SEVIS Fee and F-1 Visa

After receiving the I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee (I-901 fee) and apply for an F-1 visa. (Students from Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for an F-1 visa, but still need to pay the SEVIS fee.) If you have a valid F-1 visa in your passport you don't need to apply for a new visa. Please monitor each embassy/consulate's operations in your country for hours of operation.  FAQ for new students.

Finances & F-1 Visa Application

It is extremely important that you be prepared to meet the expenses throughout your study at CalArts.  If you are currently receiving financial aid (scholarship) from CalArts, please be aware that the renewal is dependent upon your academic standing and the financial aid amount will not increase for your second year and beyond.

You will be required to satisfy the visa-issuing officer at the U.S. Consulate that you will at least have enough money available for you to cover the expenses estimated on the I-20 form.  You should make sure that additional funds will be available to you should you need them.

YOU MAY NOT COUNT ON EMPLOYMENT IN THE U.S. FOR ANY OF THESE FUNDS.  Non-immigrant international students are prohibited from working off-campus while enrolled in school (except for certain extreme circumstances).  Permission to be employed from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is never granted to students who have been in the U.S. for fewer than 12 months.  

Immunization Form

The immunization form will be available from your application portal. If you have any questions about the form please contact the Student Health Center or

English Language Proficiency Assessment & Classes

All incoming BFA international students are required to complete an online writing and reading comprehension assessment in summer. The result of the assessment, along with the English proficiency test score (TOEFL etc.), will be used to determine which English courses, if any, will be required in the first year.  Some MFA international students may be required or may opt-in to have an interview to determine the eligibility to take an optional English course for artists at Calarts during the fall semester.  You will receive further instruction about the assessment and interview via email.  If you have any questions about the assessment or classes please contact

Housing Options for International Students

We encourage you to arrange your housing as soon as you can. For your convenience, we provide a list of nearby apartments, hotels, homestay programs, and social media that students often use, although they are not affiliated with CalArts. CalArts Residence Life Office offers some help in finding housing.

Travel Restrictions

For new students, please plan to arrive by the move in date as instructed through housing. You can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before your program start date as listed on your immigration document I-20.


Nearby Airports

CalArts does not provide airport pick-up services, as our students arrive at different airports in the area.

The closest airports are:

Los Angeles International (LAX) - 40 miles away

Burbank (BUR) - 20 miles away

Ontario International (ONT) - 70 miles away

Other nearby airports are John Wayne (SNA) and Long Beach (LGB). We will provide more details about arriving at each airport during the Pre-Arrival Webinar. 

Before departing to the U.S., please make sure to pack your I-20 form, passport/visa, and acceptance letter in your carry-on bag. The I-20 form is an important document. You must travel and present the I-20 form with your passport and visa at the port of entry in the U.S.  Do not pack your I-20 form with your baggage that will be checked in at the airport. You will experience delays at the port of entry if you are not able to present your I-20 with your passport and visa. 

Tuition Payments

All tuition and fees paid to CalArts must be in U.S. dollars.  If you are expecting to receive funds from home while at CalArts, you should make sure that all necessary arrangements have been made for the transfer of these funds before you depart for the U.S.  The information on payment for tuition & fees are here.

Registration for Courses

The Registrar and Accounting Offices will send registration and payment instructions to your CalArts email. Please read this material very carefully.

Generally, new students meet with advisors and complete their course registration as part of orientation. 

Health Care and Insurance

International students are automatically enrolled in the CalArts Health Insurance Plan. Student health insurance coverage is purchased through the school for a fee and will be automatically charged to your tuition statement. In rare circumstances, a student many be exempt from enrolling in the CalArts Health Insurance during the course registration process. CalArts Health Insurance does not cover dental or vision care. You should purchase dental and vision insurance on your own.  

International Student Orientation

All new international students are required to attend the International Student orientation on-campus before the start of the term. A detailed orientation schedule will be provided as it gets closer. 

In July, the International Office will host a Pre-Arrival Webinar for new students, to discuss topics such as what to expect when you arrive, how to get to CalArts, and things you will need to take care of before classes begin. (Spring admits will have this webinar in November).

Pre-orientation modules will be released for Fall admits in early July (or early November for Spring admits) with information that students may need before they arrive. Topics include F-1 Status Basics, Understanding U.S Health Insurance, How to Get a Driver License, etc.