UW Graduate School

Admitted International Graduate Students

Congratulations on your admission to the University of Washington! We hope you are excited to join our graduate student community. This page is maintained by Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) to assist you, our F-1 or J-1 international graduate students, as you prepare to begin your program and arrive on campus.

Prospective applicants are also welcome to review this information.

Contents: Next Steps

Accepting Your Offer of Admissions

Accepting Your Offer of Admissions

  • UW graduate programs send offers of admission via e-mail. If you have received an offer, we hope you will accept and join our Husky Community!
  • If you have not yet created your UW NetID, you will need to create it before you can accept the offer. In your graduate school application, you will have a PAC code, student ID number, and a link to Identity.UW. You will select “UW student” on the Identity.UW site.
  • After you have your UW NetID, to accept the offer and confirm enrollment (reserving your seat in the program), please return to your graduate school application and select the “Accept Offer” button.
  • For assistance with accepting the offer, please review Enrollment Confirmation System Help.
  • If you need additional information about the Enrollment Confirmation Deposit, please visit the UW Registrar’s Enrollment Confirmation System.
  • After you have accepted your offer, you will have access to your graduate application‘s Pre-Registration Page.

Prepare & Mail Final Degree Transcript

Degree Verification: Submitting Your Transcripts to GEMS

  • After you have accepted your offer, you will have access to your graduate application‘s Pre-Registration Page.
  • The “Mail Final Degree Transcript” section will list one or more of the colleges or universities you attended, and the title of the degree you earned or will earn (e.g., BTECH, BENGR, MS, MA, JD, PhD, and so forth).
  • Your admitting graduate program has requested that you send the listed degree[s] to GEMS for degree verification. Degree verification means you must provide an official transcript and degree statement (with date of award & title of degree awarded) before or during your first quarter of studies at UW.
  • Plan ahead! Your previous college may require you to go in-person to collect your official transcripts or degree statement.
    • Transcripts: Official transcripts are academic credentials issued by the registrar of the institution attended, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution’s registrar or academic official. Transcripts include coursework with grades or marks issued for each year of study.
    • Degree Statements: Your school will either print your academic degree title and graduation date on the transcript itself or on a separate degree statement or diploma, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution’s registrar or academic official. If your graduation (date of degree conferral and degree awarded) is not listed on the transcript, submit both your transcript and degree statement.
    • Please be aware: Photo, electronic, or digital copies provided by a U.S. notary public are not official nor accepted for fulfilling this requirement. In addition, the Graduate School does not accept credential evaluation reports from U.S. credential agencies or services in lieu of official transcripts.
    • Translations: If the language at your institution was not English, you will need to submit the transcripts and degree statements in the original language along with an official English translation. Translations must be literal, complete versions of original records, and translated fully and accurately by a university, government official, or an official translation service authorized to translate academic documents. Acceptable organizations are Education USA, AMIDEAST Education Foundation, LASPAU Latin America Academic Organization, S.-India Educational Foundation (USEFI), American Translators Association, and Day Translations. You cannot do your own translation.
    • Verification by GEMS: When verifying your degree, we (GEMS) are checking for your degree title, graduation date, and the completeness and authenticity of your credentials. Please note that we cannot accept any electronic transcripts at this time. After we evaluate your credentials, we will update your application pre-registration page’s Degree Verification Status section to “Verified,” and we will also record the prior degree on your official UW transcript.You will not receive an e-mail notification from us when we verify your documents; you will only be contacted if we have any questions, or if your transcript and degree statement are not complete. 
    • If you graduated from a U.S. or Canadian School: Order your official transcript online from the university registrar’s office and have it sent directly to our office. Make sure it is sent to the exact address listed on your Pre-Registration page. All U.S. or Canadian transcripts must be submitted in official, sealed envelopes issued directly by your university.
    • If you graduated from a school outside the U.S. or Canada: Contact your school to order and mail an official transcript and degree statement. If sending by mail, make sure it is sent to the exact address listed on your Pre-Registration page.
      • You may also bring the transcript and degree statement in a sealed envelope to our GEMS office.
    • Exceptions: Some schools may issue only a single original transcript and/or diploma to the student. If you are unable to request additional official copies, or your school does not issue credentials in a sealed envelope format:
      • Bring the official transcript and degree statement (date and title of degree awarded), and photocopies to GEMS for evaluation.
      • These documents must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
      • You are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a GEMS advisor for in-person degree verification.

UW Seattle Campus I-20 Request Form (F-1)

University of Washington Seattle Campus I-20 Request Form

If you will be studying in F-1 student status during your graduate program, you must request and be issued a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”

  • After you have accepted your offer, you will have access to the University of Washington I-20 request form in your graduate application‘s Pre-Registration Page (“visa documents” section). You will only upload your completed I-20 request form into your secure graduate application (for security purposes, do not e-mail or mail this form).
  • If you do not see the I-20 request form on your status page, please contact GEMS.
  • Refer to the Financial Ability Requirement page for detailed financial instructions.
  • If you are not yet admitted, but would like to prepare for your I-20 request in advance, you may preview this sample Graduate School I-20 request form.
  • This form is for use by students admitted to a Seattle campus program only. If you are admitted to a program on the Bothell or Tacoma campuses, you must request your immigration documents from their international office:

UW Seattle Campus DS-2019 Request Form (J-1)

University of Washington Seattle Campus DS-2019 Request Form (J-1)

A small number of UW graduate students attend in J-1 exchange visitor status. If you have been invited by a program sponsor* to participate in an educational and cultural exchange as a UW graduate student, please do not use the I-20 Request form provided in the application.

  • You will use the Form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” to apply for your J-1 visa.
  • You will have additional funding requirements beyond the I-20 (F-1 visa) Financial Ability Requirement.
  • Please e-mail GEMS to confirm your eligibility and to receive the DS-2019 request form.
  • *”Program sponsor” does not typically include students who are sponsored by their admitting UW department as an Academic Student Employee (Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant). Academic Student employees attend the UW on F-1 student visas.

University of Washington I-20 Instructions

University of Washington I-20 Instructions

    • After GEMS has approved and issued your UW I-20, the I-20 (with original ink signature) will be sent to you via express mail.
    • If you have not yet received your I-20, but would like to prepare for a visa interview and next steps in advance, you are welcome to preview the University of Washington I-20 Instructions.

Planning your Entry Date into the United States

Planning your Entry Date into the United States (New F-1 & J-1 Students)

Before making any travel arrangements such as purchasing plane tickets, plan your arrival date into the United States carefully. You will need to consider the following: the start of class for your entry quarter; arrival window per visa requirements; and mandatory orientations.

  • Confirm Academic Entry Quarter: The UW has four academic quarters in a calendar year. When you accepted your offer from your UW department, you agreed to begin studies in either Autumn, Winter, Spring, or Summer Quarter. You can also confirm your entry quarter by checking the “Enrollment Confirmation Received” e-mail receipt sent by the University of Washington Office of the Registrar. If your entry quarter is incorrect, or if you need to request that your application’s entry quarter be moved into a different quarter, contact your graduate program immediately before taking any additional steps.
  • Confirm Academic Class Start Date: Once you have confirmed your academic entry quarter, you can then review the UW Registrar’s Academic Calendar for each quarter’s Dates of Instruction. For example, if your entry quarter is Autumn 2019, the first day of classes is September 25, 2019.
  • Arrival Window: Each Academic Quarter, new initial F-1 (I-20) or J-1 (DS-2019) students have a very specific window of time in which to enter the United States on their student visas.
    • Earliest arrival date: You may not enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the “Program Start Date” on your I-20 form (on the DS-2019 form, see the start date in #3). This will be the same date as the “Start of Classes” (the first day of classes for your quarter).
    • Latest arrival date: Plan to arrive in the US no later than the “Program Start Date” as listed on your I-20 form.
    • Mandatory ISS Check-in: The U.S. government requires both F-1 and J-1 new students to officially “check in” after they have arrived in the U.S.; you must complete the International Student Services’ online Post-Arrival check-in no later than the first day of your classes.
  • Remember to Plan Ahead! You are advised to have your F-1 or J-1 visa (“entry”) stamp in your passport before purchasing non-refundable plane tickets (US Embassies & Consulates visa processing times may be slow, especially during the busy summer months). Refer to International Student Services Visas for an overview of the visa interview process.
    • Pre-Arrival ISS Checklist: You are also encouraged to complete the ISS Online Information session as soon as you have confirmed your enrollment. You will learn valuable information related to your F-1 or J-1 visa. You are also required to complete this session before you can register for your classes.
  • Mandatory Orientations: You are required by the UW to attend one Embark session. You will choose one Embark session from multiple offerings during International Welcome Weeks; session dates are posted for each quarter.
    Many graduate programs also have mandatory orientations. Please check with your program advisor to ask if you need to attend an orientation or other programming before the first day of classes.

F-1 Students Transferring from Another U.S. School to the University of Washington

F-1 Students Transferring to the University of Washington

This I-20 category is only for students already in the U.S. who will transfer their SEVIS immigration record to the UW Graduate School, Seattle Campus from UW Tacoma, UW Bothell, UW International & English Language Programs, or another U.S. school. There are benefits to a “SEVIS transfer,” so you are strongly encouraged to transfer if you are eligible.

  • Questions about transferring your SEVIS record? You may find these frequently asked questions useful.
  • Review Transfer Instructions: Please review instructions in Sections 1, 2, and 4 on the sample University of Washington Seattle Campus I-20 Request Form (F-1).
  • Scheduling a Transfer Date:
    • Determine your UW Start Date: You should plan to be in Seattle in time for your classes and orientations. Review “Confirm Academic Entry Quarter,” “Confirm Academic Class Start Date,” and “Mandatory Orientations” in the Planning Your Entry Date section.
    • Determine your current school’s end date: The transfer out date is the last day of your final term at your current school. Work with your current school’s international student advisor to choose the best transfer release date in SEVIS.
    • Uploading the Transfer I-20 Request Form: After you have scheduled the transfer with your current school’s international student advisor, please upload the completed transfer I-20 request form into your secure graduate school application. Refer to the University of Washington Seattle Campus I-20 Request Form (F-1) section.
  • Pre-Arrival ISS Checklist: You are also encouraged to complete the ISS Online Information session as soon as you have confirmed your enrollment. You will learn valuable information related to your F-1 or J-1 visa. You are also required to complete this session before you can register for your classes.
  • Mandatory ISS Check-in: The UW expects you to officially “check in” by completing the International Student Services’ online Post-Arrival check-in no later than the first day of your classes.

Current UW Students Starting a New Graduate Program

Current UW Students Starting a New Graduate Program – Change of Level Study

This I-20 category is only for students currently holding F-1 status at the University of Washington Seattle Campus (including those on OPT) who are admitted to a new graduate program at UW Seattle. If you are continuing your studies at UW, congratulations, and we are glad you are staying with us!

English Language Proficiency

English Language Proficiency  – AEP Requirement

If you selected “no” to the question Are you a native English speaker? in your graduate school application, you will be asked to demonstrate English language proficiency for graduate study at the University of Washington, per Memo 8 requirements.

If you have received a Teaching Assistant (TA) Offer, you have additional requirements per Memo 15. Please contact your graduate program with questions related to your appointment.

GEMS recommends you confirm that your UW student record has been updated correctly with your level of English proficiency before you register for your first quarter. Your confirmation will ensure that you are either marked “satisfied” for completing the English Language Proficiency requirement, or that you are placed into the correct Academic English Proficiency (AEP) class if your score is below the “recommended score.”

  • Confirm your English Proficiency on your Pre-Registration Page:
    After you have accepted your offer, you will have access to your graduate application‘s Pre-Registration Page.

    • AEP Requirement Section: If you have not yet demonstrated English proficiency per Memo 8, you will see an AEP Requirement section on your Pre-Registration Page.
    • No AEP Requirement Section: If you have already demonstrated English proficiency, you will not see this AEP Requirement section! You do not need to take any further action as you have already sent your official “recommended score,” or provided your English-language instruction degree to GEMS, or you answered “Yes” to the Are you a native English speaker? question in your application.
  • Next Steps for Students With AEP Requirement:
    There are several reasons a new UW graduate student may have “AEP Requirement” on their student record. Please read the below to determine which actions you need to complete.

    • You incorrectly have an AEP requirement:
      1. TOEFL Score:
        Did you already send your official electronic TOEFL scores (of 92 or above) via ETS to the University of Washington (#4854)? It may take up to two weeks from your ETS order for your scores to update into your student record. You will see the “AEP Requirement” section disappear when your scores have updated.
      2. Your Degree Taught in English: Memo 8 lists three ways to satisfy the AEP Requirement with an English-language instruction degree. Have you sent your official English transcripts to GEMS? When your degree is approved by GEMS, you will see “Verified” next to your degree in your application’s pre-registration page. GEMS will also update your English requirements to “satisfied” during the degree verification. You will see the “AEP Requirement” section disappear after GEMS has verified your degree.
      3. UW Intensive English Language Program:
        Are you enrolled in the UW Intensive English University Track program? When you have completed the program, the Intensive English program will send GEMS your official letter stating successful completion (you should inform the Intensive English program that you are applying to Graduate School). Upon receipt of the letter, GEMS will update your English requirements to satisfied and your AEP Requirement section will disappear.
    • You correctly have an AEP Requirement, but you plan to satisfy it before your classes:
      If your official scores are between the range of 80 (minimum required score) and below 92 (recommended score), you may decide to fulfill your English Language Proficiency Requirement before your academic classes start, especially if you are in an accelerated (one year) graduate program. Here are your options:

      1. Retake the TOEFL Test:
        You may retake the TOEFL test as many times as necessary. Please be certain that your official score reports are sent to the University of Washington, #4854. Your AEP Requirement section in your graduate application‘s Pre-Registration Page will disappear after an official score of 92 or higher has updated into your graduate application.
        Deadline: If you are not planning to register for any Academic English classes, your student record will need to be updated with your recommended score before the start of your first academic quarter.
      2. UW AEP Placement Test:
        Students who have been admitted into a UW Graduate Program and who have met the minimum required score are eligible to register for the Office of Educational Assessment’s Academic English Language Placement test. Please review your AEP Requirement to determine which sections of the placement test to register for.
        Deadline: If you are not planning to register for any Academic English classes, you should schedule an AEP Placement test before the start of your first academic quarter.
      3. UW Graduate Preparation Program:
        If you are required to take English 102 & 104, you may choose to fulfill this requirement before the start of your Autumn graduate studies by successfully completing the Graduate Preparation Program through the International & English Language Programs.
        Deadline: This summer program is open until spaces are filled. You will need to submit an application to the Graduate Preparation Program.
    • You have an AEP requirement, and you will take AEP classes:
      If you prefer to take Academic English classes during your graduate study, you only need to confirm your correct placement and then follow AEP registration instructions. You will begin taking AEP during your first quarter of study.

      1. Confirm AEP Placement:
        Average your test scores per instructions on the Academic English Course Placement page to confirm your requirements.
      2. Register for AEP Classes:
        Follow the registration instructions to add your AEP class to your schedule.
        Deadline: You will need to add this class before you can register for your graduate classes.
      3. Contact: If you need any assistance with your AEP classes, please contact the AEP office.

    Additional Resources for Students

    Additional New Graduate Student Resources

    As you prepare to join our Husky Community, GEMS encourages you to learn more about the tools, resources, and organizations available to you on the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses. You belong here!

      • U501 Orientation:
        University 501 (U501) is a self-guided, online resource designed for graduate and professional students at all three campuses and is intended to help prepare you for your arrival to and start at the University of Washington. U501 is open to all incoming and current graduate students with a valid NetID and is divided into five (5) modules.
      • CORE Programs:
        Core Programs, the Office of Graduate Student Affairs in The Graduate School, utilizes a holistic approach to supporting graduate students through student-centered programming, timely resources, and intentional tri-campus partnerships.
      • FIUTS:
        FIUTS provides the Embark session to new students, but they also have programming year-around such as CulturalFest and trips to Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. FIUTS advances international understanding through cross-cultural experiences, student leadership, and community connections.
      • Graduate and Professional Student Senate:
        As an international student, you are welcome to take part in the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), the official student government representing the 15,000 graduate and professional students at the University of Washington. Many international students have served as officers and senators in the past. GPSS represents students to the University and the Legislature, funds graduate programming, and hosts regular social events.
      • Student RSOs:
        With over 800 clubs and organizations, the University of Washington offers numerous ways for students to get involved on campus. Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) play a significant role for students to develop interpersonal skills, enhance their learning environment, prepare to live in a diverse society, and contribute to a global community.