Visas & Money

The UCSF International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), advises scholars and students from around the globe in visa matters as they pertain to their programs of study, research or work at the University of California, San Francisco. Contact ISSO for advice regarding visas for visitors to the campus community. The Scholars Resource Center can assist UCSF faculty with logistics and handle some of the administrative burden of hosting visiting scholars.


Each country has separate visa requirements. Even layovers at airports may require visas. If you are not an American citizen, your visa requirements are specific to your citizenry. In some cases you can purchase visas at the airports when you arrive or as you cross borders. In other cases you must have applied for and purchased your visa ahead of time, often travelling to a personal interview in the process. You must have enough blank pages in your passport to accommodate all of your visas and stamps of entry/exit. Most countries require your passport to be valid for 3 months past your anticipated date of exit. 

Consult the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Embassies for information on visa requirements; crime and security information; health and medical conditions; drug penalties; and localized hot spots. This is a good place to start learning about where you are going.


  • Talk to your bank about fees and ATMs, you may want an account with a bank well represented in your country, or one that doesn't charge international fees.
  • Download ATM mapping apps for your bank.
  • Traveler’s checks make you a target for theft and have high exchange rates. Determine which brand is accepted in your country, and where they can be cashed (usually the best hotel in town).
  • If you carry cash, bills should be in excellent condition. Wash and iron them, inspect for tears and writing, and exchange for better ones before travel. (Yes- seriously)
  • Inform your bank/credit card of your travel. They can freeze your account.
  • Have your credit card pin sent to you. It can take a few weeks.

Last updated: November 20, 2018