Congratulations on your admission to Columbia University! Now that you have been admitted to a fulltime program of study, we will help you get the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) you need to get a visa to study in the U.S. as an international student. Read the following questions and topics below to learn more about the process before proceeding (click the blue words to learn more).
A COE is an official document processed by educational institutions that certifies your eligibility for F-1 or J-1 student status to visa officers at U.S. consulates and immigration officers when arriving to the U.S. A COE is processed through SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), a government database.
Expect to wait four (4) weeks from the time a complete COE application is received. We have a very high volume of applications, and they are processed in the order received. If your program begins in May, June or July, your application will have priority over fall admission.
Please don’t contact us until 4 weeks have passed!
Your unique SEVIS number is generated when the I-20 or DS-2019 is processed. It will be emailed to you when your COE is ready to be shipped.
You will need the SEVIS number to:
The earliest you may arrive is thirty (30) days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. The program start date will be the first day of classes of the term for which you are admitted.
“Transfer” in this context simply means moving your F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record from one U.S. school to another
If you are studying in the American Language Program (ALP):
If you are studying English at another language school:
If you are studying in an English at another language school:
Most students at Columbia University are in F-1 status. J-1 status is less common and not all students are eligible for it.
Please review our Comparison Between F and J status chart if you are unsure of which status applies to you.