International Students

If English Is Not Your First Language

You must participate in an English language proficiency assessment or receive an exemption from the English Language Support Program before registering for classes. More information is in on our English Language Support Program Testing page.

Obtaining a Visa


ISSS assists students with issues such as student visas, maintaining F-1 or J-1 status, and PhD-specific issues such as registration, employment, research abroad and leaves of absence, extending your period of study and more.

ISSS Website

New students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will need to obtain visas. Generally, you obtain a visa through a U.S. consulate in your area, so you will need to identify which consulate you will be working with. Contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country for details.

Most international graduate students enter under F-1 visas. To apply for one, you will need (1) a completed Financial Certificate, (2) a completed I-20 form, and (3) the letter from the Laney Graduate School offering you admission and specifying the terms of admission and support (this is the letter you accessed through your CollegeNET account). Instructions for (1) and (2) are below. Once your program receives the certificate and the I-20 form, we will process issue an I-20 so you can apply for your visa.

When you go to apply for your visa, you will need a few more items, such as a passport and payment for fees. Please visit the International Students and Scholar Service's pre-arrival pages, and especially the one on obtaining a visa.

A few students enter under J-1 visas. These are mainly for students who come via a sponsored exchange, or who are sponsored by a funder who requires a J-1 visa. If you think you need a J-1 visa, please contact Emory’s International Students and Scholar Services.

1. Complete a Financial Certificate.

Before the university will issue documents in support of visas, international students must demonstrate their ability to cover the full cost of educational and living expenses, either from personal resources or from a combination of personal resources and financial awards, including tuition scholarships and fellowships from the Laney Graduate School.

Usually, doctoral students are able to demonstrate their ability to cover the full cost entirely or almost entirely through support awarded by the Laney Graduate School or other funders.

Complete the Financial Certificate form (at right), and submit it and required support directly to your program.

2. For F-1 Visas: Complete the I-20 form (At Right).

Page 1 of the form asks preliminary questions and provides a checklist of documents that you’re required to send to your program. Your answers determine how your I-20 will be processed. Any financial documents you send must be current and official. If you have a sponsor or agency supporting you, then documents should show their names on statements.

If you intend to bring family members, their costs must also be covered.  A spouse must be covered at $8,400, and each child must be covered at $4,200.

If you’re transferring from another US institution to Emory, you must still complete this form and refer to item 4 below.

3. Send the Financial Certificate, the I-20 Form, and All Supporting Documents to Your Program. Documents Need to Be Current, Official, and in English.

Your program will complete the documentation, and then the Laney Graduate School will issue the I-20 required to support your visa application. Your program will mail the I-20 directly to you.

4. If You Are a Transfer Student, Have Your Immigration Record Transferred Electronically Through SEVIS to Emory University.

If you are studying at another university in the U.S. and will be transferring to Emory, you will need to follow a special set of procedures and use a special form. You'll find instructions on this ISSS web page.


New PhD students must contact Emory’s Nonresident Tax Office for instructions on how to complete tax forms. The first step in the process is to complete the information in the Foreign National Information System (FNIS). This is required so that U.S. tax status can be determined and the necessary forms can be generated. In order to complete FNIS, please send an email to Emory’s Nonresident Tax Office at to request a user name and password for the system. You will receive a link to the system with a user name and temporary password. The email will also contain instructions on how to complete FNIS. Once FNIS is completed, the Nonresident Tax Specialist will review the information and send a follow up email on how to access the forms for printing and signing. Reminder: Do NOT complete tax forms online in the Emory Orientation website.