Visiting Scholar & Researcher Information

J-1 Exchange Visitors 

For complete information on the J-1 Scholar visa process, please visit the UC Santa Barbara Office of International Students and Scholars website.

Mechanical Engineering Exchange Visitors fall into specific categories of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program:
·       Short-Term Scholar
·       Research Scholar
·       Student Intern (for undergraduate student researchers)

Each category has specific requirements, established by the U.S. Department of State. Please review these requirements carefully. If you are not sure if you meet the requirements to be a J-1 Exchange Visitor, please contact the UCSB Office of International Students & Scholars. 

J-1 exchange visitors' dependents (legally married spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) can enter the U.S. asJ-2 Dependents.  Other family members (such as parents, siblings or domestic partners) are not eligible for J-2 status, but may be eligible to visit the U.S. as tourists with a B-2 visa.

J-1 Scholar Categories
A brief description of each of the J-1 scholar categories utilized by Mechanical Engineering are provided to help scholars select the one that best matches their intended academic visit.

Short-Term Scholar
·       Period of validity ranges from a minimum of 1 day to a maximum period of 6 months.
·       Extensions beyond 6 months are not permitted for this category.
·       The Short-Term Scholar Category can be used multiple times.
·       The 12 month bar and the 24 month bar on repeat participation do not apply to the Short-Term Scholar Category.
·       212(E) Two Year Home Residency Requirement may apply.

Research Scholar 
·       The period of validity for these categories ranges from a 3 week minimum to a maximum of five years.
·       Once a Research Scholar completes their J-1 program, they may not return to the United States in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for 24 months.
·       The 212(E) Two Year Home Residency Requirement may apply.

The U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure can be viewed here.

Financial Requirements
J-1 exchange visitors must demonstrate adequate financial support for the entire period of stay in the U.S. Financial support may be any combination of UCSB funds, personal funds, and/or third party organization funds, i.e. fellowships, scholarships, grants, etc. Our Office of International Students and Scholars requires that you show proof that you meet financial requirements in order to apply for your visa.

To cover the current costs of living in Santa Barbara J-1 exchange visitors will need a minimum of $2,400.00 USD per month ($79 per day).  Th J-1 scholar will also need to budget for additional family members who accompany them in the J-2 dependent status at the rate of $500.00 USD per month per additional member ($17 per day). Please note that this is just the minimum required amount, and that the cost of living here, particularly if you bring family members will probably be much more than this.

The U.S. Department of State requires that all participants in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program obtain health insurance, as well as coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.  It is mandatory that the J-1 Exchange Visitor and all family members in the J-2 Dependent status, obtain the required insurance to be in compliance with J-1 visa regulations.  Failure to do so could result in termination of their J-1 program.

Effective September 1, 2014, all J-1 Visiting Scholars must obtain health insurance coverage through the UCSB Visiting Academic Scholar Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan (VASISP). You can request a waiver of the insurance requirement if you can prove your own insurance meets the UCSB requirements. The waiver form is given at the bottom of the above link, or can be accessed here

Process for completing the J-1 DS-2019 request procedure.
STEP ONE: The prospective Exchange Visitor completes the following form(s):
J-1 Exchange Visitor Eligibility Determination Form (J-1 EDF)
Transfer IN Request Form (ONLY use if you are already in the J-1 status at another U.S. institution and want to transfer current J-1 program to UCSB)

Submit completed forms directly to the UCSB Host Department with ALL supporting documentsUCSB Host Department accepts and approves prospective visitor's request and forwards completed package to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Please note that you and all your dependents must have valid passports with an expiration date a minimum of 6 months after the end of your requested stay. If you want to request an insurance waiver, you must also include the completed waiver request (linked in the insurance section above).

OISS determines the prospecitve visitor’s eligibility for the J-1 Exchange Visitor category. Once determined, OISS gives the prospective visitor access to UCSB's online International Students and Scholars Database (ISSD) to complete the online DS-2019 request.

Exchange visitor receives ISSD access email with Username and Password to submit the online DS-2019 request. UCSB Host Department Reviews and Approves online DS-2019 request

OISS processes the DS-2019 request. The J-1 Exchange Visitor record is created in SEVIS and the J-1/J-2 DS-2019 form(s) are printed. OISS assembles the J-1 DS-2019 Document Packet and notifies the Host Department for Pick-Up or sends through campus mail. UCSB Host Department is responsible for mailing the J-1 DS-2019 Document Packet along with an official invitation/appointment offer letter from UCSB to the visitor.

Housing Information for J-1 Scholars
As a J-1 Scholar at UC Santa Barbara you will be responsible for securing your own housing for the duration of your stay at the University. When preparing to visit, please keep in mind that Santa Barbara is a very beautiful and desirable locale, consequently housing is extremely expensive and can be difficult to find. Please be prepared to spend 4-10 weeks looking for appropriate housing, and be prepared to pay a minimum of $1800.00 USD per month for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment. Furnished apartments and apartments with more than one room will cost significantly more. Based off the experiences of some other visitors, you may also need to arrange for a co-signer for the rental lease who lives within the US. Please note that while we understand it can be very difficult to procure housing in Santa Barbara and Goleta, we cannot offer assistance with your search.

The University has a Community Housing Office that offers assistance to faculty, staff, and visiting scholars looking to secure housing in the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas. Their services including access to approved rental listings, mediation and landlord conflict resolution, videotaping services, and lease interpretation. Further information on the CHO and their services can be found at

Rental listings approved through the CHO can be found at the link below, if you did not receive log in instructions from your administrative contact, please email Melecia Valdez at

Additional rental listings can be found at:​​

Please note: many people do use Craigslist to find housing in Santa Barbara, and it is fairly reliable, but there are many scams. Please use extra caution and common sense when contacting prospective housing leads via Craigslist. Housing is expensive in Santa Barbara and Goleta - if a rental price seems too good to be true, it is a scam. 

Notes about Santa Barbara and Goleta:

  1. UCSB is actually located in the city of Goleta, which is suburban with no real city center. Santa Barbara city is about 15 minutes south of Goleta, and has a walkable small city feel. If you want to be near the University, look for housing in Goleta, if you want to be near the "city center", look in Santa Barbara. Isla Vista is the area next to campus where most of our students live. Housing can be more affordable here, but UCSB is a party school, and the students party a lot, so know you will get a lot of noise if you look here.
  2. Santa Barbara and Goleta don't believe in lighting their streets at night, so if you or your family are planning to walk/bike/take the bus, please know there is very little lighting once the sun goes down.
  3. Most areas of Santa Barbara and Goleta are generally safe. When looking for housing you may notice the following areas called out: Downtown, The Mesa, SBCC (Santa Barbara City College), East Side, West Side, Riviera, East Beach, TV Hill, Montecito, Funk Zone, Goleta, NoLita, Hidden Valley, Hope Ranch, Isla Vista, etc. The Riviera, East Beach, Montecito, and Hope Ranch are more expensive. The lower East Side and lower West Side of Santa Barbara  (near Santa Barbara City College) are generally considered less desireable, and therefore slightly less expensive. For reference, Santa Barbara is bisected by a long continuous central road called State Street. Everything on the mountain side of State Street is considered the "East Side" and everything on the ocean side is the "West Side".

Public Transportation
Public transportation in Santa Barbara and Goleta is rather limited compared to other countries. There is generally better bus service in Santa Barbara, and there are express buses that run every 30 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara to UCSB. Buses is Goleta do not run as often, and do not have direct routes to campus. However, if you  like bicycling to work, there are extensive bike paths that run through Goleta to campus. 

For information on public transportation and bus routes you can visit the Santa Barbara MTD website