Visas and I-20

Step 2: Statement of Intent to Register (SIR)

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 Statement of Intent to Register form and the Tuition Deposit payment site.
Both the Statement of Intent to Register and Deposit need to be turned in to reserve your space. 


Statement of Intent to Register Due Dates
Graduate Students:
Undergraduate Students:

Step 3: Declaration of Finances and Visa Form

This form will be available in the application after you submit SIR. This is to apply for the certificate of eligibility (I-20). Since Spring 2021 is all online we are not accepting DOF submissions from students who do not currently have any U.S. visa status and who are outside the U.S. The Fall 2021 DOF sumbission will resume in February 2021.

All students who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must complete the online Declaration of Finances form after they have been accepted and submitted their Statement of Intention to Register (SIR) form. This 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.

2-4 Weeks

Finances and Visa Form FAQ

  • Yes, we could. Please email us the date you can complete the DOF.

  • Please upload one document first, then "Save for later". Then, when you go back to the form you will see the upload button for more documents as well as the option to delete the already uploaded documents.

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

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. The total estimated expenses for the academic year 2020-2021 is: $65,895 for MA in Aesthetics and Politics program and $76,425 for all other degree programs (without dependents).  You may need additional financial documents when you apply for F-1 visa at the US Embassy/Consulate. 

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

Yes, you do. In addition, 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 doesn’t have 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 US you can download it.

Step 4: I-20 Issuance

After Office of International Students & Programs issues I-20, you will have access to your I-20 through your application portal. Due to COVID-19, as of March 25, 2020 you are allowed to receive an I-20 electronically. Please read the instruction page carefully when you receive your I-20.

 You will be able to access your new I-20 from your application portal. Or we can email it to your CalArts email address.

We are canceling all Spring 2021 I-20s (except for SEVIS transfer studetns who are in the U.S.). You will need to complete a new Declaration of Finances form with new financial support documentation for Fall 2021 if CalArts is hybrid/in-person.  We will contact you with more information in early February.

If you already have a visa interview appointment we suggest you reschedule it. F-1 visa could be issued up to 120 days before the program start date.

If you already got an F-1 visa it's OK to use it when you enter the U.S. for a future semester.

1-3 Weeks

I-20 Issuance FAQ

  • We will digitally issue you an I-20 with future program dates, but we may require additional documents from you in order to issue the new I-20. Your SEVIS ID number will remain the same, and if you already have a visa, you can still use your visa stamp for travel when you begin on-campus in the future. The Office of International Students and Programs will contact you by email with details regarding your I-20.

If you have questions please let us know at

Once we approve your DOF with supplemental documents we will issue your I-20 in 2-4 weeks. CalArts will email you when it's ready. You can access it from your application 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 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.

U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are in agreement with SEVP in developing the policy to accept the use of electronic I-20s during the current COVID-19 period.

If and when a paper I-20 with a wet signature is needed for visa issuance or entry to the U.S. we will email you the shipping instructions.

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

  • Please monitor the U.S. Embassy/Consulates' website in your country carefully for their services and operations. Department of State announces all updates on their website.
  • As they resume issuance of student visas you will be able to proceed with your application.
  • 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.

Please check the U.S. VIsas News page by the U.S. Department of State for most updated information.

Your F-1 visa should not expire if you defer your admission or enroll online from your home country. 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. 

Whether you are approved for a visa and able to come to CalArts in Fall 2021 will depend on several factors beyond our control, so we are not able to guarantee that this will happen. We will, however, do everything possible to provide you with the most up to date information available regarding the spring semester, and we will provide you with everything you need to apply for a visa in your home country.

No. The current flexibility CalArts is offering with online and hybrid courses is a temporary response to COVID-19. CalArts does not offer fully online degrees.

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.