Student Visas

Admitted students are considered international students according to the primary passport with which they applied. Non-U.S. citizens with Permanent Resident status (known as a "green card") do not need a student visa. All other international citizens must submit additional documentation to UCLA in order to obtain authorization forms for a student visa before entering the U.S.


Arrival Dates


Visa Types

Change of Visa Status

Confidential Financial Statement (CFS): General Information

Visa Compliance

Tips for International Students

When you arrive in the United States, you should take steps immediately to establish your identity in this country. This may include obtaining proper identification (ID), starting a credit history, establishing a social security number, and taking necessary steps in order to work in the U.S. The sooner you get established, the sooner you can explore options that open up to those with a fully-fledged identity.

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is very helpful in the U.S. to get credit, telephone service, etc. However, the U.S. Government has limited the ability of students to get an SSN. Therefore, most international students (except those few on a sponsored J-1 visa) begin the process by getting the Social Security Denial Letter and use that in place of an SSN whenever possible.

The Denial Letter can be used to get a California driver's license, rent an apartment, and participate in many of the other activities that require a SSN. Later in the school year, if you get a part-time job offer, you can apply for an SSN. Until then, ask current international students or members of the International Business Association to share ways to help you address challenges that might arise from not having a SSN. The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars (DCISS), can help you with the process of obtaining a Social Security Denial Letter. Follow their instructions to apply for an SSN with the U.S. government. The Denial Letter will be sent to you shortly after you apply. If necessary, you can use the MBA Admissions Office address (110 Westwood Plaza, Gold Hall - Suite B201, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481).

After receiving the Denial Letter, some students (such as those receiving financial aid) should then apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Dashew Center will advise you on that application after you receive your Denial Letter.

Bank Account

Two of the largest banks in Los Angeles are Bank of America and Citibank. You can open an account without an SSN in these banks, although you will need to provide documents to prove your identity.

Your bank will likely issue you a VISA debit/ATM card (not a credit card), which you can use to withdraw cash and make purchases in stores. This will not count toward your credit history, and you will need to have sufficient funds in the account to complete transactions.

Credit Cards

Often, you can use your credit card in the U.S. for purchases as long as it is internationally recognized (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, etc.). However, use of your international credit card does not build U.S. credit history, which you will need later for things like financing a car purchase or applying for a mortgage.

Driving in California

If you are a visitor in California over 18 years of age and have a valid driver's license from your home state or country, you may drive in this state without getting a California Driver's license as long as your home state license remains valid. For more information about applying for a California license, visit the DMV website.

Visit California DMV

Working in the U.S.

Students with F-1 visas can use the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to work full time during the summer months between the first and second year of studies and part-time during the quarters.

Students holding F-1 visas may be employed full time for 12 months after graduation under the Optional Practical Training (OPT). The Parker Career Management Center work with students so that they have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by graduation so that they can begin work soon after the completion of their studies. This process does not have an annual quota or other restriction, and students do not need an offer to obtain the EAD.

Students will work with the Dashew Center to file their paperwork. To help international students understand the process, UCLA Anderson's Parker Career Management Center conducts CPT & OPT workshops in the fall and winter quarters. Please check with the Parker Career Management Center for more information on CPT and OPT after you arrive at UCLA Anderson.

Dashew Center Resource Guide

Check out these comprehensive online resources compiled by the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars to help you transition to your life as a student in the U.S.

View Resource Guide