Coming to Carnegie Mellon-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Coming to Carnegie Mellon

Applying to Carnegie Mellon

International (non-US citizens) student applicants follow the same procedures for admission to Carnegie Mellon as US citizens.

Complete information on applying to both undergraduate and graduate programs is available from Carnegie Mellon Prospective Students.

Return from Leave of Absence

If you are returning from a leave of absence you must do the following:
Undergraduates Students must:

  1. Contact Enrollment Services
  2. Contact Office of International Education to request the International Student Information Form and Affidavit of Financial Support. Return these forms to OIE, with the required financial statements for processing of a new Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019).
Graduate Students must:
  1. Contact the appropriate department for approval to return and to request the International Student Information Form and Affidavit of Financial Support. Return the International Student Information Form and Affidavit of Financial Support to OIE, with the required financial statements for processing of a new Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019).
Consult the OIE handout (.pdf) for further information on Leaves of Absence.

Non-Degree Studies

Non-immigrant visa documents (I-20s or DS-2019s) will only be issued for students admitted to Carnegie Mellon to pursue a specific educational objective such as a degree program or to participate in a formal exchange. Students who register as non-degree students at Carnegie Mellon are not eligible to receive immigration documents including the I-20 and DS-2019 forms.

Exchange Students

Exchange students may attend Carnegie Mellon 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. 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.

For further arrival, orientation, driver's license, and housing information for exchange students, please consult the Settling in Guide

Following are the steps you will take once you are accepted to Carnegie Mellon:

Accept Carnegie Mellon's Offer of Admission

Undergraduates will receive the offer letter from the Undergraduate Admission Office and return the acceptance of admission form to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Graduate students will receive their letter of acceptance from the academic department. You must inform your department of your enrollment plans by the method outlined in the letter of acceptance.

Submit Required Forms

Along with the offer of admission you will receive the required forms that all international students must complete in order to receive their Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) from Carnegie Mellon.
Complete and return:

  1. The International Student Information Form
  2. Affidavit of Financial Support along with original supporting financial documents (see below for acceptable documentation)
  3. Copy of passport identification page(s)

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

Estimated 2017-2018 Expenses


Room & Board
Health Insurance
Books + Supplies


$ 1,178
$  1,979
$  2,400



Living Expenses
Health Insurance
Books + Supplies

Contact academic department

$    834
$  1,979
$  2,212
$24,870 + Tuition

Dependents (if applicable) Spouse
One child
Each additional child

*Past expenses can be found at The HUB.*

Document Your Financial Support

To demonstrate each source of your financial support, follow the instructions below. Provide official translation of documents not originally in English. Attach these documents to your Affidavit of Financial Support. Keep two original copies of these documents for yourself. They will be needed when applying to the US Consulate or Embassy for a student visa and/or to present to border officials upon entry to the US.

Supporting financial documents must be:

  1. in English,
  2. original documentation (no copies, faxes or scans),
  3. dated less than 6 months old, and
  4. clearly state the name of the account holder and the amount of funding available in U.S. dollar equivalent.  If unable to obtain a statement or bank letter with US dollar value, OIE will convert the value upon review.

You may count 50% of the value for stocks, bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit and similar investments. Neither the value of property nor the proposed sale of such property counts as evidence of financial support. OIE will not accept Chartered Accountant statements, life insurance policies or retirement accounts.

Notarized statements are not required.

Failure to provide the information or supporting documentation required by OIE will result in a delay in processing your I-20 or DS-2019.

Source of Funds Documentation Required
Carnegie Mellon University Copy of award letter
Other Scholarship

Original letter from the agency awarding the scholarship, addressed to CMU, in your name and clearly stating in your name and indicating the precise amount awarded, the duration of the award and other terms of the award dated no more than six months prior.

Personal Funds

An original bank statement or letter on official bank letterhead issued within six months clearly stating your name, the current available balance and type of currency. (If not in US dollar value, OIE will convert upon review.)

An educational loan is acceptable for financial support.  The official letter from the loan issuing agency must be on loan agency letterhead.  The letter needs to clearly indicate the loan as ‘approved’ or ‘sanctioned.’

Family/Private Sponsor TWO DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
  • Affidavit of Financial Support indicating the precise amount of financial support promised to you and the number of years the support will continue signed and dated by the sponsor.
  • An original bank statement issued within six months clearly stating the name of the sponsor, a balance equal to or greater than the amount promised, and the type of currency. OR A letter on official bank letterhead clearly stating the name of the account holder, amount of available funds and signed and dated by a bank official.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

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 US in student status or change to student status. Information on SEVIS fee payment will also be included with your document. General information can be found at SEVIS Fee FAQs.

Applying for a US Visa

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 the United States Embassy or Consulate nearest your place of residence. You will also need to bring proof of finances and evidence that you intend to return to your home country when you complete your studies (e.g. proof of property, family and/or job or job opportunity in your home country) with you to the Consulate and carry it with you when you travel to the US.

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

Comprehensive information on applying for a US visa is available on the US Department of State web site. In particular, you may wish to consult the visa wait times or the individual consular websites for post-specific visa application procedures.

In case of a denial, ask that the reason be given to you in writing before you leave the consulate. In this way only can you address the US Consulate concern 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 Consulate.

Some visa applicants may be subject to security clearance checks. These checks may take 30 to 45 days to be processed. If you are notified that your visa application will be delayed because of administrative processing or security clearance, please notify Office of International Education.

Coming to Carnegie Mellon from Outside the US

Upon your arrival in the US, you will have your fingerprints scanned and your photograph taken at the port of entry as part of the US VISIT procedure. A Customs and Border Protection inspector should then process your I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 Arrival Record (stamping them with an entry stamp that should include the notation "F-1 D/S" or "J-1 D/S") and staple the I-94 into your passport.

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

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

Coming to Carnegie Mellon from Within the US

Immigration Transfer

If you are currently an F-1 or J-1 student at any school in the US you must request that your SEVIS record be released to Carnegie Mellon. 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. However, this should not be done until 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 cancelled. Notify OIE of your mailing address for delivery of the document after the release date.

If you plan to leave the US and reenter to attend Carnegie Mellon and if your F or J entry visa in your passport is not valid, you should present the Carnegie Mellon I-20 or DS-2019, along with financial proof and proof of your intent to return home, to a consular officer at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad to obtain a new entry visa. You will also need to show this form to the Customs and Border Protection inspector upon entry to the US.

If you are planning to leave the US and reenter to attend Carnegie Mellon and your F or J entry visa is valid, you need not apply for a new visa.  You will present the unexpired visa stamp, Carnegie Mellon I-20 or DS-2019 and financial proof to the inspecting officer upon entry to the US.

If you are not in F or J status

If you are currently in the US in another immigration status, please contact your Carnegie Mellon OIE Advisor to discuss your options.

Changing Visa Status

Individuals who are currently in the US in a visa status other than F-1 or J-1 may want or need to change to 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 US Consulate or Embassy abroad and re-entering the US 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 US 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 International Student Information Form so that OIE can provide you with the appropriate instructions and advice.

Those who are considering a change of status are encouraged to discuss their situation with an OIE Advisor. Phone appointments are available for those who cannot come to campus.  Call (412) 268-5231 to set up a phone appointment.

Mandatory Immigration Check-in

All incoming international students are required to attend a mandatory immigration session and check-in with OIE. Immigration sessions are offered during our regular orientation (see below). If you are unable to attend our regular orientation, you must contact OIE and make alternative arrangements.

International Student Orientation

All incoming international students are required to attend the International Student Orientation. The Office of International Education (OIE) offers separate orientation programs for incoming undergraduate and graduate students in August prior to the beginning of each academic year. Spring and summer orientation are offered in January and May. Additional information about orientation programs will be included with your immigration document.

If you are not an international student but a US Permanent Resident (green card holder) or a US Citizen who has lived abroad, you are welcome to attend International Student Orientation. If you are interested in attending International Student Orientation, please e-mail Office of International Education to let us know.

For more information on arriving on campus and getting settled, you can check the Settling in Guides created to acclimate new international students to life in the US and Pittsburgh. These guides include information about housing, money issues in the US, transportation and many other helpful tips and resources. We hope they will help you in your transition to life in the US.

English Language Training and Support

The Intercultural Communication Center (ICC) provides language training and support for all CMU students who are nonnative English speakers (including international students, permanent residents and US citizens, students who attended high school in the US, and speakers of other varieties of English) language placement for new students, and an intensive summer language program for incoming graduate students.

Last Updated On:  February 10, 2017