J-1 Exchange Students

Welcome to the Exchange Student Program at SF State!

To prevent COVID-19 from spreading within our community, we are serving our students remotely via phone and Zoom.  If you currently reside outside the U.S. and sign up for our exchange advising services, your advising session will be conducted via Zoom. After signing up, you will receive a Zoom invite at your SF State email inbox. When you receive this email, join the Zoom conference to connect with your exchange program advisor.


Note: Learning agreements can be submitted via email and will be returned to you electronically. Additionally, please note that our office is NOT able to provide Travel Signatures at this time, and you DO NOT need a Travel Signature to leave the US.


You are encouraged to email questions and concerns to exchange@sfsu.edu. If you wish to access exchange program advising services, please sign up during the following advising hours to speak to an advisor:


Tuesday and Thursday
9:30AM to 11:30AM
Monday to Friday
2PM to 4PM


Sign up form

*San Francisco State University provides reasonable accommodations based on disability for eligible students.  If you need special accommodation beyond phone advising please email us.

San Francisco State University’s Exchange Student Program provides students from 100+ partner institutions around the world* the opportunity to study at SF State for one or two semesters as non-degree-seeking students. All exchange students come to SF State on university-sponsored J-1 visas.

*Please note, if you are not from one of our exchange partner institutions, you are not eligible for SF State's Exchange Student Program. You are still welcome to apply to SF State as a degree-seeking international student.

What to expect from your exchange at SF State

The Office of International Programs offers exchange students a variety of services as part of their exchange program. Prior to arrival in the US, accepted students receive a welcome packet, which includes an acceptance letter and visa document, as well as guidance on visa applications, health insurance, and additional aspects of the exchange program. Students are also granted a priority enrollment period, which allows them to enroll in up to 16 units of coursework before the main student body. 

Upon arrival at SF State, exchange students attend a 3-day orientation to help them prepar for their SF State experience. This orientation is mandatory and covers US culture, San Francisco State University, visa regulations, and logistics such as transportation and housing. At this time, students also have an opportunity to connect with each other and select their International Education Exchange Council (IEEC) commitments. IEEC's goals is to promote international education, assist in the internationalization of the SF State campus, and bring students of all nationalities together. All exchange students participate in IEEC as part of their program requirements.

During the semester, exchange students pursue their chosen field of study at SF State. They also enjoy student perks such as gym access, tutoring and health services, and public transportation discounts. Additionally, exchange students receive custmized support from SF State's Exchange Student Advisor.


Exchange student services and support

SF State's Exchange Student Advisor is Ms. Lily Ferris. She provides the following services:
  • J-1 visa and exchange program advising
  • Academic Advising
  • Referrals to campus resources
  • Advice regarding culture shock, homesickness, and logistical concerns
  • Authorization for on-campus jobs and Academic Training (at the advisor's discretion)
  • Authorization for international travel 
  • Document signatures
  • 14 hours of drop-in advising per week (sign-in at front desk required)
  • 48-hour email response time



Office Location

Office of International Programs
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, VCS-C
San Francisco, CA 94132 USA


Email: exchange@sfsu.edu
Phone: 1-415-338-1293

We provide frequent updates on our website (as well as via iLearn and email for accepted students). Please review the information on this website before contacting us or your home university: http://oip.sfsu.edu/newlyacceptedstudents