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Exchange Students

If you are an exchange student, or plan to come to CSU San Marcos as an exchange student, you should be familiar with the special regulations that apply to you. Normally, exchange students will apply for and enter the U.S. on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa, rather than on an F-1 student visa. If you are interested in applying to be an exchange student at CSU San Marcos, please contact your university exchange office.

Visa Information for Exchange Students

CSU San Marcos is a designated sponsor of U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Programs. This means that CSU San Marcos can issue the necessary DS-2019 form that is required for exchange students to obtain a J-1 exchange visa.  If you are accepted as an exchange student, the Office of Global Education will issue the DS-2019. 

Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Some, but not all, Exchange Visitors are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. The requirement is intended to ensure that, after completing the specific objective of the exchange program, the Exchange Visitor will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the U.S. for a long-term stay. If you have questions about the terms of this requirement, including whether or not you are subject to it, contact the Office of Global Education.

J-1 Health Insurance Requirement

Because of the high cost of health care in the United States, the federal government requires that all Exchange Visitors and accompanying dependents be covered by adequate health and accident insurance while in this country. Failure to carry adequate insurance may lead to termination of your exchange visitor status.  CSU San Marcos offers this coverage through a U.S. insurance company.  Students without proof of adequate coverage will be required to purchase this insurance.

Further information about health insurance for international students and scholars is available from the Office of Global Education.

Duration of Status/Extension of Stay

J-1 students are granted a Duration of Status (D/S) which allows them to stay in the U.S. until the date shown on the DS-2019 Form. If an extension of stay is required, the student must contact the J-1 Responsible Officer at least two months before the expiration.

Short Trips Out of the United States

To enter the U.S. in J-1 status, a student is required to have a copy of the DS-2019 endorsed by the J-1 Responsible Officer confirming both enrollment or affiliation with CSU San Marcos and the continuing availability of financial support. In addition, a student needs a valid visa stamp to re-enter the U.S. If the visa stamp has expired, the student is required to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.


As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, a student may be eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, but a J-1 student must obtain approval in writing before commencing any type of employment in the U.S. Before approval, the Responsible Officer is obligated to evaluate the proposed employment in the context of the program and the student's personal circumstances, and then decide whether it would be appropriate or not to recommend employment.