Visas and Registration Requirements

People admitted to study at Columbia University who are not United States citizens or permanent residents must be a full-time student at Columbia - registered for at least 6 points of credit-bearing courses in a six week session or 12 points of credit-bearing courses in the entire 12-week summer period - in order to be eligible for a student (F-1) visa.

Eligible international students who wish to apply for an F-1 visa should do so immediately after they have received their letter of admission to the School of Professional Studies by contacting the International Students and Scholars Office at Columbia (below) at least three months before the first day of class. Students will then be sent information about obtaining an F-1 visa. Once in the United States in F-1 status, students must register for at least 6 points of credit-bearing courses, during the registration period, and remain so registered throughout the course of the session. If a student neglects to do this, or if a student falls below the 6-point minimum during the course of a session, the student will be reported in violation of F-1 regulations to the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Visitors to the United States in B-1, B-2, WB or WT status are not allowed to enroll in classes at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies.

International students who require a student (F-1) visa to study at Columbia are required to pay an International Services fee.

For questions about individual cases please contact:

International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
212-854-3587
isso@columbia.edu
www.columbia.edu/cu/isso

Do You Need Visa Sponsorship from Columbia?

Unless one of the four situations below applies to you, you need to complete a new I-20 for visa sponsorship:

  1. You are a student in F-1 or J-1 status at another U.S. institution and you will be returning there to continue your studies in the fall.
  2. You are completing an academic program at another U.S. institution in F-1 status and the summer session will end before your 60-day grace period expires.
  3. You are on F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) and are interested in non-degree courses during the summer in your free time.
  4. You are in the U.S. in another legal immigration status that allows you to study incident to that status. This includes all non-immigrant statuses except B1/B2 or visitor status under the visa waiver program (ESTA) and F-2.