Carnegie Mellon University

Pre-Arrival Instructions & Information

Now that you've been offered admission at CMU, it's time to begin completing some important steps in order to receive the proper immigration documents required to travel to the U.S. and maintain legal status once you're in the U.S. Below, you'll also find some other tasks to complete before you arrive on campus. 

Step 1Accept Admission to CMU

Undergraduate students who are accepted to CMU will receive an offer letter from Undergraduate Admission. The letter will contain instructions for enrolling and paying an admission deposit. Questions about admission may be directed to

Graduate students who are accepted will receive a letter of acceptance from their academic department. Students should inform their department of their plans to enroll by the preferred method outlined in the letter of acceptance. Admission-related questions may be directed to the academic department.

Step 2Review Estimated Expenses

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. 


Step 3Document Your Financial Support

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.


Step 4Submit All Required Forms/Documents in MyOIE Portal

Using your Andrew User ID and have your financial documents prepared, you will submit the New Student Initial Document Request E-Form via the MyOIE Portal in order to receive a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) from Carnegie Mellon.

If you have issues finding your Andrew User ID, contact Undergraduate Admission (undergraduate students) or your academic department (graduate students). 

View Instructions

Step 5Receive Your Immigration Document (I-20 or DS-2019)

OIE will prepare your immigration document, which is your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019), after receiving your financial support documents and New Student Initial Document Request E-Form, as well as confirmation of enrollment from Undergraduate Admission or the admitting academic department (graduate students). OIE's goal is to process the I-20 or DS-2019 within 6 weeks of receiving all necessary information. 


Step 6Pay the SEVIS Fee

If you are not currently in F-1 or J-1 status, you will need to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) fee in order to obtain a student visa, enter the U.S. in student status or change to student status.

Information on SEVIS fee payment will also be included with the immigration document you receive from OIE. 

View details & instructions

Step 7Apply for a U.S. Visa

You will use the Carnegie Mellon I-20 or DS-2019 to apply for an entry visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is closest to your place of residence. When applying at the embassy or consulate (and when at the U.S. Port of Entry), be prepared to present proof of your financial support and to discuss your future intent to return to your home country after your program completion.

View details & instructions

Additional Preparations

There are a few other things you might want to do or know before traveling to the U.S., like being prepared to address immigration or visa issues during your travel, preparing for the climate and packing appropriately, knowing what currency to carry during your travels, and learning how to send packages to CMU to pick-up upon your arrival. 

Learn more