Information for Newly Admitted International Graduate Students

Welcome! This page provides a comprehensive guide for newly admitted international graduate students.

Now that you have been admitted to UC San Diego, please carefully review all the information on this page to learn the next steps that will help you start your unforgettable student experience at UC San Diego.


Wondering where to start? Complete the steps below.

 

Step 1 - Right Away:

Meet All Admissions Requirements

Refer to the Online Application via Grad Apply. This includes submitting your:

  • Admission decision by clicking "Make a Decision" in Grad Apply
  • Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) (if required)
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended

iPortal: Request Your I-20 (F-1 Students) or DS-2019 (J-1 Students)

International students requiring a non-immigrant F-1 or J-1 visa to study in the USA must request and receive a Form I-20 (F-1 Student) or DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitor) to begin their program of study at UC San Diego. The I-20 or DS-2019 is required to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa

The deadline to apply for your I-20 or DS-2019 is August 1, 2019.

Requesting your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 in iPortal:


  1. LOG INTO iPORTAL.
    You can log into iPortal using your UC San Diego Personal ID (PID). Note, you must wait 24 hours after you’ve submitted your Offer of Acceptance to access iPortal.

  2. SELECT AN iPORTAL SERVICE. 
    • NEW ADMIT: I-20 or DS-2019 Request: Select this service, under the Services Tab, if you will begin your program in the Fall.
    • NEW ADMIT: I-20 or DS-2019 Special Start Program Request: Select this service, under the Services Tab, if you have been admitted into a Special Start Program. 

  3. VIEW OUR GUIDE.
    View our iPortal Guides to help answer your questions about submitting this request and required documents.
  4. COMPLETE YOUR REQUEST.
    The iPortal will help you determine what is the appropriate status and visa for you (see: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification). 

 

How long will it take to receive my document? 


The processing time for your I-20/DS-2019 document is 15 business days from the date of a complete submission; incomplete requests will cause a delay in processing. For students transferring their SEVIS Record to UC San Diego, 15 days will begin from your SEVIS release date. If your application is incomplete or invalid, you will be contacted via email directly after an advisor has thoroughly reviewed your request. You can check the status of your request by logging in to the iPortal at any time. 

 

When can I enter the U.S. with my new document? 


The date of the first day of fall quarter will be the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 unless you have been admitted into a Special Start Program or are deemed eligible to receive a Summer Session Start Date. You may enter the US up to 30 days PRIOR to the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.  Students who have transferred their SEVIS record to UC San Diego may enter any time before their program start date but should ensure they are re-entering the U.S. with their I-20/DS-2019 from UC San Diego in hand.There is no restriction on entering anytime prior to 30 days before your start date if you SEVIS-transferred your record to UC San Diego.”

 

Special Start Programs, Teaching Assistantships, and Graduate Student Research

The date of the first day of the quarter will be the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019 unless you have entered in a Special Start Program listed below or are deemed eligible to receive a Summer Session Start Date. Students who wish to partake in campus activities such as orientation, research, or other events within 30 days PRIOR to the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019 are not required to adjust the program start date on their Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Special Start Programs  

The following special start programs below will receive corresponding start dates:

  • Summer Session Visiting: Summer Session Visiting - Only enrolling in Summer, NOT continuing into Fall Quarter (Start Date Varies)
  • Summer Research/Teaching Assistantship: I will be enrolling in required, full-time Summer Session units for Graduate Research or a Teaching Assistantship before I begin my academic program in the fall quarter. (Start Date Varies)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry: Doctoral Summer Language Program - Chemistry/Biochemistry, PhD (August 26, 2019)
  • Clinical Research Department: Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research (July 1, 2019)
  • Computer Science and Engineering: The Summer Program for Incoming Students (SPIS) (August 5, 2019)
  • Economics Department: Summer Math Camp (August 26, 2019)
  • Global Leadership Institute: GLI Cohort Concurrent Enrollment Program(s) (August 5, 2019)
  • Global Policy & Strategy: Summer Prep Program (August 5, 2019)
  • Global Policy & Strategy: Summer Prep Program + ESL 1 (July 1, 2019)
  • Jacobs School of Engineering: Freshman Summer Engineering Institute (August 5, 2019)
  • Education Studies: Master of Education (MEd)/Credential Program – MS-1-Sum (June 17, 2019)
  • Education Studies: Master of Education (MEd)/Credential Program – MS-2 (August 26, 2019)
  • Physics Department (Including Chemistry and Mathematics Majors): English Bridge Program - Housed within the Physics Department (August 26, 2019)
  • Rady School of Management: Master of Science in Business Analytics, MSBA (August 5, 2019)
  • Rady School of Management: Master of Finance, MFIN (September 23, 2019)
  • Rady School of Management: Master of Business Administration, MBA - Flex Weekend (September 23, 2019)
  • Rady School of Management: Master of Professional Accountancy, MPac (September 23, 2019)
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: MAS Climate Science & Policy (August 5, 2019)
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography: MAS Marine Biodiversity & Conservation (July 1, 2019)

Students Receiving a New Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with a New SEVIS ID Number


Unless you are eligible for a Summer Session Start date on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, you will be issued a fall quarter start date. Students who wish to receive an earlier program start date in the Summer must be enrolled and remain enrolled full-time in the Summer Session AND continuing your enrollment into the Fall Quarter. Graduate Students who wish to partake in Graduate Summer Research or have been offered a Teaching Assistantship in the summer prior to their program starting are also required to be enrolled and remain enrolled full-time in the summer. Full-Time enrollment in the Summer is as follows:

PROGRAM START DATE

UNITS REQUIRED 

July 1, 2019
Summer Session I
Must enroll in a minimum of 6 units in Summer Session I (07/01/19 – 08/03/2019) in addition to a minimum of 6 units in Summer Session II (08/05/19 – 09/07/2019)

August 5, 2019
Summer Session II

Must enroll in a minimum of 6 units in Summer Session II (08/05/19 – 09/07/2019)
Students enrolling in Special Summer Session which varies in dates must enroll in a minimum of 6 units during the entire duration of Special Summer Session.

 

Students Transferring their SEVIS Record to UC San Diego (New Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with the same SEVIS ID Number)

 

Note that if your last date of enrollment or last date of authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT) is within 5 months of the fall quarter start date, you may request to transfer your SEVIS Record to UC San Diego. Doing so will allow you to enroll in summer courses prior to beginning your program in the fall without needing to adjust your program start date.  Even if you decide to take summer courses, your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 will still be issued with a fall quarter program start date unless you have entered in a Special Start Program or are deemed eligible to receive a Summer Session Start Date. When requesting your Form I-20 or Form Ds-2019 in iPortal, the form will determine if you are eligible to receive a Summer Session Start Date.

Transferring your SEVIS Record to UC San Diego

Do you plan on transferring your SEVIS Record to UC San Diego? Please note the information below is ONLY applicable for F-1 students. J-1 Students seeking a SEVIS Transfer should first contact ISPO.

What is it: What does it mean to transfer my SEVIS record?  

 
Many students think the term ‘Transfer’ only applies to the transferring of academic credits or units from one school to another. However, for international students, the terms ‘SEVIS Transfer’, ‘Transferring my SEVIS Record’, or ‘Releasing my SEVIS Record’ can actually mean something different! If you are currently enrolled at another U.S. Institution and hold an active SEVIS record, you may be eligible for a SEVIS Transfer. A SEVIS Transfer occurs when a Designated School Official (DSO) at your current institution electronically sends your SEVIS record (Form I-20) to UC San Diego. Once they electronically release your SEVIS record, UC San Diego can then issue you a Form I-20 with the same SEVIS ID Number with your new program dates and details. A DSO can electronically release your SEVIS record on the same day or schedule a transfer for a future date. The date that the record is released from your current school to UC San Diego is know as your SEVIS Record Release Date. 

Eligibility: How do I know if I am eligible for a SEVIS transfer?


If your last date of enrollment or last date of employment on post-completion OPT is within 5 months of your program start date at UC San Diego, you may be eligible to request a SEVIS Transfer. Eligibility to transfer is dictated by your current school that holds your I-20. Note that SEVIS Transfers are NOT automatic upon Accepting your Offer of Admission from UC San Diego. You must contact your school to request a timely SEVIS Transfer. The deadline for F-1 students to request a transfer is 60 days after the program completion date or OPT end date, whichever is later. 

How does it work: What’s the process of transferring my SEVIS record?  


SEVIS Transfers require coordination between you, the DSO at your current school, and UC San Diego.

TransferProcess.JPG

  1. Schedule a SEVIS Release Date: You’ll need to contact your DSO at your current school and let them know that you wish to transfer your SEVIS record to UC San Diego. Our SEVIS school code is SND214F00088000. Ensure that you obtain written confirmation from your school that your SEVIS record was released successfully in active status. Ensure that your release date is within 5 months of when you wish to begin your full-time program at UC San Diego (usually Fall Quarter, Sept 23, 2019).

  2. Request Form I-20 from UC San Diego in iPortal: Even prior to your SEVIS Release date, you can log into iPortal and request your I-20 from UC San Diego. We will issue your I-20 within 15 business days of your SEVIS release date. If your SEVIS Record is not released to UC San Diego on your indicated SEVIS Release Date, UC San Diego will contact you to let you know! However, it is your responsibility to follow up with your current school to ensure the SEVIS record was released successfully on your SEVIS release date.

  3. Receive UCSD I-20 from UC San Diego & begin program: Once you receive your document from UC San Diego, ensure that the SEVIS ID listed is the same SEVIS ID number listed on your previous school’s I-20. Begin your program at UC San Diego on the program start date listed on your Form I-20.

Reference your NEW ADMIT: I-20 or DS-2019 Request iPortal Guide or NEW ADMIT: I-20 or DS-2019 Special Start Program Request iPortal Guide for more information.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

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

Students transferring their SEVIS record to UC San Diego are NOT required to pay the SEVIS fee again.

  • Pay via Internet, via Western Union, or by mail.
  • Keep the Form I-797 receipt in a safe place.
  • Review the FMJ Fee Page for details.

Effective 6/24/2019 the SEVIS fee will increase. More information at: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html 

Step 2 - Before Arrival in the United States:

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 our 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 are allowed to enter earlier than 30 days before the start date on their Form I-20 or DS-2019. There is no restriction on entering anytime prior to 30 days before your start date if you SEVIS-transferred your record to UC San Diego.

Make Housing Arrangements Before your Arrival

Pay your Tuition and Fees

Take Pre-Arrival Webinars

Pre-Arrival Webinars will be presented by the UC San Diego International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) and will cover the following topics for newly admitted international students: International Center programs and services, review of immigration documentation,arriving in the U.S., housing and health insurance, campus resources, and frequently asked questions.

Please see our Webinars page for information on our pre-arrival webinars.

Complete the Tuberculosis Screening

Tuberculosis screening is a mandatory University admission requirement for ALL newly admitted students. Screening must be performed PRIOR to arrival to University of California, San Diego.

See the Student Health Services website for submission deadlines.

Complete Immunization Requirements

The University of California is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our students. Therefore, all of the UC campuses are implementing procedures to ensure that students are educated about and receive vaccinations to prevent potentially serious and contagious diseases.

All incoming students are REQUIRED to obtain certain vaccines and undergo Tuberculosis testing. Failure to meet these requirements by the states deadlines are subject to registration holds.

Information on these requirements as well as important deadlines for meeting them can be found on the Student Health Services website.

Sign-up for International Student Orientation

Sign-up for Graduate Division Orientation

All UCSD graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend their Graduate Division Orientation Program as well as any required departmental orientations. Your department will contact you about their respective schedules – please be sure to be checking your email closely. 

Graduate Division Orientation

Complete the iTriton - New International Student Online Training

iTriton Online Orientation

All new international students are required to complete ISPO’s iTriton Online Training Program prior to starting classes at UC San Diego. Information for this training program will be posted during Summer 2019.

If you have any questions of concerns regarding this training program, please contact us via our Contact Us eForm.

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: NEW F-1 and J-1 students who are NOT transferring their SEVIS record from another U.S. institution to UC San Diego can enter the USA no earlier than 30 days prior to program start date listed on the I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students).

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

Step 4 - When on Campus:

Learn What to Do When You Arrive at UC San Diego

Finished with everything above? The link below will redirect you to a comprehensive list of things that will help you get started at UC San Diego. Find detailed information on email set-up, course registration, campus ID cards, housing, cell phones, health insurance, and more.

Additional Information:

Timeline

Application Cycle: Graduate Students (Fall)

The majority of departments admit students for the fall quarter only with applications typically submitted one year in advance. For admission information specific to your department of interest, please visit the department’s website.

               

Fall
Application cycle begins

April 15
Majority of graduate admission decisions released (though not guaranteed by this date – check department website)

Deadline to submit Graduate Intent to Register decision due (for applicants admitted before March 25th)

  • Applicants admitted after March 25th: Graduate Intent to Register decision due within three (3) weeks of date printed on the Certificate of Admission

September 15
Deadline to register for New International Student Orientation (registration information published in Summer 2019)

September 23
Fall quarter begins

September 26
First Day of Classes

Late September
International Graduate Student Orientation

October 4
Deadline to complete iTriton International Online Orientation (registration information published in Summer 2019)

Frequently Asked Questions

The link below will redirect you to the page where you can find answers to common questions from new international students.

Contact List for Additional Questions

I have a question about: I should contact: Their email address is:
Admission letter Graduate Admissions Office gradadmissions@ucsd.edu
Immunization/Health Requirements Student Health Services studenthealth@ucsd.edu
Enrolling in classes Your Graduate Department Visit your Graduate Department/Program Website
Health insurance UCSD Student Health Insurance (SHIP) ship3@ucsd.edu
International Student Orientation International Students & Programs Office Contact Us eForm
Summer school Summer Session Administration summer@ucsd.edu