Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program students who do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency must complete the Application for a Visa Certificate prior to matriculating at the School of General Studies. International students are also required to be enrolled full-time (12 or more points per semester) throughout their tenure at the School of General Studies.

Consult the International Students and Scholars Organization page for information about making the transition to Columbia, the international student orientation program, and other activities for international students.

Applying for a Visa

Upon admission, international students must complete the online Application for Visa Certificate.

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) offers many services for the international community of students, interns, and scholars at Columbia University. The ISSO provides immigration-related and document services including the Application for Visa certificate.

In addition to a complete Application for Visa Certificate, students must submit the following documents with official English translations to the ISSO:

  • a copy of the identification page of the student's passport
  • a copy of the student's letter of admission from the School of General Studies
  • a letter from the student describing how his or her course of study will be financed
  • financial documentation that covers all expenses for one year and describes reasonable means of support for future years

The processing of a new I-20 form takes 10 to 15 days at the ISSO after it has received a complete application. If First Class mail service to the student's location takes an additional 15 to 23 days, the student's I-20 form should be expected to arrive within 25 to 38 days from the day the ISSO receives the request. Be sure to allow for time delays.


Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office
524 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
Telephone: (212) 854-3587
Fax: (212) 854-3966
Email: [email protected]