J-1 Exchange Students

Collage of CSUN buildings

CSUN’s J1 program for incoming exchange students will continue for Spring 2024 with primarily in-person classes. Please note, all future plans will be contingent upon multiple world-wide, U.S., and local health advisories. We will keep you updated of any possible changes.

Dear New International Exchange Student (J-1 visa holding students),

Congratulations on your admission to California State University, Northridge!

Our staff wishes to welcome you and to offer you special assistance throughout your stay here. To ensure your success on campus, we will provide you with immigration, personal advisement, and a variety of social, educational and cross-cultural programs. This webpage is intended to provide you with some helpful and important information regarding activating your account, registration, payment deadlines and housing.

The U.S. Department of State administers the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The Act promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The Exchange Visitor Program, recently named BridgeUSA, provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the United States and then return home to share their experiences.

Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement [212(e)] – Some Exchange Visitor Program participants and family members who were admitted to the U.S. or who adjusted their visa status to J after admission must return home for a minimum of two years after completing their educational or cultural exchange program before they can change or adjust their status. This requirement applies to those whose:

  1. Exchange program was financed to some extent by the U.S. Government or your home country government;
  2. Skill appears in the Exchange Visitor Skills List as identified by their home country government; or,
  3. Purpose in coming to the United States was to receive graduate medical education or training. For details see [(22 CFR 62.44 (e)] or contact your responsible officer.

Please read the congratulatory message from the U.S. Department of State and visit the Exchange Visitor Program website for more information.

Also, see the Welcome Brochure to learn more about the Exchange Visitor Program. Please review the Exchange Visitors’ Rights and Protections Brochure should you have additional questions regarding resources available to you during your exchange program. 

For direct communication with the Department of State email For emergency situations, exchange visitors can use the J-1 Visa Emergency Hotline (1-866-283-9090) to contact the Department. Duty officers are available 24 hours a day. However, If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911!

Important Information & J1 Orientation

You must first apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy for an entry visa with the exception of exchange students from Canada. You will need your Form DS-2019 and your country's original passport. Please follow instructions given on the specific consulate's website.

  • As an exchange student on a J-1 visa, your advisors are Eleanor Wolgast and Marta Lopez. You may reach them by email at and
  • As soon as you arrive in the United States, you MUST ATTEND a mandatory J-1 orientation meeting. This meeting will be held on campus on Friday, January 19th at 9:30 am – Please mark your calendar! You will receive an email message with the meeting information closer to the date of the meeting. At this appointment, you will be meeting your advisor, who will process your DS-2019 and immigration documents, give you important information on how to maintain legal student status in the U.S., help you become acquainted with the structure of your new campus, and make you aware of the campus offices and services you can use and help you with the registration process. Please note that you are expected to be enrolled in full course of study before attending this meeting. Important: As an exchange student, you can attend a combination of online courses, in-person courses, and hybrid courses. However, you cannot attend all your courses fully online.
  • If you are outside the United States or planning to travel and re-enter the U.S, the last date for you to enter this country is January 18, 2024. This information is in section 3 of your DS-2019.

Failure to report to the IESC within 30 days of arrival and provide required documents will result in automatic termination of your SEVIS record by immigration.

Activating your CSUN Account & Documents to Submit

In the near future you will receive the following information:

  • A letter of admission that includes your CSUN student ID number.
  • An email from the University with your User ID and password and directions to activate your account, your CSUN portal. Please activate your account immediately to be able to access important information and email communications from the University, and register for classes.
  • Form DS-2019.
  • An email directing you to a "New Student Registration" link which has information about your registration appointment and directions regarding registering online (see the tab below for more information on registering for classes).

If you are missing any of the first three pieces of information, it is either because your application has been processed after the deadline or there may be an issue with your address. Please contact us if you do not receive any of the above information.

How to activate your student account and CSUN username and password

Locate the email sent to you by the Office of Admissions and Records with instructions to activate your student account. The email contains the link to authenticate your identity for the activation.

You may also visit the CSUN instruction page, and follow the subsequent instructions to activate your user ID and password. For additional information regarding registration and activating your student account go to How To Guides For Students.

Submitting Immigration Documents to the IESC

As an incoming exchange student, there are certain documents the IESC needs to collect for your exchange to CSUN. These items will need to be submitted through the myCSUNglobe application portal before your J-1 orientation. Please note that the login and password for this account will be different from the CSUN username and password that will be issued to you upon acceptance to the university. J-1 students will need to use the “Non-CSUN Login” option on the myCSUNglobe site, as this application does not automatically connect with your CSUN username and password. Further guidance for creating a new application can be found in these login instructions (follow instructions for “Option 3/Incoming Exchange”).
Students coming from Canada through the National Student Exchange program do not need to complete a new application, as these items are already included in your current myCSUNglobe application portal.

If you experience any trouble logging in to the site, please reach out to Eleanor Wolgast directly.

Immigration Documents (PDF COPIES REQUIRED)

  • Valid passport pages showing name, photo, number and expiration date
  • Visa
  • DS-2019
  • Proof of Health Insurance (see details in next section)
  • I-94 (available after you enter the U.S.)

For New J-1 Exchange Student arriving from overseas: Please click here to print your electronic Form I-94 after you arrive in the U.S., and bring a copy of your Form DS-2019 with entry stamp.

For a Transferring J-1 Exchange Student from another U.S. school: Front and back of Form I-94 (white card) or if you have received an electronic form I-94, please print it, and Form DS-2019 with section eight (8) signed by the last authorized school.

Health Insurance Requirement
All International Exchange Students are required to have health insurance coverage per Department of State Regulations. Please visit the following link to purchase the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) International Student Health Insurance group.

Once you purchase the insurance policy, the IESC will automatically receive proof of coverage directly from the health insurance provider, and your foreign hold will be removed.

How to purchase your health insurance policy:

  1. Go to
  2. Type "CSUN" in the search box
  3. Select your plan year (i.e. 2023/2024) and then "International Students (Not IEP or SAC)" from the list of options.
  4. Scroll down, click "View My School Portal" and then click "Enroll."
  5. Answer Question #1 by selecting Coverage Term (i.e. Annual, Fall only, Spring only).
  6. Click "Agree to Terms & Conditions"
  7. Create account
  8. Make payment

Registering for Classes

This information is for: Fall 2023

  • Important! As an exchange student, you may attend a maximum of one fully online course per semester. Additionally, J1 students may take in-person classes with virtual components (hybrid). You must enroll in at least 12 units as undergraduate or 8 units as graduate student.
  • Enroll in classes through the online portal using self-service registration. Log into CSUN Portal at with your CSUN user ID and password.
  • Browse the Fall 2023 Schedule of Classes here. Find dates tips and tutorials in the Registration Guide. You are strongly urged to read all instructions carefully prior to registering.
  • You will receive information regarding registration that indicates your enrollment appointment sometime through July 4th, 2023. If you are admitted after July 4th, 2023, no appointment is required. Your enrollment appointment also displays in your CSUN Portal under "My Checklist." Registering on the date you have been assigned will give you the best selection of classes and class times. However, you may continue to access the system as often as you like from your registration appointment date through August 27th, 2023.
  • Nonrestrictive Registration begins on July 5th, 2023. No appointment is required. Wait listing continues from your registration appointment through Monday, September 4th, 2023 (11:59pm PT). Permission numbers are required to add classes beginning September 5th. Learn more with the How To Guides.
  • Weekday classes begin on August 28, 2023. Saturday-only and Friday-Saturday classes begin Saturday, August 26, 2023. Find more dates in the Registration Calendar.

Please note: You may see a course listed in the University Catalog but not in the Schedule of Classes because the class might not be offered each semester. The catalog lists all the courses offered by the university, whereas, the schedule lists the courses that are offered in a specific semester.

If you cannot register for a specific class, it is because departments have their restrictions or prerequisites per course. This may prevent you from registering for that class. Please contact or to request a support letter. You may email this letter to the professor as an attachment or print and present to professors when trying to add a class during the add/drop period.

Also, please keep in mind that seats in junior and senior level classes cannot be guaranteed. We do hope you are flexible with your coursework and are prepared to take some other courses if some don't work out. Unfortunately, we do not have control over departmental restrictions or course requirements that may be applicable to certain areas from your home campus' transcript.


If you have applied for on-campus housing, you must use your student ID number from now on to access your housing information. If you have not applied for housing, please visit the Student Housing Application page.


Therefore, you are advised to apply AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE YOUR CSUN USERNAME AND PASSWORD. For all housing inquiries, please contact the housing office at (818) 677-2160.

Information on student housing is also available on the Student Housing and Conference Services website. If early access to housing is needed, it must be requested in advance through Student Housing by emailing and it will have associated costs per night.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the nearest airport to CSUN. Students are responsible for making their own arrangements for transport.

The following options are available:

  • The best option is the FlyAway Bus, which can be boarded outside each terminal at LAX – Look for the FlyAway Bus signs. It departs approximately every half-hour (24hrs) and goes non-stop to the FlyAway Bus Terminal at Van Nuys, California. Please note that there is a Flyaway Bus to one other destination, so make sure you get on the Van Nuys FLYAWAY Bus (not Union Station). Travel time is 50 minutes and costs $9.75 one way (You can buy a ticket when you arrive at Van Nuys, but please note that payment is only by credit or debit card – No cash). Take a taxi from the Van Nuys Terminal to the CSUN campus (see below for the address for student housing). 
  • Taxis are available from LAX to CSUN and cost about $35 to $50. The contact for Authorized Taxicab Supervision (ATS) is (323) 776-5324, and the contact for L.A. Taxi/United Checker Cab is (877) 201-8294. You may also visit Los Angeles Yellow Cab for services and other information.
  • A shuttle van is also available outside each terminal at LAX. These vans carry several passengers and make several stops. Board the San Fernando Valley shuttle. The estimated cost is approximately $15-$45 and the estimated travel time is one to one and one half hours. Advance reservations can be made at Super Shuttle website.

The Student Housing department is located in Building 6 on the corner of Lassen St. and Zelzah St. Please do not have your cab wait for you while you check in. One student from New York had the driver wait and he kept his meter running. The resulting cab fare was $75!

Self-Reporting of Incidents

During your stay in the United States, your J visa advisor will provide you with information so that you understand how to maintain your immigration status. You will also learn of the different on-campus services, because we want you to have a safe and positive experience. In the event where there is potential litigation, death, serious injury or sexual abuse allegations involving an exchange student, please inform your J visa advisor.
Incidents like the above mentioned will need to be reported by your J visa advisor to the Office of Private Sector Exchange Administration Academic and Government Programs (OPA-AG) which is the body that monitors compliance with the United States Department of State regulations and policies with a focus on exchange visitors’ health, safety, and well-being. The International & Exchange Student Center must promptly notify the Department of any investigations of an exchange visitor’s site of activity or any serious problem or controversy that could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute, to include: [22 CFR 62.13(d)] To learn more, you are welcome to watch the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Progran Incident Report—OPA video.


Please feel free to contact the International and Exchange Student Center at (818) 677-3053 if you require further assistance.