Visas and I-20

Step 2: Decision Reply Form and Tuition Deposit

You will be notified by email when your decision is ready to view. Decision letters are viewed by logging back into the application and clicking the View Your Admission Decision link (please make sure pop-up windows are allowed). If admitted, your letter will contain instructions on accessing the Decision Reply form and the Non-refundable Tuition Deposit payment site.
Both the Decision Reply form and Deposit need to be turned in to reserve your space. 

Tuition Deposit and Decision Reply Form Due Dates
Graduate Students: April 15
Undergraduate Students: May 1

Step 3: Declaration of Finances and Visa Form

A few days after you submit the Decision Reply Form and pay the deposit, you will receive an email with instructions on using the International Student Portal. This is to apply for the certificate of eligibility (I-20).

All students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must complete the online Declaration of Finances (DOF) form after they have been accepted and submitted their Decision Reply form. This DOF form is to verify that you have sufficient financial resources to pay all educational and living expenses while attending the California Institute of the Arts.

We encourage international students to be fully prepared to fund their education and living expenses for the entire length of their time at CalArts. International students coming to the U.S. on a student visa are expected to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available to them to support their living costs as well as their educational expenses while in the U.S.

4 Weeks

Finances and Visa Form FAQ

Please email us. We can reset your form so you can upload what you forgot.

  • Please submit a new DOF form.
  • Please submit financial statements that are issued within 3 months of the submission date.

You need to submit additional documentation. Please contact us as soon as possible at

  • Liquid accounts such as checking, saving, and certificate of deposit accounts.
  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, life insurance, and retirement accounts are not acceptable accounts.
  • ATM receipts are not accepted.

The amount should be well above the estimated expenses for the academic year. Based on the expenses for the last academic year, the total estimated expenses for the academic year 2022-2023 on I-20 is: $66,594 for MA in Aesthetics and Politics program and $77,444 for all other degree programs (without dependents). You may need additional financial documents when you apply for F-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. 

You will have to translate the whole statement into English and attach it to the bank statement. We will calculate the equivalent U.S. dollar amount based on the exchange rate on the day we review your documents.

Yes, you do. In addition if your sponsor is not your parent, you and your relative need to complete the Affidavit of Sponsor form and get it notarized to verify the identification of your relative.

Email confirmation of CalArts scholarship is OK. You will need an official letter of scholarship confirmation from other organization. A PDF letter is OK.

CalArts does not have a J-1 student program. Please contact us at

Please upload the passport you will be using to apply for F-1 visa. 

If you are in the U.S. you can download it.

Step 4: I-20 Issuance

After the Office of International Students & Programs issues the I-20, you will have access to your I-20 through the International Student Portal ( Please read the instruction page carefully when you receive your I-20. It explains how you should print the I-20 on paper and sign it.

1-3 Weeks

I-20 Issuance FAQ

  • You must submit a new DOF with new supporting documents for Fall 2022. After everything is reviewed and accepted, we will issue your new I-20 digitally.  You will have access to it from the International Student Portal. If we prepared your I-20 for the previous semester but you weren't able to use it, your SEVIS ID number may remain the same.
  • SEVIS transfer students who have deferred admission will be issued a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number.

If you have questions please let us know at

Once we approve your DOF with supplemental documents we will issue your I-20 in 4 weeks. CalArts will email you when it's ready. You can access it from International Student Portal. 

Please email us at if you have a visa interview coming up within the next 3 days.

  • Yes, please print all 3 pages of your I-20.
  • Sign and date on page 1 with a pen.
  • Staple all pages together.
  • You can keep it with your passport.
  • You will need your I-20 and other documents such as bank statements to apply for the F-1 visa.

Yes. You will need the information on your I-20 including SEVIS number and school code etc. to make a payment/appointment.

The SEVIS fee is separate from DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application and the associated fee.

No, unless specifically requested by your consulate/embassy. As of March 25, 2020, I-20's may be issued and distributed digitally. 

Step 5: SEVIS Fee and F-1 Visa

After receiving the I-20, you will pay the SEVIS fee and make an appointment for F-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. 

  1. Make sure all I-20 information is correct.
  2. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee. You will need your SEVIS ID number on your I-20.
  3. Apply for F-1 Visa 


F-1 Visa FAQ

  • You may be able to request expedited processing, although it's not guaranteed.  Please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate for their policy on expedited processing of F-1 visa.

  • CalArts does not have a late start policy at this time.

Your F-1 visa should not expire if you defer your admission. You can still use your visa stamp for your travel when you start on-campus in a future semester. We will need to issue you a new I-20 with future program dates. 

No. You can use your old F-1 visa if it’s still not expired when you enter the US. In general, the earliest date you can enter with your I-20 Is 30 days before the session start date on your I-20. Make sure your F-1 visa is valid when you travel.  If you are a SEVIS transfer student you can travel to the U.S. anytime after the transfer process is completed.

If your CalArts I-20 has a new SEVIS ID number you have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. If your new I-20 has the same SEVIS ID number as your last one you don’t pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.

Please match your I-20 with your passport.

Not necessarily, however, it is the most common way. Sometimes it takes a long time to apply for a visa in another country other than your home country. Please contact the American Embassy/Consulate for your particular situation.

Step 6: International Student Orientation

 International Student Orientation online modules will be available 2 weeks before the courses begin within the CalArts Online Orientation. We will update you via email.