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Apply for your Visa

Applying for Your Student Visa / I-20

Most students at the ALP need an F-1 visa. To get your F-1, you need an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility form) from Columbia.

After the ALP admits you, you can begin your application for the I-20.

Here is what you need to apply:

  1. ALP admission letter
  2. Permanent address (your address in your home country)
  3. Financial documents (bank statement)

    The bank statement must be in English and be less than three months old. It must be from a checking or savings account and must show that you have enough money to pay for tuition, fees and living expenses.

    Please see the Program page to check how much money is necessary for your program.

    If another person will pay for you, they will provide the bank statement. This person is your sponsor.
  4. Living Expenses for Dependents

    If you request an I-20 for your dependents (a spouse or children), please keep in mind that the bank statement, or a sponsorship letter, must also include the following living expenses:

    $1,000 per month per spouse, and/or
    $500 per month per child
  5. Sponsor letter

    If you are sending your own bank statement you do not need a sponsor letter.

    If you have a sponsor, you will need a sponsor letter (Affidavit of Support).

    The letter must say that your sponsor will give you full financial support during your studies at the ALP. The sponsor letter must be in English and be less than three months old. It must also be signed by the sponsor.

    To help with this letter, you can use our Affidavit of Support form.
  6. Copy of your passport’s identification page.

    The page in your passport that shows your photograph, your name, and your date of birth.

Receiving your I-20 from the ALP

Electronic I-20s are now accepted, so your I-20 will be emailed to you. You will then need to print and sign it before your visa appointment.

However, if you need a physical copy of your I-20, use these instructions to set up and pay for shipping. 

Transfer students: If you already have an F-1 visa and are attending another school, you must also transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to the ALP. Please speak to your Advisor at your current school.

If you are not sure about your immigration status, please email us: alpvisa [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.

Students: Have all of your Documents Ready?


Agents: Have all of your Documents Ready?


    Forms for New ALP Students

    Forms for Current ALP Students

    Here are links to common processes for F-1 students:

    • Just arrived? Welcome! Now you need to report your first arrival in the U.S.:
      Report your arrival
    • Are you continuing into the next session? If your I-20 is expiring, then you need an extension:
      Extend your I-20
    • Did you move into a dorm, apartment, or house? The U.S. Government needs to know:
      Change of U.S. address
    • Do you have a spouse or child? They need to be added to your record:
      Add a new dependent
    • Are you going to a different school? You need to complete a transfer-out form:
      Transfer-out request

    Immigration Advising

    To get advice on your status and for help getting and maintaining your F-1 visa:

    email us at alpvisa [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu 

    call us at 212 854-3586

    visit us in 504 Lewisohn Hall