1400x300 UCB

The University of California, Berkeley

Information for outbound LSE students

This page contains additional information for University of California, Berkeley exchange students.

Your next steps:

Student ID number and CalNet ID

UCB student ID number:

To complete many important steps in your preparations for your programme, you first need to have received your UCB student ID number. This is provided directly by UCB, usually in April-May before your departure.

CalNet ID:

During the summer you will be invited by the academic registrar to register for the university's IT system, CalNet. Registering for the system is essential to allow you to enrol on courses, access support services, and register for central university housing.

Apply for a student visa

Obtaining a visa:

The GO LSE team is not legally permitted to give you advice on obtaining a visa to enter the US.

The information below provides a broad overview of the steps you need to complete in order to succesfully obtain your visa.

For further information and support, please visit the UCEAP webpages or contact the Berkeley Study Abroad office.


UCB Visa timeline
An overview of your visa application timeline. 

The process:

  • Once you have received your UCB student ID number, you should request a DS-2019 certificate of eligibility. The DS-2019 provides prove that you have the funds available to cover your living costs while in the US. For further information, please visit the BridgeUSA DS-2019 webpage.
  • Once you have received your DS-2019, you should begin the application process by paying the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee on the US Immigration and Customs website.
  • You can then complete the nonimmigrant visa application (DS-160). This includes an additional fee. You can read more about the application form on the US Department of State webpage.
  • You should then book a visa interview at a US embassy or consulate of your choosing. The list of eligible embassies and consulates and their associated interview wait times can be viewed here.
  • The list of documents that you will need to take with you to your interview can be viewed here.
  • Interview procedures and necessary documentation may vary between locations, so ensure that you have thoroughly researched what you need to take with you before the day of the interview.
  • At the end of your interview the interviewing officer will inform you of the outcome of your application. You can then start to finalise your travel and housing arrangements.

Book your flights

You can arrive in the US up to 30 days prior to the programme start date listed on your DS-2019 certificate. 

We strongly urge you to delay purchasing airline tickets until AFTER you have obtained your visa. When you do purchase a ticket, ensure that it is refundable / exchangeable in case your plans need to change.


Arrange accommodation

UCB offers a range of accommodation options to visiting students. Please note:

  • University housing is not guaranteed.
  • You should not lock yourself into a housing contract until your visa and flight arrangements have been finalised.

For further information, please visit the preparing for UC Berkeley webpage (click 'Housing').

Accommodation options:

International House:

  • International House welcomes students from around the world for year-long accommodation options. International students are prioritised on the waiting list for International House.
  • You can begin an accommodation application here as soon as you have received your student ID number.

University Residence Halls and Apartments:

  • UCB offers a range of shared living spaces and meal plans across a number of university-owned properties.
  • You can only begin an accommodation application for central university housing once you have received your CalNet ID.
  • The deadline for applications is 2 May 2022.

Berkeley Student Housing Cooperative:

  • Student cooperatives are student run and provide a cost effective, shared living environment. All residents participate in the activities and chores of the house to reduce costs.
  • There is no deadline for applications, but early applications are encouraged.

Accommodation in the private sector:

  • If you would prefer to find accommodation in the private sector, UCB provides support through its Cal Rentals service. Please consult the off-campus housing webpage for more information.
  • It may be difficult to finalise housing arrangements in the private sector before arriving in the US. If you require temporary housing while you search for a property, you can browse a list of inexpensive options that are close to campus on the Berkeley housing webpage (scroll to 'Temporary Housing').
  • Do not enter private housing contracts until your visa has been confirmed.

LSE Notification of Travel and Travel Insurance

LSE Notification of Travel:

All students undertaking travel as part of their studies must complete the Travel Notification Form. You will need to have confirmed your proposed departure and return date before completing the form (these can be amended later).

After you have submitted the form, it will be reviewed by LSE's Health and Safety team. Once approved, you will receive confirmation via email.

LSE Travel Insurance:

By completing the mandatory Travel Notification Form, you will automatically be covered under LSE's Travel Insurance policy.

  • The insurance will cover you for losses sustained during your period of cover, including against lost, stolen, and accidentally damaged property.
  • It will also cover you for medical emergencies. However, please note that this is not comprehensive medical cover, and therefore does not fulfil Berkeley's health insurance requirements.
  • The insurance will not cover flight cancellations or curtailments as a result of COVID-19. Nor will the policy cover the costs associated with mandatory quarantining or COVID-19 testing.
  • The insurance will not cover travel that is taken outside the scope of your exchange programme. For instance, if you choose to travel outside of California on holiday.

For further details visit the LSE Travel Insurance webpage and contact the Health and Safety Team if you have any questions.

Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan

Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan:

The University of California requires that all students pay for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). SHIP provides access to on-campus medical care plus off-campus emergency treatment. You will automatically be enrolled upon SHIP at the start of each semester and be charged through your CalNet account.

The cost of SHIP in 2022/23 is $1,984 per semester

You may be able to waive the requirement for SHIP if you already have an alternative, equivalent health insurance policy. You can read the waiver requirements on this webpage, noting the additional criteria for international students under point IV. You can begin a waiver application on this webpage.

Find out more on Berkeley's SHIP FAQ webpage.


Get a COVID-19 vaccination

Entering the United States:

It is currently not mandatory to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the United States. Visit the TravelHealthPro website for the latest updates.

Berkeley Vaccination Mandate:

The University of California have confirmed that all in-person students must have received a COVID-19 vaccination and booster jab that has been approved by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organisation (WHO).

More information can be found on Berkeley's COVID-19 vaccination webpage.

  • Exemptions will only be granted to those with medical or religious mitigating circumstances.
  • You will be able to access the campus as long as you have booked the necessary vaccinations.
  • If you are unable to begin or complete a vaccination course before leaving your home country, you will be able to get vaccinated once in the United States. Find out more on the COVID-19 vaccination webpage.

Confirm other vaccinations and get screened for TB

All students at UCB must satisfy the university's TB and immunisation requirements. You must have had vaccines for the following:

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
  • Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Meningococcal conjugate

You will also be expected to complete an online TB screening questionnaire.

The deadline to submit your immunisation and TB clearance records is 31 July 2022.

For more information and submission instructions, visit the mandatory TB and immunisation programme webpage.

Course enrolment

Course enrolment will take place from 14 July (12.00pm PST) through to 30 July 2022 (5.00pm PST). During this period you will confirm your course choices for your year at Berkeley.

The course enrolment period can be a hectic time, so it is well worth familiarising yourself with the key systems and procedures ahead of time. Visit the course enrolment webpages for guidance.

  • As long as you meet any academic prerequisites, you can request to join graduate-level courses. However, the majority of your choices should be undergraduate-level courses.
  • If a course is oversubscribed, it is established practice for unenrolled students to attend the first lecture regardless. This is known as 'crashing'. When crashing a lecture, make yourself known to the professor and request permission to join the course, explaining your interest in doing so.
  • When speaking to professors (either in person or over email) it is important that you make a strong case as to why you should be allowed to join an oversubscribed course. Explain how you will bring value to their classroom. Mention your status as an international student, emphasising how you can bring a different perspective to the table. You may also like to mention what relevant courses or research you have undertaken at LSE, and how these have gven you unique insight into the themes of the relevant course.

Further information on course enrolment can be found here.

Your time at Berkeley:

Arrival and orientation

You can arrive in the US up to 30 days before the programme start date printed on your DS-2019.

You must attend two mandatory orientation sessions:

Document checks

All exchange students are required to confirm their arrival in the United States and provide their US address and phone information in order to activate their immigration records. You must complete these checks before the first day of class.

Visit the arrival confirmation webpage for more information.