Rice University requires that all undergraduate students conducting research in university laboratories enter the U.S. on a nonimmigrant, J-1 Non-Degree Undergraduate Student visa. You cannot use the visa waiver program to enter the U.S. to participate in the TOMODACHI STEM program. You will be required to apply for and receive a J-1 visa to be able to participate in this program.
Selected participants will receive detailed information on the J-1 visa application process and documentation required from Rice University and all documentation must be submitted to Rice at least 90 days prior to arrival in the U.S.
Submitting Documentation to Rice University for DS-2019 Form
Selected participants will be required to submit all of the following documentation to Rice University. After review and approval, Rice’s Office of International Students and Scholars will issue you the DS-2019 form you will need to apply for your J-1 Non-Degree visa as a Visiting International Research Scholar. This form will be sent to you in Japan via express mail and you must keep it in a safe place as you will need to show it at your J-1 visa interview and to enter the U.S. Instructions on documentation required to be submitted to Rice University will be provided to program participants upon selection.
Applying for Your J-1 Non-Degree Student Visa & Paying Visa Fees
After you receive your DS-2019 form from Rice University, you will need to individually schedule your J-1 visa interview with your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Students typically complete their J-1 visa interviews in January but exact date/time will vary by individual. Students must schedule their visa interviews as soon as possible upon receiving their DS-2019 form from Rice. You must pay all associated J-1 visa application and SEVIS processing fees individually.
Detailed instructions on how to complete the visa application forms will be provided to selected participants in the Assignments section of Canvas. For more information on the process of applying for a non-immigrant, J-1 visa in Japan see the following sites from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo:
- Apply for a U.S. Visa: Step-by-Step Guide
- Non-Immigrant Visas (you will apply for a J-1 Non-Degree Student visa)
- Interview Procedures at U.S. Embassy in Tokyo (video)
- Checklist for Required Interview Documents (see all and Student or Exchange Visitor (J) sections)
Check with the U.S. Embassy websites above for the most up to date cost information, but estimated costs for a J-1 visa application include:
- Visa application costs for J-1 visa (~ $160)
- SEVIS Fee (~ $180)
Immigration Documents Necessary to Enter the U.S.
Once participants have received their U.S. visas, they will be required to submit a scanned copy of their visa to Rice University prior to arrival. Students must keep their original DS-2019 form in a safe place and bring this with them to the U.S. You will need to show your passport, U.S. visa, and the DS-2019 form to the immigration official when you enter the country.
Health Insurance in the U.S.
As a requirement of your J-1 visa, students must also have approved health insurance for the duration of their stay in the U.S. TOMODACHI STEM will pay for your health insurance directly and information on your health insurance policy will be provided to participants in January.
Proof of Meningococcal Vaccination (only required for students 22 or younger)
Students under the age of 22 will be required to provide proof of meningococcal vaccination per Texas State Law for enrollment in the Rice University Summer School. No other immunizations are required to enter the U.S. We do recommend all regular immunizations be up to date prior to departure. See the CDC: Health Information for Traveler’s to the U.S. for more details on recommended travel vaccinations.