For International Students

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.


A full-time student visa must be obtained by all international citizens before enrolling in the MSBA 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

MSBA students arriving on an F1/J-1 Visa are eligible to enter the country 30 days before the official start of the program. This year that official start date is September 17th, 2024 for our orientation. We recommend that students arrive as early as possible to allow time to find housing and settle into your new routine as a UCLA Anderson MSBA student and resident of Los Angeles.



  • 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 international students who completed all requirements, including the UCLA Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) form, will be contacted directly by UCLA's student visa office.
  • By email, students will receive the links 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 Confidential Financial Statement (CFS).
  • 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 consulate for a visa but should present all documents upon U.S. entry, as explained by the US embassy 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 the first year of the MBA program (plus any other pre-MBA programs chosen) is required to get a 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 the first-year 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 $5,000 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 visa 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 will result in termination of the student visa (or vice versa).
  • Incoming international students with a visa must complete both iSTART @ UCLA as well as Anderson's International Welcome Week 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 UCLA's Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars is always available to answer visa questions.

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