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Admitted students

The information on this page is for students who have been accepted to study at the University of Washington as inbound exchange students.  The following is a checklist of items to help you as you prepare for your time here as an exchange student at UW. Please note that many of these steps cannot be completed until you have received your official acceptance letter, NetID and student ID number.

Preparing for your exchange

Return to your UW Study Abroad Application to accept your exchange offer and complete the post-decision requirements.  You can access your application on the Study Abroad homepage by hovering on the Log In button and clicking on Non-UW login.  For all future use of your exchange application, you will need to continue to use the email address you used to apply for your exchange to log in (not your UW email address).

Shortly after being admitted, you will also be able to access a copy of your admissions letter in the “Documents” section of your Study Abroad Application.

Your UW NetID and password are tools for accessing your MyUW account. As an exchange student, your NetID will also be your UW email username and will remain with you throughout your program. You will only be able to create your UW NetID after official acceptance.

You must have your Net ID set up to:

  • Access your academic schedule and your grades
  • Access your UW email
  • Access your tuition and fees statement
  • Update your mailing address
  • Apply for Housing
  • Register for classes

MyISSS (pronounced “my I-triple-S“) is your resource for immigration-related request forms and information. This resource allows students to submit requests to the International Student Services (ISS) office, view information related to their J status, and receive announcements from the ISS office.

Through your MyISSS you can:

  • Request a DS-2019
  • View your electronic DS-2019 once the request has been processed
  • Complete your Immigration Check-In
  • Request a reduced course load
  • Complete other immigration requests

Most exchange students are required to have a J-1 visa to study at the University of Washington.

Once you are accepted, you can request a DS-2019 (one of the documents you will need to apply for a J-1 visa) through your MyISSS account. Once you have submitted your request it will take the ISS office 2-4 weeks to process and sign your DS-2019 and attach an official copy to your MyISSS.

You must have your letter of admission to the UW and a physical copy of your DS-2019 in order to schedule a visa appointment.

You are responsible for understanding and complying with all terms of your J-1 visa status while in the U.S. The ISS office will help you navigate immigration regulations and procedures so please review their J-1 student information carefully.

As an incoming exchange student to the University of Washington, you are free to make your own housing arrangements. To help you decide which option is best for you, please review the information below.

On-campus Housing

Living on campus is convenient and is a great way to meet new people. All residence halls are coeducational, meaning men and women live in different rooms on the same floor, or on separate floors or corridors. The residential life program is at the heart of what makes living in the residence halls different from other student living arrangements. The staff who live in the residence halls develop social and educational programs and events that focus on your needs and interests as you pursue a college education.

If you are an undergraduate student and indicated in your exchange application that you are interested in on-campus housing, then you have been included on the priority housing list that will be sent to the Housing and Food Services (HFS) office.

Before you can apply to live in the UW residence halls, you must have received your acceptance letter and set up your UW NetID, which will allow you access to the online housing application. Please be aware that it may take several days for your UW NetID information to be transferred to the HFS database.

Resident hall information including room and board rates, dining program options, applications, and frequently asked questions can be viewed on the Housing and Food Services website. Most housing contracts are for 9 months or 12 months. If you are only here for one or two quarters you should still select either 9 or 12 month options and our office will confirm the length of your exchange program so that you are not penalized.

Not all residences will be open during winter break, so please review the HFS website and the Learning Content in your Study Abroad account for specific details.

Graduate students should review the graduate housing options on the Housing and Food Services website. Graduate housing can fill up quickly, so be sure to submit your application as soon as possible once you have been admitted.

Early Arrival Housing on campus

Early Arrival Housing is available to students that are required to be on campus before the official campus move-in dates. As participants in the J-1/Exchanges Student Orientation, you are eligible for this option for accommodation during Period 1. If you are approved to move in during Period 1, you will be housed in a temporary room, and you must move to your autumn quarter room on the appropriate move-in date. Please note that Early Arrival Housing is charged at a flat rate and there is a nonrefundable application charge. There is no early arrival housing for winter quarter. 

Off-campus housing

Students who choose to live off campus should start planning early. FIUTS has housing resources on their website, including comparisons of living on- vs. off-campus, suggestions for finding off-campus accommodations, and short-term housing suggestions.


The FIUTS Homestay Program is a short-term option where host families support incoming students during the transition period to UW and Seattle and serve as an initial introduction to American culture. This program is primarily for students who have never studied or lived in the US, but any student wishing to participate is welcome. If you are interested, please contact FIUTS.

All UW students are required to show proof of immunizations to protect the health and well-being of the UW campus.

You must submit proof of immunizations to the Immunity Verification Program. Review the Immunity Verification requirements website and follow the directions to submit the required documents. These are due by the third week of your entering quarter, or you will face a registration block for your second quarter. We encourage you to submit these documents early. If you are attending the UW for only one quarter, you do not need to fulfill the requirement. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Immunity Verification Program directly at

An orientation will be held for all new exchange students at the beginning of each quarter. For autumn quarter, orientation is usually about a week before classes begin. For winter and spring quarters, orientation is usually held the first week of classes. We will email you after you are admitted with exact dates you should plan to attend your orientation.

The orientation is designed to help you learn about the University community, U.S. customs and lifestyles, and the Seattle area. It is also a great way to explore our city and meet other UW students. Exchange students are expected to attend the orientation and you should plan to arrive in Seattle according to the recommendations for your term of entry.

Please note that you do not need to attend any A&O sessions.

Students should plan to arrive in Seattle for the International Exchange Student Orientation. For students staying in university housing who plan to arrive before your move-in date, you can apply for early arrival housing on the HFS website.

Getting to UW

The Seattle Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport is approximately 35 minutes south of the University of Washington by car and about 45 minutes by Link Light Rail. There are a variety of transportation methods available to get you to campus.

  • Link Light Rail – there is just one line, so hop on the Light Rail towards Seattle and get off at the U District Station if you are moving into your housing.
  • Uber or Lyft are ride share apps

Federal and state laws require that international students maintain adequate health insurance while attending the UW. All international students in J-1 status are required to purchase the UW International Student Health Insurance Plan (ISHIP).  As a result you must agree to purchase this insurance before you will be allowed to register for courses. For ISHIP questions, please email

The health insurance requirement may be waived for exchange students as long as you meet certain eligibility criteria and have comparable insurance that meets the J-1 requirements. To see if you are eligible, please review the insurance waiver process. If you will be at UW for more than one quarter, select “ANNUAL” insurance when applying for the waiver. Should you be granted a waiver, the charges for the UW Student Health Insurance will be removed from your MyUW account. For health insurance waiver inquiries, please email

After successfully completing the ISS Online Information Session, immunization form approval, and securing insurance, you will be able to begin registration during Period II for your quarter of entry. If you will attend UW for more than one quarter you will be able to enroll for subsequent quarters during Period I.

Students should enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per quarter (10 credits per quarter for graduate students) and a maximum of 18 credits per quarter.

Do not pay the New Student Enrollment & Orientation Fee (NSEOF) – This fee is not required for exchange students.

Do not register for First Year Programs Advising & Orientation Sessions (A&O) – The A&O sessions are not intended for exchange students. The UW Study Abroad advisor will assist you and provide information on registering for classes.

To see more about the registration process please visit or our Visiting Students – Academics website.

As part of the exchange agreement, you will receive a waiver of tuition and technology fees. Please note that the following fees are not covered by your tuition waiver:

  • U-pass (bus pass)
  • UW International Student Health Insurance Plan (iSHIP)
  • Course fees (if applicable)
    • Some courses charge additional fees for instructional and/or laboratory costs that are not covered by the tuition waiver
    • Taking more then 18 credits (the tuition waiver only covers up to 18 credits, students will be charged for every additional credit over 18 if they choose to take more credits)
    • Late fees for adding or dropping classes after the add/drop period are not covered by the tuition waiver.

At any time during your exchange you may find your current balance and other account activity on your MyUW account.

Our office will pay your tuition-related charges by the tuition due date, which is the third Friday of each quarter. You must pay fees not covered by the tuition waiver in full before this deadline. For more details on how to make payments please visit the Registrar’s Payment of Tuition & Fees.

During Your Exchange

As an exchange student at the University of Washington, it is your responsibility to maintain your J-1 status throughout the duration of your exchange.

International Student Services has detailed information to help understand your J-1 status.  If you have questions about your specific situation, you can contact ISS or drop in to meet an immigration advisor during J-1 general advising.

Emergency steps for UW exchange students

  • Take whatever actions are necessary to assure your immediate safety.
  • Call the local emergency number: 911
  • Contact your insurance provider.
  • Contact the UW Global Emergency line at 001-206-632-0153 for further assistance.

Counseling Resources

  • UW Mental Health resources
  • UW Counseling Center: Free, short-term counseling is available to UW students.
  • Husky Health Center: The Mental Health unit can provide more long-term counseling for a fee.
  • Crisis Clinic: 24-hour crisis line and community resource directory, +1.866.4CRISIS (+1.206.427.4747)
  • Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress (HCSATS)
  • Public Health Seattle and King County Planned Parenthood

Using International Student Health Insurance Plan (ISHIP)

If you need to use your insurance (for emergency or non-emergency situations), please visit the While at UW – ISHIP page.

One of the best ways to take advantage of your exchange experience at UW, is to get involved in student life! UW offers hundreds of clubs, organizations and social opportunities to get involved in campus life.

  • Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office – An office that promotes community engagement and leadership education
  • CIRCLE – The Center for International Relations & Cultural Leadership Exchange provides support and engagement for international students
  • FIUTS – FIUTS is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting international understanding and community
  • Intramural Activities Center– UW Rec provides access to intramural sports, fitness classes and workshops
  • Student Activities Office – The SAO helps students find or create student organizations
  • Student Life – The office that helps students make the most of their Husky Experience
  • UW Buddy Program – A program to connect incoming exchange students with current UW Students. You should receive more information about this program before you arrival at UW.

The University of Washington offers a wide variety of services and facilities for students. Following is a sample listing of some resources that may be useful for you during your exchange.

  • Counseling Center – The Counseling Center offers multiple options for students seeking help coping with stress and mental health concerns.
  • Disability Resources for Students – DRS is dedicated to ensuring access and inclusion for all students
  • Hall Health Center – Hall Health provides medical and mental health care to students
  • Housing & Food Services – HFS is the department that handles student housing and meal plans
  • Husky Union Building – The HUB is a student gathering space and event center
  • International Student Services – ISS provides immigration advising and guidance for international students
  • Libraries – UW has 16 libraries on three campuses
  • Odegaard Writing & Research Center – A center that provides resources to students to improve writing and research skills
  • Office of the Ombud – An office that focuses on preventing and resolving conflict at UW
  • Student Guide – find answers to questions about academics, finances, student life and more
  • Student Legal Services – SLS is an on-campus law office that provides a safe and confidential space for all students who have legal questions or concerns
  • Sustainability – UW Sustainability advances the university’s commitment to sustainability
  • Technology Services – IT Connect provides information about technology at the UW — help with UW NetID, Two-Factor Authentication, Wi-Fi etc.
  • University Police – The UWPD has the exclusive responsibility to act upon law-enforcement matters and perform police functions for the Seattle campus of the University of Washington 24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • U-Pass Services – Provides information about how to get around UW and Seattle

Departing UW

UW Study Abroad will pay for one official transcript to be sent electronically to an email address of your choice. We will deposit $11 into your student account upon your arrival at UW, which can be used to pay for your transcript ($11). You will purchase your transcript through Parchment. If you need more than one transcript, you are responsible for ordering and paying for additional copies through your MyUW account. Electronic transcripts must be opened by the recipient within 14 business days of the send date, so be sure to provide the email address of someone who has regular access to their emails. If the recipient does not access the transcript within 14 business days, it is your responsibility to order and pay for a new transcript via MyUW.

UW’s grading scale may be different from your home university.  The UW Grading System provides information about grades you may see on your transcript.

  • Email – You should still have access to the UW NETID, but you won’t get email services like UW Gmail or UW Office 365. You will still get to keep email forwarding to a personal email account. So make sure to set up email forwarding if you hope to receive emails from your NETID email.
  • MyUW – MyUW never goes away, you may still use your My UW to order additional transcripts or access services UW offers.
  • Canvas – Canvas does not go away either but there is a timeline of when data may be deleted from canvas.
  • Husky cards – You can keep your Husky cards but they will not function for UPASS services once the quarter ends, IMA access will need to be paid for and any other building services are dependent on the building manager. You should still be able to load the husky card with money for services at the UW that require husky card payments.

Your DS-2019 and J-1 visa cannot be used to enter the U.S. after the program end date on your DS-2019. This includes returning from trips to Canada and Mexico, and cruises. (Exceptions may apply if you are already approved for post-completion Academic Training).

Starting from the program end date on your DS-2019, you have a 30-day grace period to remain in the U.S. The grace period is meant for travel within the U.S. and preparation to depart the U.S.

If you travel to Canada or Mexico and plan to reenter the U.S. for your final flight home, you must enter the U.S. as a tourist.

Review the instructions and visa requirements for entry to the U.S. as a tourist:

Staff in ISS are not experts about tourist travel, so cannot answer questions about ESTA, tourist visa requirements, etc.

Sometimes students encounter delays and problems at the U.S. border when trying to reenter the U.S. as a tourist immediately after completing studies in J-1 status. It is impossible to predict the questions/actions of a border official, so you will need to evaluate your comfort level with this situation.

Please also check your MyISSS profile with ISS for any notes that may be pending.