Newly Accepted Students

Notice: SF State's Spring 2021 exchange program has gone online. We request that our partners and newly accepted exchange students refer to SF State's May 15 email for further details and contact with any questions or concerns. Additionally, please visit SF State News for the most recent guidance regarding the university's COVID-19 response.


Congratulations on your acceptance into the San Francisco State University exchange program! The following checklist and pre-departure guide will assist you with preparations for your program:

Exchange Student Pre-Departure Checklist

Exchange Student Pre-Departure Guide

Click on the links below for information on specific pre-departure topics:

The Acceptance Packet

Your acceptance packet will be to your home university office. If you have been accepted into an exchange program at SF State, but have not yet received your acceptance packet, please contact your home university office. We expect that you will read the acceptance packet thoroughly once you receive it. It will contain the following items as you prepare to come to SF State:

  • Acceptance Letter from the SF State Office of International Programs
  • DS-2019 Form
  • International Student Checklist
  • International Education Exchange Council Brochure
  • Postcard sticker to send back to our office

DS-2019 Form

The DS-2019 form serves as your residence permit during your stay, and allows you to apply for your J-1 visa to enter the United States. Do not lose this form! Once you receive your DS-2019, you will need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. After paying the SEVIS fee, you may schedule your visa interview at your local US consulate.

International Education Exchange Council (IEEC)

Contribution to the internationalization of SF State is an integral and required part of your exchange program that can be fulfilled through participation in the International Education Exchange Council (IEEC). IEEC is a student-led organization whose mission is to encourage international education, student exchange, study abroad, and sharing of cultures between international and domestic students at SF State. Visit the IEEC page for more information.

Postcard Sticker

The postcard sticker should be completed, attached to the back of a postcard, and mailed to the OIP. You may use any postcard you have (your city, university, etc.) Do not forget to send this postcard sticker as it is how we will confirm you have received your acceptance packet. We will display all of the postcards at the orientation, so please don't send a blank one.

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The J-1 Visa Category

"J-1" refers to a visa category issued by the United States government. There are many visa categories that exist (B-1,H-1,F-1, etc.), but the category that you as an exchange student will be entering and living in the US is under the J-1 visa category. Extensive information about the J-1 visa and exchange visitor category can be found at the State Department's website

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Orientation Week

All J-1 exchange students are required to attend each day of orientation. Please make sure that you arrive in San Francisco before the first day of orientation. For more information, visit the orientation page.

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Please direct any questions to if you have been accepted into the exchange program. If you have not yet been accepted, please contact your home university office. 

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