Application for Visa Certificate

Supporting Documentation

Submit your documents by email to issodocs@columbia.edu. Do not submit them to any other email address or by postal mail, fax or courier service.

The ISSO accepts scans of your documents although the University reserves the right to request original documents. The U.S. Department of State does not accept faxed, scanned or emailed Certificate of Eligibility forms for purposes of visa issuance.

How to send your supporting documents

By Email to: issodocs@columbia.edu

Scan your documents into ONE file in pdf format only. Submissions in any other format will not be accepted and reviewed. Do not send individual files (admission letter as one file, passport ID page as another file, etc.). Do not take photos with your phone and send .jpeg or .tiff files. You will receive an automated reply from the ISSO confirming that your email was received.

This email address is only for document submission. We do not reply to any messages included with your documents or to any other messages sent to this email address. Do not send your documents to any other email address; they will not be accepted and reviewed.

Everyone must submit the following documents:

  • Newly admitted students submit the letter or email of admission from the admissions office of your school
  • Students returning from a leave of absence must submit the letter or email approving their return to Columbia from the appropriate dean or student affairs officer of their school.
  • The identification page of your passport. If you do not have a passport, be sure to enter your name on the AVC form EXACTLY as it is on your passport application. Expired or soon to expire passports are accepted. You do not have to update your passport number until you arrive in the U.S.
  • A signed and dated letter from you describing how you will pay for your tuition, fees and living expenses for the first year of your studies and how you plan to pay for the following year(s)
  • A signed and dated letter from any person (for example, your parents or other relative) or any company or organization if that person or company or organization will provide any financial resources for your studies.
  • Documents that show that you have enough funds available now for your tuition, fees and living expenses for the first year of your studies. Bank statements must show the name of the account holder.
  • If you have received any financial award from your Columbia school, you must include the award letter.
  • Married students who request a dependent Certificate of Eligibility for their spouse and/or children under 21 years old must include the passport identification page of each dependent. If your dependent(s) do not have a passport, be sure to enter their name on the online application form EXACTLY as it is on their passport application.

Information about your funding documents

It is very important to remember that you must prove you can pay for your studies twice--first to the ISSO before we issue an I-20 and again to the Consular Officer who decides whether to issue your entry visa. Your funding documents must show that the estimated cost of tuition, fees and living expenses are readily available liquid assets. Readily available liquid assets include checking or savings accounts, money market accounts, or certificates of deposit (time deposits) with maturity dates of less than one year.

The following funding documents ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE under any circumstances: investment portfolios of any kind (equities, bonds, mutual funds, etc.), retirement plan accounts, tax returns or other tax filing documents, deeds to any real estate, leases with rental income, etc. If you plan to use money from the sale of investments or the sale of real estate or personal items (such as your car), you must sell the investment or property or item and place the proceeds of the sale into a checking or savings account, a money market account or a certificate of deposit (time deposit) with a maturity date of less than one year.

The ISSO cannot issue your I-20 until you have clearly shown that you have available funds that equal or exceed your estimated expenses for the year on the chart of Estimated Expenses 2014-2015. The chart of estimated expenses assumes 4.0% increase in 2013-2014 tuition.

Summer tuition is required for some programs in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the School of International and Public Affairs Program in Economic Policy Management and the Financial Engineering Master of Science program. Students who will plan to remain in the U.S. during the summer will need to document additional funds for their summer living expenses.

No applicant for an I-20 is permitted to use any expected employment in the U.S. as a source of funds for tuition, fees, or living expenses.

Students pay for their educational expenses in many ways and many students have more than one source of funding. The documents you submit will depend on how you plan to pay for your studies at Columbia; you do not have to submit a type of document if that is not how you are planning to pay your expenses. The amounts on your documents do not have to be in U.S. dollars; we will do a currency conversion. If your documents are not in English, you must include an official translation into English and the document in the original language. Please do not send original documents as we cannot return them to you. The required documents for each type of support are listed on the Chart of Required Documents for Types of Funding