Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the U.S. do not need a visa.

Students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States need a B-1 visitors’ visa to enter the U.S. for electives at Columbia. This allows you to attend clerkship and interviews, but does not allow you to work or be paid. Based on currently available information at the time of printing, the B-1 visa is the only visa MSIH can request. The visa dates must coincide with the time you will need to complete your electives and residency interviews in the U.S. Please note that all visa information is subject to change by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at any time.

As a result of recent changes in Immigration and Naturalization Regulations for international students in the United States, the requirements for financial documentation and proof of enrollment are being strictly enforced. In addition, the time needed to process visa letters has increased to a minimum of 3 months and depending upon citizenship, visa applicants may be asked to submit fingerprints and undergo a personal interview. Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents should start planning their electives early, especially if they plan to take both CU electives and electives at other institutions.

In order for the Columbia University Office to issue a visa letter, you must provide the CU Program office with proof of sufficient funds for tuition and living expenses for the period of your stay, as well as a round-trip ticket. Financial documentation must be received in the CU Program Office four months in advance of your first requested elective start date. In the past, students have had to provide documentation in the form of a bank statement indicating that they have at least $1,200 for each month they plan to be in the U.S. If you plan to take three months of electives in the U.S., you will be asked to provide a bank statement showing you have a balance of at least $3,600. If the document is not in English or the currency is not in U.S. dollars, please provide a translation and calculate the amount in U.S. dollars. This documentation must be submitted to the CU Program Office at least 4 months from the date you wish to enter the United States and will be used to initiate the visa request letter. If a change of plans or course availability necessitates a change in your starting date, you must notify the CU Program Office. Once you have arrived at Columbia, you must check in and present a copy of your passport and visa to the Columbia University Health Sciences International Student Office, which can be arranged through the MSIH Program Office.

Once your elective assignment has been finalized, the CU program office will obtain the CU elective confirmation letter and provide a letter for the U.S. Consulate verifying your status and requesting a B-1 visa for the elective period through January 15th, 2014. These documents will be sent to the BGU Program Office, unless you make prior arrangements to have them sent to another address. You will take the letter, along with your passport and a detailed itinerary of your plan of study to apply for the B-1 visitors’ visa at the U.S. Embassy at 71 Rehov Hayarkon in Tel Aviv. The phone number is 972 3 5197575. For your reference, visa application information is on the U.S. Embassy website at