Visa and Insurance

J-1 Visa

Students who are accepted into UIW’s exchange program will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) and information packet with next steps from International Student and Scholar Services. For more information, please contact us at intl@uiwtx.edu.

Once accepted, students receive the UIW International Student Acceptance Packet.

This packet includes:

  • UIW Admission Letter
  • Port of Entry (POE) Support Letter
  • DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
  • Immigration and Pre-Arrival Booklet
  • UIW International Health Insurance Information
  • SIM Card
  • Department of State EV Brochure (for J-1 students only)

J-1 Visa FAQs

The UIW International Student and Scholars (ISSS) Office is here to help. Once accepted, UIW exchange students will receive their UIW International Student Acceptance Packet along with more resources to answer visa application, process, and tips.

Please visit the U.S. Department of State's BridgeUSA website to learn more about the J-1 visa process.

Estimated Fees and Expenses

Immigration Regulations require students under J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa’s to give proof of their financial resources to cover their educational and living expenses while studying in the U.S. These expenses include fees, books, supplies, living expenses, health insurance and miscellaneous expenses (travel, recreation, toiletries, telephone, etc.) UIW may wish to require an advance deposit of tuition and perhaps living expenses as well before issuing the Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019).

The following chart indicates the amount you must provide in proof of financial support in order to be issued a Certificate of Eligibility.

Amount for the Exchange Program Year 2021-2022:

Financial Support Required for a Certificate of Eligibility
  One Semester Two Semester
Fees $1,800 $3,600
Living Expenses $6,561 $13,122
Miscellaneous Expenses $1,995 $3,990
Total Expenses $10,356 $20,712

Need for Additional Funds:
The student is responsible for additional expenses during these events:

  • Travel between your home country and the United States
  • Each dependent accompanying you in the U.S. (see previous page for estimates)
  • Tuition, living and miscellaneous expenses during Summer School
  • Living and miscellaneous expenses during Winter Break

Proof of Financial Support

Funds may come from any dependable source, to include: personal funds, your immediate family, scholarships, fellowships, or sponsoring agencies. Documentation of scholarships and fellowships may be in the form of an official award letter from the school or sponsoring agency.

Documentation of personal or family funds must be on bank letterhead stationery that must include the following information:

  • Address and phone number of the issuing bank
  • Name and signature of the issuing bank official
  • Indication on how long the account exists
  • Current balance and average balance over a minimum of the previous six months
  • Indication of the currency

Documentation of financial support should be issued in English and must be official. Bank letters will be accepted if not older than six month at the time of the application. Funds invested in the stock market cannot be accepted as coming from a dependable source due to the possible fluctuation of their value.

Travel Bans

Proclamation 9984 and 9993-Suspension of Entry of Non-Immigrants from Specific Countries

This means that in order to enter the U.S. you are required to:

  1. exit your country then;
  2. wait in a non-U.S. travel restricted third country for a minimum of 14 days.
  3. After 14 days, you may enter the U.S.

If your country is not on this is, you can enter the U.S. without a 14 day wait period. Affected countries include: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)

Your Visa Appointment During COVID

As you know, currently some U.S. embassies and consulates are closed or have longer wait times due to COVID-19. While some are taking appointments, it's important you pay your SEVIS fee and reserve your appointment early!

Frequently Asked Questions

My appointment keeps getting cancelled and moved, what is happening?

In order to keep visa applicants and consulate employees safe, consulates closed in March 2020 and have slowly been reopening and expanding services. Consulates re-opening are dependent on the host country's COVID-19 numbers and infrastructure. They are also considering travel restrictions to and from the U.S. as well as domestic travel restrictions before re-opening. Keep checking their official website and feel free to contact your local EdUSA office for more information. Embassy operations will continue to increase over the next few months. 

Can I request an expedited appointment?

Currently applying for a student visa with a soon to expire start date is not an approved reason for expedited services. You can try, if you'd like, to request an expedited application, however we've been told most consulates do not consider it a valid reason. Consulate are doing their best to keep visa applicants and consulate employees safe.

The Consulate closest to me has a longer wait time than others in my country, can I apply at the other consulates?

We recommend you apply at the consulate closest to you as they will take less time to evaluate your eligibility since local consular officials are well trained in their local area. However, you are not legally restricted from applying at a non-local consulate. You will, however, need a valid reason for choosing that consulate besides shorter wait times. Be prepared to answer that questions, as it will impact your interview.

I've heard I can apply for a visa at any U.S. Consulate, can I apply in another country than my own?

We recommend to apply for your visa in the country where you have the strongest social and economic ties. Applying at your non-home country consulate is called applying as a Third Country National or TCN. While you are not legally restricted from applying at the non-local consulate, not all consulates accept TCNs and have higher denial rates.

Consular officers are more likely to deny a visa due to their lack of knowledge of local conditions and/or familiarity with documents in your home country or they might also worry that you are "consulate shopping". You will need to show strong established ties to the country where you are applying, or some other solid reason for applying there outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you do apply at a third-country consulate, don't be surprised if the answer takes a while. The consulate might put your application on hold, so that it can ask the U.S. consulate nearest your home to provide follow-up information. In the end, it is easier to simply apply for your nonimmigrant visa in your home country.

What happens if I don't get a visa on time?

UIW understands and will work with each individual student to see what the best plan of action will be for you. You will have many options and we will help you find what works best for your home country, your major, your financial situation, and your reasons for wanting to study in the U.S..

Some students choose to do an internship during their J-1 program. Here are some restrictions:

Single Semester Exchange Students

If you are only at UIW for one semester, you are NOT eligible for an internship. If you want to do an internship after your program, you will need to leave the U.S., apply for a new J-1 Intern or J-1 Student Intern visa and re-enter the U.S. to participate in an internship.

Two Semester Exchange Students

If you are at UIW for two semesters, you ARE eligible for internships. You are required to apply with the ISSS Office to receive authorization. In October, ISSS hosts the J-1 Internship workshop.

Community Service and U.S. Experience

While there are many restrictions on employment and work, J-1 students are encouraged to do service projects, service learning, and community service. You will learn more about these opportunities during orientation from UIW's Ettling Center for Civic Leadership.

UIW Health Insurance

Exchange students will learn more about the UIW Student Health Plan from their servicing agent, Paul Fisher, during orientation. Once they arrive on campus, Mr. Fisher is available 24 hours a day to answer all of their insurance coverage questions and help them file a claim.

Additional questions not answered below may be answered by intl@uiwtx.edu.

UIW Health Insurance FAQs

The fee for insurance is included in the amounts students show to receive their DS-2019. Students pay an amount each semester, billed directly to their UIW business account along with dorm and tuition charges. Currently, the plan is $1,226 per semester and is subject to change.

J-1 students are covered by UIW's Insurance Plan the moment they enter the U.S. using their J-1 visa until the day they depart.

Resources Covered Under the UIW Insurance Plan

UIW Health Services and Counseling Services

UIW Health Services provides basic health services that focus primarily on preventative care, health education, and counseling, care for acute minor illnesses and injuries, and the maintenance of health record and assistance with the university insurance plan.

UIW Counseling Services provides students with individual and/or group counseling. Services include individual counseling, mediation, behavior management, workshops, group counseling, couples/family counseling, crisis intervention, and more.  There is no charge for Counseling Services.

Additional Services Under UIW's Insurance Plan

UIW Insurance is charged to incoming students' UIW account and covers medical and mental health needs. In addition to UIW's on-campus Health Services and Counseling, the plan also provides access to the following resources:

UIW International Student Insurance is require for ALL exchange students. Even if you have a plan from your home country or university, you cannot waive this requirement. This should not come as a surprise as all UIW admission informational includes the insurance requirement.

Exchange students are notified prior to receiving their immigration documents about the insurance requirements.

  • If you are a student on a non J-1 visa and have insurance through your U.S. employer, please contact intl@uiwtx.edu for more information.
  • If you are a U.S. Resident or a dual citizen participating in our exchange please contact intl@uiwtx.edu for more information.