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.  Below you will find information on the following:

How To Obtain Your I-20 (for F-1 visas) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visas)

Graduate students wishing to apply for a student visa in the United States will need to seek sponsorship from the George Washington University by obtaining either an I-20 (for students seeking an F-1 visa) or a DS-2019 (for students seeking a J-1 visa). The information provided below is intended to assist you in submitting your documents so GW can process your I-20 or DS-2019 in a timely manner.

Please note: we will not process any documents until you have accepted admission into a degree program and have paid the deposit.


Below are the document submission deadlines for all international graduate students. We strongly encourage you to submit your documents as soon as possible as if you wait until the deadline you may have difficulty scheduling a visa appointment.

    Fall 2024

    • F-1 or J-1 applications from outside the U.S. =  June 15, 2024
    • F-1 or J-1 SEVIS transfer for Change of Level students =   July 15, 2024

    Spring 2025

    • F-1 or J-1 applications from outside the U.S. = November 15, 2024
    • F-1 or J-1 SEVIS transfer for Change of Level/Transfer students = December 1, 2024

    Required Documents

    In order for us to process your I-20 or DS-2019, you must submit the following:

    The Visa Request Form (VRF) must be completed correctly and for the correct year. Older versions of the form will not be accepted. To complete the form correctly, make sure you:

    • Use your address outside of the U.S.
    • Enter the correct semester, year, school, degree, and program in which you are enrolling.
    • In the Source of Funds section on page 2 of the form, make sure you indicate the funds required for your program. The cost of graduate programs varies; therefore, when providing your financial documents, ensure that your funds correspond to the estimated cost of the program in which you are enrolled.
    • Be sure to sign and date the document. If you have a family or individual sponsor, they will also need to provide their information and their signature along with their Financial Support Documents.

    Ensure the table on page 2 of the Visa Request Form is completed for the duration of your program (not just the first year).  The documents below provides examples of how to complete the chart.

    Watch out walkthrough video on how to complete the Visa Request Form.

    All students must show that they can financially support themselves for the duration of their program. You will need to submit supporting financial documents for your funding sources (self-support, family or individual sponsor, government or agency sponsor, George Washington University, or other loans). When submitting your financial documents, ensure they meet the following requirements:

    • Must be in English, if documents are not in English you must include an official English translation.
    • Indicate the currency of funds.
    • Have an issue date that is no more than 12 months from the time you plan to begin your studies.
    • Be on official letterhead (a self-typed note is not acceptable).

    The amount of funds required will depend on the source of funding. You can download the Accepted Bank Document Guidelines.

    Self-Support or Personal Funds

    If you are using personal funds as your sole source of support, you must have sufficient funds for the entire length of your program (two years for a master’s program; five years for a doctoral program). Your funds must be in cash (e.g., checking or savings accounts) and not subject to withdrawal restrictions. Funding in stocks and other long term investments will not be accepted. If you do not have sufficient funds for the entire duration of your program, a sponsor must agree to provide support for the remaining amount. Ensure your documents meet the following requirements:

    • Contain your full name;
    • Balance(s) sufficient to meet the funding amount listed on the VRF. All self-support listed on the VRF will need to have a bank statement which covers the amounts listed for self-support.

    Family or Individual Sponsor

    If your funds are provided by a family or individual sponsor, you must provide a letter from each sponsor’s bank (or a bank statement) that shows:

    • The account holder’s name
    • Balance(s) sufficient to meet the funding amount listed on the VRF. The sponsor(s) must demonstrate funding sufficient to cover the first year of the program. (Funding must still be listed for the duration of your program on the VRF.)

    Government or Agency Sponsor

    If you are using funds or scholarships approved and granted by another university, an international organization, a government agency, a foundation, or an employer, you must provide an official sponsorship approval letter for each source that shows:

    • The student’s name
    • The program in which the student is enrolled, including The George Washington University as the destination
    • The name and address of the sponsor
    • Start and end dates of the sponsorship
    • The total amount in U.S. dollars available to the student for study and related expense.

    The letter must also specify whether or not health insurance is included in the sponsorship. If health insurance is not included, the student must show available funds to cover the expense.

    Funding from GW

    If you receive an award from CCAS then we will include the letter with your financial documents. You will need to include the amount (divided if necessary over more than one year) on the table on page 2 of the Visa Request Form.  


    Students may submit loans in their own name (personal funds) or in a family member’s name (family funds). If your funding comes from loans, all submitted loan documents must show the following:

    • The borrower’s name
    • The amount for which the loan has been approved. (All loans must be approved before submission.)

    International students must submit a copy or scan of the biographic page of their passport. The passport scan or copy must be:

    • Legible, and must show the entirety of the biographic page (nothing can be cut off including the machine readable zone at the bottom)
    • Valid for six months past the start date of the program (this is required for entry into the U.S.)


    Additional Documents for Transfer students

    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
    • An OPT forfeit letter and a copy of your EAD card (if you are currently in OPT status)
    • Completed SEVIS transfer form (PDF) (if you are currently in the U.S.)

    If you are bringing dependents

    If you are brining dependents, please also submit the Dependent Information Form.  Ensure your Visa Request Form has a source of funds to cover expenses for each dependent.


    E-Delivery of Your I-20 or DS-2019

    Once your I-20/DS-2019 has been approved, the International Services Office will email you a scanned copy to you email address, so make sure you have access to that account and check it regularly. You will need to print out and sign the document, and take it with you to your visa interview.


    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. Admitted students will be required to enroll in an assigned section of EAP if their English proficiency scores fall in the following ranges:

    • TOEFL: 80-99 IbT or 500-599 PbT
    • IELTS: 6.0 or 6.5 
    • Duolingo: 110-129

    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. The online option is available only in Summer.

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