Study Abroad

Frequently Asked Questions


What courses can I take?

Students on university-wide exchanges are admitted as undergraduates to the College of Arts & Sciences. You can enroll in any open courses for which you meet the prerequisites. Read more about academics and course restrictions here.

Students on departmental exchanges will be admitted to a specific department. Contact your departmental coordinator regarding registration. 

Can I take courses in the Foster School of Business?

The Foster School of Business has their own departmental exchanges and their courses are only open to exchange students on Foster exchanges. Please do not contact Foster advisers or instructors to request access to their courses if you are not on a Foster exchange. Any emails that you send to them will be routed back to our office.

When do I register for courses?

Incoming exchange students register during Period II for their first quarter at the UW. Registration dates can be found on the Academic Calendar.

You must register before the first day of the quarter or you will be charged a late fee. You may make changes to your schedule without paying any additional fees through the first week of the quarter. After the first week of the quarter, you will be charged a fee to make any changes to your schedule and may also be required to have approval from an ISS adviser. Pay attention to registration restrictions during the different registration periods. These will be indicated in the time schedule.

If you attend the UW for more than one quarter, you will register during Period I for all other quarters.

What if courses are full?

If courses you’re interested in fill up before your registration date, use the Notify.UW tool to receive notifications on space availability in a specific course via email or text (SMS). Please do not contact UW Study Abroad to request entry codes for courses. 

You can also attend the first day of instruction to see if the instructor will permit overloads.

The course I'm interested in taking has prerequisites, but I've taken similar courses at my home university. What should I do?

Contact the departmental adviser or the instructor and provide them with your transcripts. They can give you an entry code to register if the course is a good match based on your previous coursework and if there is space in the course. 

Can you give me an entry code for a course?

No. The Study Abroad Office is not an academic unit and cannot give entry codes or authorize overloads. Please contact the departmental adviser or the instructor of the course for assistance with registration. 

How many credits should I take per quarter?

In order to remain in status as an exchange student on a J-1 visa, undergraduates must take a minimum of 12 credits per quarter and graduate students must take a minimum of 10. (Graduate students’ credits should be from graduate-level courses.) If you are attending the UW for more than one quarter, you may apply for a reduced credit load in your final quarter. More information can be found in your MyISSS profile under Requests – Exchange Student Final Quarter Reduced Course Load. 

Your tuition waiver will cover a maximum of 18 credits per quarter. We do not recommend you take more than 18 credits, especially in your first quarter at the UW. If you do enroll in over 18 credits, you will pay tuition for the additional credits at the resident tuition rate.

Please note: Your home university may have other credit requirements and may not permit a reduced credit load in your final quarter. Check with your advisers at your home university before requesting a part-time enrollment.


How and when do I apply for my J-1 visa?


After you have been admitted to the UW, the Office of Admissions will issue your DS-2019 Form, which is required for you to apply for your J-1 visa. Your DS-2019 Form will be mailed to the address you list in your eShipGlobal account.

Follow the steps in the J-1 Exchange Student Visa Information packet you receive with your acceptance materials to pay your SEVIS fee and schedule your visa interview appointment. Further information is also available in the Learning Content section of your Study Abroad account and on the ISS website.

Graduate students:

Once your department has issued your offer letter, you can request your DS-2019 through your MyGrad account. Note: The MyGrad portal only has information regarding the F-1 visa and I-20 Form. As an exchange student, you will need to submit the DS-2019 Request Form and upload it to your account. Visiting exchange students do not attend the UW on F-1 visas.

The Learning Content section of your Study Abroad account and the ISS website contain further information on setting up your visa interview appointment preparing for your interview.

When do I get my DS-2019 or I-20 Form?

Exchange students at the UW are issued DS-2019 Forms to apply for their J-1 visas. You will not be issued an I-20 Form, which is only for students on F-1 visas.


Acceptance packets (including the DS-2019 Form) are sent out at the following times based on your starting quarter at the UW:

  • Autumn quarter: Early June
  • Winter quarter: October
  • Spring quarter: Late December or Early January

Graduate students:

You are responsible for requesting your DS-2019 Form from the Graduate School. Follow the instructions on the DS-2019 Request Form and upload it through your MyGrad account.

General Questions:

When should I arrive in Seattle?

You may enter the US on your J-1 visa up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your DS-2019 Form. All incoming exchange students must attend the exchange student orientation session. The exact date of the orientation will vary from quarter to quarter.

Why is tuition showing up in my account?

Tuition must be charged in order for UW Study Abroad to apply your tuition waiver. We will apply the waiver to your account close to the tuition due date. You are responsible for all non-tuition fees, including the U-Pass, insurance, and any course or lab fees. You can submit payment for the fees at any time, even before the tuition waiver has been applied to your account.

I have insurance already. Do I have to purchase ISHIP?

If you have coverage that meets or exceeds the minimum coverage required for J-1 students, you can submit a waiver for ISHIP coverage. Be sure to review the requirements and instructions before submitting your waiver.

Please note: you must first commit to ISHIP coverage before you can submit a waiver. You will be prompted to commit to ISHIP when you first register for courses. You do not need to set up an account with ISHIP or pay the policy fee if you plan on waiving coverage.

Am I required to live on campus?

No, exchange students may make their own housing arrangements. FIUTS has information on their website regarding off-campus housing.

Do I have to purchase a dining plan if I live on campus?

Dining plans are required for all residence halls and may be required for apartments. You can select the dining plan that best suits your needs and budget.