On this page is information for Exchange Students who have already been accepted to the University of Florida Exchange Program. Before coming to the U.S., Exchange Students must apply for their J1 Visa Status to be able to enter the US. Simultaneously, students must complete UF’s administrative requirements to begin to register for classes. These processes are separated into two categories below. Find a quick overview in the ESS Check-List below.
Visa Applications: Apply for J1 Non-Degree Student Status
Once the acceptance packet has been received, students can initiate their J1 Visa Application with the US Embassy/Consulate in their home country. The J-1 Visa Status is overseen by the US Department of State. UF is designated by the US Department of State to administer an Exchange Visitor Program and acts as exchange student’s “Program Sponsor” for the duration of their exchange program. More information can be found on the US Department of State website.
Key Documents & Terms:
- DS-2019 Form: Form of eligibility to apply for J-1 Visa Status; issued by UF for each individual student
- SEVIS record: SEVIS is the federal online database that universities and US agencies use to maintain records for J-1 Visa Status holders.
- J-1 Visa: This US nonimmigrant visa status is used for hosting Exchange Visitors in the US. A visa is a document approved and issued by Consular Affairs for entry into the US.
- Program Sponsor: This refers to the organization/agency/institution sponsoring an exchange visitor to come to the US. For exchange students, UF is the program sponsor.
- Exchange Visitor: This is an umbrella term for individuals being sponsored on a J-1 Visa Status to come to the US for the purposes of educational and cultural exchange. Exchange Students are one category in which exchange visitors may participate in a university setting.
Below are steps, in order, that exchange students should take to apply for their J-1 Visa Status.
- Verify DS-2019: Upon receipt, review individual DS-2019 form and all accompanying documents. Verify all information on DS-2019 form is correct. (For example, name, birth date, country of citizenship)
- Pay I-901 SEVIS Fee: This payment is facilitated online: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901. Save SEVIS fee receipt for your visa interview and later entry into the US.
- Apply for J-1 Visa Status: (Note: hyperlinks take users to US government agency websites for direct information)
- Review your rights and protections as a nonimmigrant visa holder from the US Department of State website.
- Review the Wilberforce Pamphlet (more languages available at the link above)
- Complete the online DS-160 application to be eligible to schedule a visa interview
- Schedule Visa Interview: Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate near you and schedule your visa interview (not required for Canadian nationals)
- Prepare for Visa Interview: Review Required Documents for your visa interview
UF Gatorlink Account Set-Up & Course Registration
Exchange Students are eligible for a UF Account also known as a “Gatorlink Account”. Gatorlink Accounts are students’ credentials for accessing UF platforms, UF email, and campus WiFi and resources. Platforms include those required for course registration, course resources, libraries, email, campus housing, campus dining and more.
While students can use their Gatorlink accounts to access most UF platforms, Exchange Students should continue to use their ‘Non-UF Login’ information for the International Center ISSS Platform.
Downloadable Guide: UF Student Account Set-Up Guide
The course registration process can begin when exchange students have set up their Gatorlink accounts and completed any account holds.
Holds: Before students can register for courses, students must complete pre-registration requirements, called “Holds”. All Holds are linked to a student’s Gatorlink account. Students can review Holds and complete requirements on the ONE.UF platform. Holds are used to ensure students understand all requirements they must meet to participate in coursework at UF.
Course Registration: Exchange Students participating in programs with the following colleges will be registered for courses by their hosting college.
- College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
- Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
- Levin College of Law
- Warrington College of Business
Course Registration: All other students register by following general registration instructions found here: https://registrar.ufl.edu/registration/reghowto
- Prerequisite Requirements – Some upper-level courses may have required students to have taken other courses first. Exchange Students may have already completed prerequisite course requirements for a given course at their Home University, but that information would not be in an exchange student’s Gatorlink account. If registration is prevented due to a prerequisite course requirement, please contact the relevant undergraduate or graduate coordinator for the department: http://www.ufadvising.ufl.edu/college-advising-contacts/
- Students may be asked to provide a copy of their Academic transcript from their home institution to prove prerequisites have been met. Students can download previously submitted transcripts from their online Exchange Student application.