Home The Apply for your I-20 / DS-2019

Apply for your I-20 / DS-2019

We are currently accepting applications for summer & autumn 2021

Processing time:

ISSO Morningside: 4 weeks
ISO CU Medical Center (CUIMC): 4 weeks

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Find answers to frequently asked questions about immigration.

FAQs for newly admitted students

On this page

List-ul-Symbolauthorization Bookmark iconBefore you apply Sticky note iconSupporting documents checklist Question circle iconask

What is a COE?

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an I-20 (F-1 status) or DS-2019 (J-1 status). You need a COE:

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to apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate.

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entering the United States for the first time in F-1 or J-1 status and to return to the United States from any overseas travel during your program.

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request a status change from another nonimmigrant status. Learn more about transitioning to student status in the United States.

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as proof of your F-1 or J-1 status upon arrival in the US.

authorization

List-ul-SymbolTo qualify for a COE, you must:
  1. be admitted to full-time study (and keep full-time enrollment in each semester)
  2. Document the funds to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for the first year of study and have a plan to fund additional time. Please see our Estimated Costs by Admissions Office for more information.
Child symbolF-1 status or J-1 status

Most students come to the United States with F-1 status.

If you receive at least 51% of your total expenses through a scholarship, you may be eligible for J-1. See our comparison chart to understand the benefits and limitations.

If you are eligible for both F-1 and J-1 status, we recommend that you choose F-1. If you are on a Columbia Scholarship, you don't have to attain J-1 status.

Before you apply

Do any of these situations apply to you?

Current F-1 student at another US school

Go to the Apply for Your Transfer I-20 page.

Current Columbia students embarking on a new academic program

If you are a current student at Columbia - or after completing a program at Columbia, taking an OPT after graduation - you should not apply through this page. Follow the instructions on our page to start a new program.

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Former students returning from Colombia after a temporary absence Return

If you are a former student returning from Colombia after a temporary vacation, you should not apply through this page. Follow the instructions on our vacation page.

Learn English in Columbia's American Language Program (ALP)
  1. Apply for your ALP I-20.
  2. Use ALP's I-20 to apply for your F-1 visa and enter the United States.
  3. Before you complete your ALP program, ALP will send you instructions on how to transfer your ALP SEVIS data set to the ISSO and how to apply for an I-20 for your program.
Study English at another school in the US
  1. Get your I-20 from your English as a Second Language (ESL) school.
  2. Apply for your F-1 visa and enter the United States using the I-20 of your ESL school.
  3. After your ESL program is complete, follow the F-1 transfer instructions to transfer your SEVIS record to the ISSO.

Current J-1 student at another US school

Go to the J-1 Student Transferring to Columbia page.

Bringing a spouse / child

Your spouse (and children under the age of 21) will need a dependent COE to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa. You will need to provide evidence of additional funding beyond your personal expenses. Your loved one's information will be part of your application and their COEs will be processed and sent to you at the same time.

Are you planning to get married

If you are not yet married at the time of application but will be married before your entry, you can include your future spouse in the application. However, you must be legally married at the time your spouse applies for an F-2 or J-2 visa.

Bring a partner

If you are in a relationship but not legally married, your partner is not eligible for a dependent visa but can apply for a B-2 visitor visa to accompany you under a cohabiting partner provision described in the Foreign Affairs Manual for visa officers. Look for 9 FAM 402.2-4 (B) (5).

How to apply for your I-20 / DS-2019

For an overview of the process, check out our short video below!

List-ul-Symbol1. Prepare your documents Laptop-Symbol2. Log in to Compass to apply for your I-20 / DS-2019 wechat-Symbol3. Receive I-20 / DS-2019 Address card symbol4. Apply for your visa at a US consulate

1. Prepare your documents

Supporting documents checklist

1.
A copy of the letter of admission / email
two.
The identification page of your passport
3.
Financial confirmation form (see the estimated cost of your program)
Four.
Proof of financial support (see checklist for financing documents)
5.
Each family member's passport identification page, if applicable
6.
If you are currently in the United States, a copy of your I-94 arrival record
7.
COE Processing Fee: Have a credit card ready to pay the USD 106 fee. The processing fee is required and cannot be waived.
8.
Shipping costs: ISSO uses UEMS (University Express Mail Service) to ship your I-20 / DS-2019. Follow the instructions on your online application to pay for your shipping.
1.','class':['row_1','col_0']},{'data':'

A copy of the letter of admission / email ',' class ': [' row_1 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

2.','class':['row_2','col_0']},{'data':'

The identification page of your passport ',' class ': [' row_2 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

3.','class':['row_3','col_0']},{'data':'

Form for financial statements u00a0 (See u00a0 Estimated expenses for your program) ',' class ': [' row_3 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

4.','class':['row_4','col_0']},{'data':'

Proof of financial support (see u00a0 Checklist for financing documents) ',' class ': [' row_4 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

5.','class':['row_5','col_0']},{'data':'

Passport identification page of each relative, if applicable ',' class ': [' row_5 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

6.','class':['row_6','col_0']},{'data':'

If you are currently in the US, a copy of your u00a0 I-94 Arrival data record ',' class ': [' row_6 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

7.','class':['row_7','col_0']},{'data':'

COE Processing Fee: Have a credit card ready to pay the USD 106 fee. The processing fee is required and cannot be waived. ',' Class ': [' row_7 ',' col_1 ']}], [{' data ':'

8.','class':['row_8','col_0']},{'data':'

Shipping costs: u00a0ISSO uses UEMS (University Express Mail Service) to ship your I-20 / DS-2019. Follow the instructions in your online application to pay for shipping. ',' Class ': [' row_8 ',' col_1 ']}]]' sortable = '0' class = 'table-responsive hidden-xs' >

2. Log in to Compass to apply for your I-20 / DS-2019

There are two ways to log into Compass: with a PID or with a UNI.

Apply with your PID

Your PID is the 9-digit number starting with C, which you received from your registration office (e.g. C123456789). If you don't have a PID, contact your admissions office.

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  1. Use your PID to request a restricted services PIN.
  2. Receive your Limited Services PIN at the email address you used to apply to Columbia.
  3. Log in to Compass with your PID, date of birth and PIN for restricted services by clicking on the appropriate link below:
ISSO Morningside - Apply with your PID ISSO CU Medical Center (CUIMC) - Apply with your PID

Apply to your UNI (Morningside students only)

Your UNI is assigned to you by your school and consists of your initials plus a number, e.g. AB1234. It is part of your Columbia email address. Learn more about your UNI: Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) website.

ISSO Morningside - Apply to your UNI

Compass login help

Not sure about your campus? Check out our campus school list.
Need Help Using Compass? Learn more in our Compass User Guide.

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PID Reporting Issues

I haven't received my restricted services PIN

If you do not receive your Limited Services PIN within a few minutes, please check your SPAM folder. If you still do not receive it, please email the correct ISSO campus and make sure to include your PID and preferred email address in the body of the email. In the subject line, write the PIN for restricted services:

THIS morning page
[Email protected]
THIS CU Medical Center (CUIMC)
[Email protected]
ISSO Morningside','class':['row_0','col_0']},{'data':'

ISSO CU Medical Centeru00a0(CUIMC)','class':['row_0','col_1']}]' rows='[[{'data':'

newintlstudent@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_0']},{'data':'

cumc-intl-students@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_1']}]]' sortable='0' class='table-responsive hidden-xs'>

Not sure about your campus? Check out our campus school list.

I received an error message when requesting my restricted services PIN

If you were recently admitted to Columbia, your record may not yet exist in our system. Make sure that you have accepted your offer of admission and, if necessary, paid your deposit. If you do not have access to the system after 10 working days, please send an email to the correct ISSO campus:

THIS morning page
[Email protected]
THIS CU Medical Center (CUIMC)
[Email protected]
ISSO Morningside','class':['row_0','col_0']},{'data':'

ISSO CU Medical Centeru00a0(CUIMC)','class':['row_0','col_1']}]' rows='[[{'data':'

newintlstudent@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_0']},{'data':'

cumc-intl-students@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_1']}]]' sortable='0' class='table-responsive hidden-xs'>

Not sure about your campus? Check out our campus school list.

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Problems with the UNI registration

You don't know your UNI? You haven't activated your UNI? Got an error message when logging in?

Do not worry! You can follow the steps above ( With a PID ) to log into Compass without UNI.

3. Receive your I-20 / DS-2019

Clock symbolprocessing time

Complete applications will be processed after the processing time Mentioned above .

am SymbolCheck your email

We will email you if we need additional information.

File text iconYour SEVIS-ID

You will receive your SEVIS-ID when your I-20 / DS-2019 has been issued. We are not allowed to send I-20s / DS-2019s by email.

Eye symbolreview

Please check the information on your I-20 / DS-2019 for accuracy when it arrives.

4. Apply for your visa at a US consulate

Ask?

If you have any questions that aren't answered on this page, email the correct ISSO campus. Not sure about your campus? Check out our campus school list.

THIS morning page
[Email protected]
THIS CU Medical Center (CUIMC)
[Email protected]
ISSO Morningside','class':['row_0','col_0']},{'data':'

ISSO CU Medical Centeru00a0(CUIMC)','class':['row_0','col_1']}]' rows='[[{'data':'

newintlstudent@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_0']},{'data':'

cumc-intl-students@columbia.edu','class':['row_1','col_1']}]]' sortable='0' class='table-responsive hidden-xs'>

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