Carnegie Mellon University

Initial Steps & Document Requests

Below are the steps new international students will need to take after being accepted to Carnegie Mellon:

Undergraduates who are accepted will receive an offer letter from the Office of Admission; the Acceptance of Admission form must be returned to the Office of Admission.

Graduate students who are accepted will receive a letter of acceptance from their academic department. The department must be informed of a student's enrollment plans by the preferred method outlined in the letter of acceptance.

U.S. government regulations require international students to prove the availability of sufficient funding to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and have a reasonable expectation that the same level of support will be available in subsequent years in order to qualify for non-immigrant student status. Therefore, you should consider how you will fund your studies for the entire length of your program. 

Before submitting documents proving your sufficient financial support, it is important to understand the estimated cost of attending Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the requirements for the financial documentation. 

Undergraduate Student Estimated Expenses for I-20/DS-2019 Issuance (Pittsburgh Campus)

Expense Type


Dependent Expense (if applicable)

Dependent Amount

Tuition $59,864 Spouse $9,264
Fees $1,480 1st Child $6,996
Room & Board $16,796 Each Additional Child $4,548
Health Insurance $2,263
Books & Supplies $2,400
Total $82,803

Graduate Student Estimated Expenses for I-20/DS-2019 Issuance

Expense Type

Pittsburgh Campus

Silicon Valley Campus

New York Campus

Tuition Contact Academic Dept. Contact Academic Dept. Contact Academic Dept.
Fees $928 $928 $450
Room & Board $25,515 $30,108 $28,067
Health Insurance $2,263 $2,263 $2,263
Books & Supplies $2,212 $2,212 $2,212
Total $30,918 + Tuition $35,511 + Tuition $32,992 + Tuition

Additional Dependent Expenses (if applicable)

Spouse $9,264 $9,264 $9,264
1st Child $6,996 $6,996 $6,996
Each Additional Child $4,548 $4,548 $4,548

To demonstrate each source of your financial support, scan your original financial documents (acceptable documents are listed below) and upload the scanned copy in the MyOIE Portal where requested (see Step 4). Keep one original copy of these documents for yourself; they may be needed when applying to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy for a student visa and/or to present to border officials upon entry to the U.S.


  1. The date, which must be no more than six months in the past.
  2. The name of the account holder.
  3. The account type (example: savings, fixed deposit, etc).
  4. The type of currency (example: Euro, RMB, INR, SGD). If not in U.S. dollars, OIE will convert the currency amount to U.S. dollars to assess the amount of funding shown.

*If financial documentation cannot be issued in English, a certified English language translation needs to be provided along with the original document. Self translations to English are not accepted. 

Acceptable financial documentation:

  • Bank statement from a deposit account (example: checking, savings, deposit account).
  • Letter from a bank on bank letterhead.
  • An official letter from a loan-issuing agency, on loan agency letterhead, clearly indicating your loan is 'approved' or 'sanctioned.'
  • Original letter from a scholarship awarding agency, indicating your name as the award receipient, and indicating the precise amount awarded, the duration of the award, and other terms of the award. The letter must be dated no more than six months in the past.
  • The value of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and similar investments will be counted at 50% value.
  • A sponsor's annual salary, noted on a letter from the employer, will be counted at 50% value.
  • Notarized statements are accepted, but not required.

Unacceptable financial documentation:

  • Planned or future U.S. employment
  • The value of property, jewelry, or other personal belongings
  • The proposed sale of property, jewelry, or other personal belongings
  • Chartered Accountant statements 
  • Life insurance policies
  • Tax return documentation
  • Retirement accounts
  • Public or Private Provident Funds (PPF) are unacceptable, unless a letter is provided that clearly states a specific amount of funding available for educational purposes.
  • Loan documentation that notes any loan status other than 'approved' or 'sanctioned' 
  • Paystubs/payroll statements are unacceptable. However, we can accept an annual salary, noted on a letter from the employer, that will be counted at 50% value.

If OIE has any questions about your submitted documentation, our staff will contact you directly via email (to your Andrew ID email account). Please regularly monitor your Andrew email account for any correspondences from our office.

Once you have received your First Pass email (containing your Andrew ID), with the offer of admission, and have your financial documents prepared, you should submit the New Student Initial Document Request e-Form in the MyOIE Portal in order to receive a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) from Carnegie Mellon. Please know that if you just received your Andrew ID, please wait three business days for your student record information to become fully available and accessible through the MyOIE portal.

In the MyOIE Portal, you will be required to submit your financial support documents. To submit, scan your original financial documents (see Step 3 for a list of acceptable documents) and upload the scanned copy in the MyOIE Portal where requested. Keep one original copy of these documents for yourself; they may be needed when applying to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy for a student visa and/or to present to border officials upon entry to the U.S.

Incomplete applications require follow-up and will lead to increased processing times. Please review your application to ensure that all required forms have been properly completed. If OIE has any questions about your submitted documentation, our staff will contact you directly via email (to your Andrew ID email account). Please regularly monitor your Andrew email account for any correspondences from our office.

Students who receive government funding and whose government has sent a written request for J status will receive a DS-2019 form, which will be used to apply for a J-1 student visa. All other students will receive an I-20 form that will be used to apply for an F-1 visa.

OIE's goal is to process the I-20/DS-2019 within 6 weeks of receiving ALL necessary information from the student and the Office of Admissions and/or the admitting academic department. 

Note for New Undergraduate Students: OIE will prepare your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) during the months of May through July after receiving complete information, financial documents and confirmation of enrollment deposit from the Office of Admission.

When the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) is ready, OIE will send you an email with your SEVIS ID information along with your document details. OIE will distribute new I-20's electronically via email (to your Andrew email account) once the document has been issued. At this time, we are not planning to mail documents unless required to by the US government.

If you are not currently in F-1 or J-1 status, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee (pdf) in order to obtain a student visa, enter the U.S. in student status, or change to student status. Information on the SEVIS fee payment will also be included with your immigration document from OIE. General information can be found on the Study in the States website. 

If you are a new student coming to Carnegie Mellon from overseas, you should use the Carnegie Mellon DS-2019 or I-20 to apply for an entry visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate nearest your place of residence. You should be prepared to present proof of finances and to talk about your future intent to return to your home country (e.g. proof of property, family and/or job or job opportunity in your home country) after your program completion, both at the Embassy/Consulate and at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not require entry visas for study in the U.S., but must present the I-20 or DS-2019 and financial information when entering the U.S. Landed immigrants of Canada must travel with a passport and obtain a U.S. visa in order to enter the U.S.

Comprehensive information on applying for a U.S. visa is available on the US Department of State website. In particular, you may wish to consult the visa wait times or the individual consular websites for post-specific visa application procedures.  We also encourage you to review this list of ten points to remember when for applying for your visa.

In case of a denial, ask that the reason be given to you in writing before you leave the consulate. This way you can address the US Embassy/Consulate's concerns if and when you return for a second interview. Additionally, in case of a denial, contact Office of International Education for advice and new forms, if necessary, BEFORE returning to the US Embassy/Consulate.

Some visa applicants may be subject to security clearance checks. These checks may take 4 to 6 weeks to be processed. If you are notified that your visa application will be delayed because of "Administrative Processing" or "Security Clearance," please email the Office of International Education with: 

  1. Your Name and Date of Birth, as they appear on your passport
  2. A copy of the notice, as soon as you receive this notice from the Embassy/Consulate
  3. The date you applied for the visa
  4. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate location at which you applied 
  5. Your passport number

Documents to Carry for Entry to the U.S.

  1. Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid at all times and at least 6 months into the future to enter the US.
  2. Valid I-20 or DS-2019: The I-20/DS-2019 needs to be from the school you are attending or will attend upon entry. The document will not have a travel signature until you attend OIE orientation after arrival into the U.S. 
  3. Valid U.S. Entry Visa Sticker: The U.S. Entry Visa Sticker must have an expiration date in the future and a valid entry/multiple entries. Canadian citizens are exempt from entry visa requirements but must enter the U.S. with a passport.
  4. 1-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Confirmation: You may also be asked to present confirmation that you paid the I-901 SEVIS fee. You can print out a copy of this confirmation on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website. 
  5. Admission Letter

OIE recommends that you also include your financial documents/proof of necessary funds plus expenses in your carry-on and present them only if asked. Finances may be demonstrated by:

  1. A letter from your department stating the amount of funding you are receiving, or
  2. A letter from another financial sponsor stating the amount they are giving you, plus supporting financial documents, such as bank statements or salary statements. Personal funds can be demonstrated with relevant supporting documents.

Arriving in the U.S. 

Upon your arrival in the U.S., you will have your fingerprints scanned and your photograph taken at the Port of Entry. A Customs and Border Protection Officer should then inspect your I-20 or DS-2019 and stamp your passport with an entry stamp that should include the notation "F-1 D/S" or "J-1 D/S."

If you plan to enter the U.S. in a status other than F-1 or J-1, OIE recommends that you consult with our advisors prior to traveling to the U.S. to ensure that there are no immigration restrictions on your ability to study at Carnegie Mellon University.

Important: Do not seek to enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa or under the Visa Waiver program (WT) if you plan to study in the U.S. Immigration regulations prohibit B-1/B-2 visitors from beginning a course of study in the U.S.

After your arrival into the U.S., you should print and save your I-94 record and check to make sure that the information is correct.

Immigration Transfer

If you are currently an F-1 or J-1 student at a school in the U.S., you must request that your SEVIS Record "be released" to Carnegie Mellon University. Print the Transfer In Form (pdf) and follow the instructions. Your current I-20 or DS-2019 institutional sponsor (i.e. university or high school) will initiate the SEVIS transfer to Carnegie Mellon. The transfer SEVIS release date must be after you have completed your current academic program and/or any authorized post-completion employment and are admitted to Carnegie Mellon. Once your SEVIS record is released, any work authorization based on your previous degree program is canceled. 

If your F or J visa has expired, and you plan to depart the U.S. after completing your previous program and re-enter to attend Carnegie Mellon University, then you must apply for a new visa before you re-enter the U.S. See Apply for U.S. Visa section above.

If you plan to depart the U.S. and your F or J visa is valid, you may use your unexpired visa and your I-20/DS-2019 issued by OIE to re-enter the U.S. to attend Carnegie Mellon University.  

If You Are Not in F or J Status

If you are currently in the U.S. in another immigration status, please contact OIE to discuss your options.

Changing Visa Status

Individuals who are currently in the U.S. in a visa status other than F-1 or J-1 may want or need to change to an F-1 or J-1 student status to study at Carnegie Mellon. If you will travel internationally prior to coming to Carnegie Mellon, you can change your status by applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad and re-entering the U.S. in the new status. Refer to the OIE handout on Change of Status (pdf) for more details.

Those who do not plan to travel may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change of status. Instructions will be provided with your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Please be sure to indicate your current status on the New Student Initial Document Request e-Form so that OIE can provide you with the appropriate instructions and advice.

Those who are considering a change of status are strongly encouraged to discuss their situation with an OIE Advisor. Phone appointments are available for those who cannot come to campus. You may schedule an appointment using our online appointment scheduler.

Upon Arrival...

Attend International Student Orientation

All new, incoming international students are REQUIRED to attend the International Student Orientation. OIE offers separate orientation programs for undergraduate and graduate students in August prior to the beginning of each academic year. Spring and summer orientations are offered in January and May.

Additional information about orientation programs is available on OIE's website and will be included with your immigration document. 

If you are not an international student, but you are a U.S. Permanent Resident (green card holder) or a U.S. Citizen who has lived abroad, you are welcome to attend International Student Orientation. Those interested may send an email to

Enroll in English Language Training & Support

The Student Academic Success Center provides language training and support for all Carnegie Mellon University students who are nonnative English speakers (including international students, permanent residents and U.S. citizens, students who attended high school in the U.S., and speakers of other varieties of English) and language placement for new students.  

Return from Leave of Absence

If you are returning from a leave of absence, you are required to follow the instructions below.

The following steps apply to you if you are currently on an academic leave of absence and:  

  • Previously began your F-1 status at Carnegie Mellon and left the U.S. for your academic leave of absence OR
  • Never arrived to the U.S. to begin your F-1 status at Carnegie Mellon, but began your program remotely overseas and have since taken an academic leave of absence


  1. If you have not done so already, you must submit the Return from Leave of Absence (pdf) form. This is found on the HUB website under Forms and Guides, Registration and Academic record. This form should not be sent to OIE.
  2. After completing the above step, you must complete submit the "New Student Initial Document Request E-Form" under "Pre-Arrival" in the MyOIE portal.
  3. OIE will process the I-20/DS-2019 within four weeks of receipt of these forms and documents as well as notification of your approval to return.

All students who are returning from a leave of absence are required to complete an immigration check-in. This is required by the Department of Homeland Security to register your arrival at Carnegie Mellon. Follow instructions in the email you will receive from OIE to complete the mandatory check-in process. 

Consult OIE's Leave of Absence and Immigration Status (pdf) document for further information.

Incoming Fulbright & Exchange Students

Fulbright Students

Fulbright students' immigration documents are processed by the Fulbright program, however, you are welcome to share these documents, along with your Fulbright Award Letter, with OIE so that the office can keep them on file. Fulbright students are also invited to view the OIE Canvas course to find helpful information about Carnegie Mellon, view a recorded welcome, and register to attend a live welcome session via Zoom. If you have questions about submitting your documents or would like to sign up for the Canvas couse, contact Christine Menand at To learn more about on-campus resources for Fulbright students, reach out to your home department.  

Exchange Students

Exchange students may attend Carnegie Mellon University on a non-degree basis for one or two semesters. In order to attend, the student's home institution must have a signed, formal exchange agreement with Carnegie Mellon University. The home institution will provide the necessary application forms for the student to complete. OIE will issue the necessary immigration document upon receipt of the completed paperwork from the home institution and approval from the Carnegie Mellon host department.