Before You Arrive

*Important Update*: Due to limited space and high demand, the university no longer offers family housing to visiting scholars. Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area takes considerable time and resources to acquire, and IEAS is not responsible for visiting scholars' housing search. Please take this into consideration when applying to the visiting scholar program.

Please review the categories below:


When IEAS and other UC Berkeley departments have completed processing your file, you will receive a DS-2019 form. Take this form with you to the U.S. Embassy to receive your J-1 visa for yourself (plus a J-2 visa for each dependent). For more information about the J visa, see the website of the U.S. Embassy.


UC Berkeley requires that all persons holding visiting scholar status reside within the San Francisco Bay Area for the entirety of their period of affiliation, with the exception of travel periods of reasonable duration. Center affiliates may not claim visiting scholar status while carrying out normal academic duties in other countries.

In order to provide verification of visiting scholar status to the U.S. State Department, so that the scholar can maintain a clean immigration record, the dates of affiliation on the DS-2019 form must match the dates of residency in the San Francisco Bay Area. If a visiting scholar decides to terminate their affiliation earlier than the recorded date, they must notify IEAS at least two months in advance to get approval for the change so that the DS-2019 form can be amended. IEAS reserves the right to refuse to approve requests for early termination without good cause, or that have been submitted late (less than two months prior to the original end date). Terminating early without approval may result in the affiliates' visiting scholar status being designated as incomplete.

Visiting Scholars may leave up to 12 days early without getting an amended DS-2019, but should still notify IEAS in advance to confirm. Visiting Scholars may arrive up to 30 days prior to the start of their affiliation or leave up to 30 days after the culmination of their affiliation without penalty.

Travel Advisory: Currently, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the rapidly-changing nature of US immigration policy. For important information regarding current US immigration policy, Executive Orders, and travel advisories, please see the Berkeley International Office's Immigration Policy Updates.


Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area takes considerable time and resources to acquire. Please be aware that the university no longer offers family housing to visiting scholars, and IEAS is not responsible for visiting scholars' housing search. However, visiting scholars encouraged to use the following resources:



The rules for funding and bringing family members with you are set by the U.S. government. IEAS and UC Berkeley have no control over this policy.

The US government requires that you show that you have $1,800 per month available for yourself, plus $500 per month if you are accompanied by your spouse, plus $300 per month per accompanying child. (For example, if you are bringing a spouse and two children, you would need at least $2,900 per month, or $34,800 per year.) See Application Information for more details about proof of funding.

Visiting scholars receive a J-1 visa and their dependents receive J-2 visas. The only family members who can receive J-2 visas as your dependents are your spouse and children under 21 years of age. Any other family members who wish to come with you must get their own visas (such as tourism or student visas), and IEAS unfortunately cannot help you with this process.


All domestic and international scholars are required to show proof of medical coverage that meets specified minimum levels of coverage.

As of August 1, 2016, the minimum level requirements are:

  1. $100,000 USD per accident and illness in medical coverage.
  2. Deductible cannot exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  3. Coinsurance cannot exceed 25%.
  4. Medical evacuation coverage must be at least $50,000 USD.
  5. Repatriation coverage must be at least $25,000 USD.
  6. Pre-existing conditions must be a covered benefit. The waiting period for benefit coverage cannot exceed 12 months.
  7. Carrier must be at least A- rated or backed by the full faith and credit of the Exchange Visitor's government.

If you are an international visiting scholar and have dependents accompanying you to the U.S. (i.e. spouse, domestic partner, child(ren), you must purchase insurance that meets the U.S. State Department requirements for your dependents.

If you have insurance from your home country or purchased insurance that meets the above requirements, you may submit a waiver request to opt out of the UCB Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan.

How to Waive:

If your insurance meets the coverage requirements outlined on the Garnett-Power's website, you may waive (decline coverage) for this plan using the Waiver Form. If you waive coverage for yourself and/or your eligible dependents, you will not be eligible for coverage under Plan A until the New Plan Year that begins on September 1st of each year, unless you experience a qualifying event, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a loss of other coverage. However you may enroll in Plan B and Plan C at any time if you are an international affiliate.

The entire waiver application is completed online and you must provide proof of comparable insurance coverage by providing a copy of your insurance policy or schedule of benefits in English (If your policy is not written in English, you must provide an official translation of the insurance). You must receive a waiver request approval within 31 days of your appointment start date.