Admitted International Students


Congratulations on being admitted to GW and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.  The brightest come to GW to change the world. Now it’s your turn!

At GW an international student is defined as a student on a F-1 or J-1 visa but we welcome all students from all backgrounds.  GW is a community drawn together by common values regardless of national origin.  Check out our welcome video below!

Requesting an I-20 (for F-1 visas) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visas)

If you will be studying in F-1 student status while in your graduate program, you must first obtain a I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status from GW. To obtain your I-20 you must submit the following:

The form must be correctly completed. The table on page 2 must be completed for the duration of your program (not just the first year). It must also be signed by you and/or your sponsor (if applicable).

  • Evidence of financial support

All students must show that they can financially support themselves for the duration of your program.  There are various funding sources that you can provide, more details on this requirement can be found on the international student application requirements page.

If you are currently in F-1 or J-1 status, or if you have studied in the U.S.  in the last 12 months, you must also submit the following:

  • Legible copy of your I-94, front and back (if you are currently in the U.S.)
  • Copy of your previous I-20s and/or DS-2019s (pages 1 and 3)
  • Copy of your U.S. visa
  • Copy of your employment card if you are on OPT
  • The OPT forfeit letter and a copy of you EAD card (if you are currently in OPT status)
  • Completed SEVIS transfer form (if you are currently in the U.S.)

We know this can be complicated so for additional insight into the visa process, you can review our Steps to Obtain your Visa (PDF) guide.  Also please feel free to contact us at any time should you have questions. 

Arranging the delivery of your visa documents

Students requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 must arrange for express delivery (via FedEx, DHL, or UPS) through University Express Mail Services. You must use the University Express Mail Services website – do not go through the DHL, FedEx, or UPS website directly. The student is responsible for the cost of shipping the I-20 orDS-2019.

To use this service, you will be required to create your own user account with University Express Mail Services. To request a shipment, you will need your mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, GW ID number, and credit card information. You may request a shipment either to your foreign address, or to a U.S. address. If your documents will be delivered to someone other than you (such as a parent or friend), please include that person's name on the shipping label. Pay close attention to the information submitted, because any errors in the credit card information or shipping address information will delay the delivery of your documents. When your documents are shipped to you, you will receive the package tracking information from University Express Mail Services.

If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link at the University Express Mail Services website for step-by-step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail [email protected].

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

You may be required to take an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course in your first semester as a GW student. This requirement will be noted in your admission letter.  Students are required to take EAP 6110 or EAP 6111 depending on their English proficiency scores.

If you are beginning in the Fall semester, you have the option to take EAP during the Summer semester in-person or online.  Alternatively you may also take it in the Fall semester. If you are starting in the Spring, you must take it in the Spring semester.

You may find more information on EAP by visiting the EAP website.  Enrollment information for the Summer EAP sessions will be sent via email.

International Buddy Program (IBP)

Adjusting to a new cultural environment can be exciting and challenging.  To help with this transition, CCAS hosts the International Buddy Program (IBP) where new international students are paired with a current CCAS student to help them adjust and acclimate to life a GW and in D.C. The IBP strives to make incoming international students feel welcome and help them prepare for their transition to graduate life. 

More information can be found on the IBP website.  Look out for a program invitation via email!