Student Visas

Please note: UCLA follows U.S. and Los Angeles County COVID regulations and policies. If visa procedures or travel restrictions change, we will update you via emails from the Admissions and/or Student Affairs Office.

All international citizens without a green card must submit additional documentation to UCLA to obtain a student visa before entering the U.S.


A full-time student visa must be obtained by all international citizens before enrolling in the MBA program (unless already a U.S. Permanent Resident), which requires all of the following:

  • Accept offer via link in admission letter and pay $2,000.00 non-refundable tuition deposit
  • Submit Statement of Intent to Register (SIR), available only via the Graduate Admission Checklist link in the admission letter
  • Complete additional steps to apply for a student visa, including submission of a Confidential Financial Statement form, via the link supplied by UCLA only after the SIR form has been processed

Arrival Dates

  • International student I-20s allow international students to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to their academic program’s start date. We will provide specific dates and further updates to international students via emails from Student Affairs and our internal web portal for admitted students, which launches in May 2024.


  • After the incoming student submits all required documents and payments to register, MBA Admissions sends the completed dossier to other UCLA offices for processing.
  • Starting in March, incoming F-1 international students who completed all requirements, including the UCLA Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) form, will be contacted via email directly by UCLA's Dashew Center For International Students and Scholars.
  • By email, students will receive the link to apply for visa approval (a "Certificate of Eligibility"): Form I-20 for F-1 visas, or Form DS-2019 for J-1 visas. They will submit the required documents: Confidential Financial Statement (CFS), proof of funding and copy of passport biographical page.
  • The processing timeline for I-20 requests is approximately 15 business days from submission date of your complete documents. Once the I-20s are processed, the documents are released for pick-up by MBA Admissions to express-ship the documents to incoming students. With the UCLA I-20 form in hand, students must pay for the SEVIS I-901 fees, schedule a F-1/J-1 visa appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for their student visa.
  • Canadian citizens do not need to visit a U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply for the F-1 student visa but should pay the SEVIS I-901 fees and present all required documents upon U.S. entry, as explained by the US Embassy/Consulate in Canada.

Visa Types

  • About 95% of international MBA students obtain an F-1 visa.
  • About 5% of international MBA students obtain a J-1 visa, if they have a corporate or government sponsor paying at least half of the minimum resources required, as shown in a sponsorship letter.
  • Most spouses and children obtain an F-2 visa (which does not allow employment), and those accompanying a J-1 student obtain a J-2 visa (which does allow employment authorization).
  • Only legally married spouses can get a visa to accompany the student, not unmarried partners (though they can potentially seek their own student visa by enrolling in a certificate program at UCLA Extension).
  • Sponsored students have the option of obtaining an F-1 or J-1 as their sponsor permits, and most choose the J-1 visa, especially if they have a spouse who wants to work in the USA.
  • Students on a visa may obtain temporary work authorization after their first year of study under the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program, and for a year after graduation under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
  • To work in the U.S. after OPT expires, the employer must sponsor a person for an employment visa such as H-1b.

Change of Visa Status

  • Admits currently in the U.S. on a work-related visa such as H-1 or L-1 must convert to a full-time student visa (F-1 or J-1) before enrolling (H-4 visa holders may ask for permission to enroll).
  • Admits converting an existing visa must do so through their own attorney, and UCLA enrollment is possible before the change is complete if the student proves the change-of-status request is being processed by the government.
  • The U.S. Government prefers that people converting to a student visa go back to their home country to get the actual new visa at a U.S. consulate there.
  • The timing of change-of-status requests is critical to maintain proper visa status, and it can also affect a student's eligibility for CPT and other programs, so incoming students must get the latest legal advice from their own attorney.
  • Applying for U.S. Permanent Residency is not compatible with a student visa (which is a non-immigrant visa), so those already seeking Permanent Resident status must get advice from their own attorney before applying for any student visa.
  • Tourist visas cannot be converted to student visas, so those visiting the U.S. before the student visa becomes valid must leave the country and re-enter to activate their student visa, to be allowed to enroll.

Confidential Financial Statement (CFS): General Information

  • A CFS proving the availability of enough funding to cover one academic year of the MBA program (plus any other pre-MBA programs chosen) is required when requesting for the I-20 and applying for the student visa.
  • Admits should submit the CFS to UCLA's Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars only after receiving instructions directly from Dashew Center, which will be sent by email after the SIR form is submitted online.
  • Incoming students are expected to show enough liquid funding on the CFS to cover one academic year per the student budget shown on the MBA Admit Central website (subject to change at any time).
  • If F1 / J-1 students have dependent(s) who will be accompanying them to the U.S. at the time of their study, an additional $4,500 in funding for spouse, plus $2,500 for each child, and information on these dependents must be included with the CFS in order for them to secure F-2 / J-2 visas.
  • UCLA may change the required minimum funding amount at any time, and I-20 requests cannot be processed until the new minimum required amount is met (so adding extra funds to the initial total is highly recommended).

Visa Compliance

  • Students must remain in compliance with all visa requirements in order to keep their valid F-1 visa status and stay enrolled at UCLA. Compliance violations will be recorded on the student's permanent lifetime record with the U.S. Government.
  • UCLA is required to inform the U.S. Government of student status on an ongoing basis, and terminating enrollment or under-enroll will result in termination of the student visa status (or vice versa).
  • Incoming international students with an F-1/J-1 visa must complete both iSTART @ UCLA  in order to have legal student visa status. Failure to attend will result in cancellation of your visa and a violation notice to the U.S. Government, and you will be unable to register for courses or use any campus resources. Mandatory registration information will be sent to incoming students during the summer.
  • Other compliance guidelines and workshops are provided to all international students upon arrival and through iSTART, and UCLA's Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars is always available to answer visa questions.