The Culinary Institute of America

  • Student Visas

    Please note: You are responsible for yourself and your family with regard to immigration and visa laws. CIA staff will provide assistance and advisement where possible, but ultimately, you are responsible for knowing and complying with the laws of the United States, your home country, and the laws of the countries to which you travel while you are a CIA student. This includes non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visa regulations. Additional information about student visas can be found in our  international student guide. (PDF 15.11 MB)

    When you apply for a visa (F-1 visa for yourself and F-2 visas for your spouse and children, if applicable) at an American embassy or consulate, a consular official will interview you for about two to three minutes.

    You should have the following documents:

    • Form I-20 A-B
    • A valid passport
    • Financial Information
    • Letter of admission for the CIA

    Visa Requirements
    The bachelor's and associate degree programs require an F-1 student visa. International students who hold an F-1 student visa and are enrolled in these programs may:

    • work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week with authorization by the school official.
    • complete the required externship in the U.S. with authorization by the school official. Employment authorization is job-specific.
    • accept part-time employment off campus after nine months of full-time study with authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) via the application process. The time worked will be deducted from post-completion employment.
    • accept full-time employment for up to 12 months after completion of studies—with authorization from the DHS via the application process, which takes approximately three months.

    All of the above employment opportunities require a Social Security number. This application process takes 10–20 days, with authorization from the school official.

    The certificate programs, at our California campus, require an M-1 student visa. The M-1 visa does not allow students to work in the United States during their education, and is not acceptable for employment in the U.S. following graduation. Students may apply for employment authorization after completion of studies based on one month of employment for every four months of study.

    Note: Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the U.S. but must have a passport. A student should present the passport, Form I-20 A-B, and financial documentation at the Canadian/U.S. border.