San Diego Personal ID (PID) and password to access the iPortal.

Required Documents (All documents must be in PDF format)

  • Copy of passport biographical page (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Copy of IELTS (with score of 7 or higher) OR TOEFL (with score of 83 or higher) OR proof of attendance at an English-speaking educational institute (please see the English Requirement section for further information)
  • Confirmation of the ISPO visa administrative fee payment
  • Copy of the Tritonlink Enrollment page (must show enrollment in summer session)

You can check the status of your visa document request by logging into the iPortal at any time. Allow the full 3-week processing time before emailing any inquiries regarding your I-20/DS-2019 or documents you have sent. Incomplete requests will cause a delay in processing.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

After receiving your I-20 (F-1 Students) or DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitors), you must pay the $200 (F-1) or $180 (J-1) SEVIS fee.

Pay via Internet, via Western Union, or by mail. Please Keep the Form I-797 receipt in a safe place.

Review SEVIS Fee Information for details.

Step 2 - Before Arrival on Campus:

Apply for your F-1 or J-1 Visa

Before you can come to the United States as an international student, you MUST obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa. Make sure to thoroughly review the Applying for a Visa page for detailed instructions and tips on how to obtain a visa.

Verify your earliest permitted arrival date into the U.S.

Students in F-1 and J-1 status may only enter the U.S. 30 days prior to the start date on their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. This is NOT the same date as your department, college, or international student orientation. It is typically the first official day of the quarter. You must verify this date on your form before booking any air travel. Attempted entry earlier than 30 days before your I-20 or DS-2019 start date can lead to a denial of entry at a U.S. port of entry.

The only exception to this case is for SEVIS-transfer students (those who have had their  F-1 or J-1 record SEVIS-transferred by their previous U.S. institution to UC San Diego). SEVIS-transfer students may enter earlier than 30 days before the start date on their Form I-20 or DS-2019 document.

J-1 Student Health Requirement

If you are an international student in J-1 status, you are required by federal regulations to maintain adequate health insurance at all times.

Minimum insurance coverage must provide:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per year or accident (may include provision for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25 percent of the covered benefits per accident or illness)
  2. Medical evacuation of the Exchange Visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  3. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  4. Deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  5. May require a waiting period for preexisting conditions (but cannot exclude altogether coverage for preexisting conditions)

Additionally, the insurance corporation underwriting the policy must have one of the following ratings:

  • A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above
  • Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-i” or above
  • Standard & Poor’s Claims paying Ability rating of “A-” or above
  • Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above
  • Coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of my home country
  • McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-“ or above
  • Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above

Step 3 - Upon Arrival in the United States:

Gather your documents for entry into the United States

Review your passport and visa page. Your first name and family/last name should be the same on both documents. If there are any errors, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consular Post immediately.

Place your original passport, financial statement or support letter, and form I-20 or DS-2019 in your purse or carry-on baggage. Present all these documents when entering the USA.

Note: The date of the first day of the Summer Session will be the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You may enter the US up to 30 days PRIOR to the program start date on the I-20 or DS-2019.

Arrive in the United States and Clear Customs

To clear U.S. Customs Port of Entry you must present: original passport, financial statement or support letter, and form I-20 or DS-2019

After clearing customs and arriving in the U.S., print your electronic I-94 Record.

These I-94 printouts may be needed for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, or for 3rd parties, such as the Social Security Administration or Department of Motor Vehicles, which require a Form I-94 for granting benefits.

We recommend students schedule 2-3 hours between connecting flights, or when crossing a land border, for SEVIS status verification processing at U.S. Ports of Entry.

Arrange your transportation to the campus

Check our Arrival in the USA page to learn how to get to UC San Diego after your arrival at Los Angeles or San Diego airport.

Transportation Upon Arriving in the USA: U.S. Airline and Airport Guidelines (U.S. Transportation Security Administration)

We recommend students schedule 2-3 hours between connecting flights, or when crossing a land border, for SEVIS status verification processing at U.S. Ports of Entry.

Attend International Student Summer Session Orientation

All visiting international summer session students (currently outside of the US) are encouraged to attend the International Student and Programs Office Summer Session Orientation. The Summer Session Orientation will cover important information about maintaining your visa status while being a student here at UC San Diego.

Summer Session One orientation will be held on Tuesday July 2, 2019, from 8am-9am in the International Students and Programs Student Center B, Large Conference Room.

Summer Session Two orientation will be held on Tuesday August 6, 2019, from 8am-9am in the International Students and Programs Student Center B, Large Conference Room.

Maintain your visa status

Visiting international students on either F-1 or J-1 status will have to be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units each Summer Session to maintain their visa status.