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. You can find the step-by-step process here.

Key date schedule for housing, tuition, registration etc. is located here.


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 Form I-20 for F-1 Student Visas.

All students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must complete the online Declaration of Finances (DOF) forms after they have been accepted and submitted their Decision Reply form. Only students pursuing F-1 status need to submit financial documents, but all international students must submit the forms. 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.

Up to 4 Weeks

Finances and Visa Form FAQ

  • The recommended DOF deadline is June 1st. Please email us the date you can complete the DOF at

Please email us

  • If you deferred your admission, please complete a new DOF form.
  • Please submit new financial statements that are issued within 3 months of your submission date.
  • Keep in mind the amount you need to show for the I-20 may have changed from last term.

You need to submit additional documentation as directed in the forms for the dependent spouse or child, including a copy of their passport and additional finances to support their stay.

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

The amount should be at least the amount for estimated cost of attendance (tuition and living expenses) for one academic year.

Minimum amount you must show on a bank document and deadlines is located HERE

International students must meet the “off-campus” cost of living due to limited  on-campus housing options   


    Contact International Programs Office  for the one-semester exchange program tuition and fee cost

Students with dependents will be required to show additional funding. 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. We will see your scholarship in the system. For non-CalArts scholarships, you will need an official letter of scholarship confirmation from other organization confirming the amount given. 

Students approved for Fulbright or IIE will receive a DS-2019 directly from that organization. Students with substantial funding that is not personal/family funds, such as home country sponsorship, may be eligible for J-1 through CalArts. For any questions about eligibility for J-1, please contact us at

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

Students who have an active I-20 with another school in the U.S can transfer their I-20/SEVIS record to CalArts. The transfer is not automatic. Students need to give their CalArts acceptance letter and CalArts school code to their current school's international office and request the transfer, if eligible.After the transfer is made, CalArts can issue the student a transfer pending I-20 with the same SEVIS number. 

The CalArts SEVIS school code for transferring is LOS214F00423000.

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

  • If you are deferring Fall to Fall terms, you must submit a new DOF through the ISP Portal with new supporting documents for your new term, since the cost of attendance changes every year. You will have access to it from the International Student Portal. If we prepared your I-20 for a previous term but you weren't able to use it, we may be able to keep your SEVIS ID number the same. For deferring Fall to next Spring, you may not be required to show financial documents again.
  • 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 review and approve your DOF with supplemental documents we will issue your I-20 and email you when it's ready to be downloaded from your International Student Portal. 

The whole process of review and I-20 issurance could take up to 6 weeks during peak processing times, so it is advised to apply as early as possible. 

Yes, you will need to print your I-20 for the visa interview and to enter the U.S.

  • Sign and date on page 1 with a pen.
  • DSO (advisor) signatures can be electronic. This is accepted.
  • Keep your I-20 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 your unique 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 an F-1 Visa 


F-1 Visa FAQ

  • After you schedule a visa appointment, you may be able to request an expedited processing time, although it's not guaranteed.  Please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate for their requirements for requesting expedited processing of the F-1 visa.

  • No, CalArts does not have a late start policy at this time. 
  • You may not be permitted to enter the U.S if the start date on your I-20 has already passed. 

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. 

You can use your previously issued F-1 visa if it’s not expired when you enter the US. In general, the earliest date you can enter with your I-20 Is 30 days before the program 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 receiving your Transfer I-20 from CalArts. 

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 previous study then you don’t pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again.

Use the passport that you submitted with the DOF that matches your I-20. 

Not necessarily, however, it is the most common way.

Applying for a visa in another country other than your home country may be possible, but may have longer processing times or more scrutiny. 

Please contact the nearest American Embassy/Consulate for your particular situation.

Step 6: International Student Orientation

All new international students are required to attend the International Student orientation on-campus before the start of the term. A detailed orientation schedule will be provided as it gets closer. 

In June, the International Office will host a Pre-Arrival Webinar for new students, to discuss topics such as what to expect when you arrive, how to get to CalArts, and things you will need to take care of before classes begin. (Spring admits will have this webinar in November).

Pre-orientation modules will be released for Fall admits in early August (or early December for Spring admits) with information that students may need before they arrive. Topics include F-1 Status Basics, Understanding U.S Health Insurance, How to Get a Driver License, etc.