For International Students

Each year, Brown's Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs welcomes students from around the world who seek a college experience in the United States.  To prepare for success at Brown, international students should carefully read the following information.

English Language Proficiency

When choosing a course or program, students should give serious consideration not only to their interest in, and familiarity with, the subject matter but also to their level of English proficiency. Brown’s programs provide both academic challenges typical of college-level study and opportunities to experience the academic and social aspects of American college life, so a high degree of proficiency in English – equivalent to what would be expected of a first year undergraduate - is crucial to having a positive experience. Students who participate in Brown's programs must have a strong command of the English language in order to succeed in academic study, involving the ability to:

  • Speak clearly and comprehensively on a variety of topics;
  • Write clearly and extensively on a range of topics;
  • Listen and understand complex topics, including idiomatic expression and colloquialism;
  • Read and understand detailed and lengthy academic texts;
  • Independently navigate a college campus in an urban environment;
  • Communicate effectively with peers in social settings.

SUMMER@BROWN FOR English Language Learners - Students who possess a degree of fluidity in English yet seek a higher degree of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, or writing in English may be interested in applying to Summer@Brown for English Language Learners. This program’s courses are, like all Summer@Brown courses, designed to reflect the challenges of first year college level study, and so provide solid preparation for further study at the University level in each discipline – while providing supplementary support in English language proficiency. The program is not, however, suitable for students who are at the beginning stages of learning English: accepted students will have had at least three full years of English language instruction prior to enrolling in the program and possess a degree of fluidity in speaking, listening, writing, and reading. This degree of language facility will enable students to fully and independently engage in both the academic and co-curricular activities offered at Summer@Brown.

LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT - Students for whom a language other than English is their primary language will be required, as part of their application, to submit evidence of their English language proficiency. This requirement may be fulfilled by using the Duolingo Test, InitialView, or an English Language Assessment form. Although TOEFL or IELTS results may be submitted, they will not fulfill the requirement. For more information on how to complete this requirement, please visit the Prospective Students page.

Brown will carefully review all application materials in order to determine if a student's English language proficiency aligns with the level necessary for course and program offerings.

If, in our judgment, the student's level of proficiency does not meet the minimum necessary proficiency for succeeding in the course or program of their choice, we may direct the student to a more appropriate course or program.


Students are encouraged to review our Financial Policies. Please note that there is a $50 international processing fee and a $75 health insurance fee required for all non-credit international students. Students who are not United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States are considered International students. The international processing fee covers various costs associated with foreign delivery of completion materials, I-20 documents, and refunds, where applicable, as well as other costs associated with foreign bank fees, etc. United States citizens living abroad are not charged the processing fee, and are not charged the health insurance fee if they provide adequate proof that they are enrolled in a health insurance plan that provides coverage in the U.S.

International Wire Transfers

Brown University has partnered with Flywire to offer a streamlined and cost-saving way to make international tuition payments. With this partnership, students and families are offered favorable foreign exchange rates, the ability to pay in their home currency (in most cases) and savings compared to traditional banks. In addition, students will be able to track their payment via Flywire's dashboard and they will be notified via email (and/or text) when their payment is received by Brown University.

Visit the Flywire website to make an international student account payment.

What Type of Visa is Required?

The U.S. Consular or Embassy will best be able to identify what type of visa is required to participate in Brown’s summer programs; however, students participating in non-credit programs (e.g., Summer@Brown, Leadership Institute, etc.) typically need a B-1/B-2 tourist visa and students participating in credit-bearing programs (Pre-Baccalaureate) typically need an F-1 visa. More information on each visa type can be found below.

For visa related questions, please contact

B-2 Tourist Visa Guidelines

U.S. State Department guidelines allow visitors on a tourist visa (B-2 or Visa Waiver Program (VWP)), who are coming to the U.S. primarily for tourism to take a short course of study which is not for credit. It is common for U.S. colleges, universities, and private organizations to offer summer programs tailored for high school or college-aged students. Though these programs are academic enrichment, they do not meet the definition of “full” or “part-time” course of study and therefore do not qualify for issuance of relevant F-1 documents.  A consular officer will determine the visa that may be appropriate based on the purpose of a visitor's travel and supporting documentation.

F-1 Student Visa Guidelines

Students enrolling in Brown University Summer Session or the Pre-Baccalaureate Program must obtain an F-1 student visa and, as stipulated by federal regulations, must also be enrolled full-time in two concurrent courses.

For programs that require F-1 supporting documentation (i.e., an I-20) students must adhere to appropriate deadlines to submit application and immigration related materials. We require students to submit their immigration-related materials by April 17th. Failure to submit all requested materials by this date may result in the inability to participate in the program. Please note that in order for us to facilitate the I-20 process, students must be admitted to the Pre-Baccalaureate or Summer Session Program and registered in two courses.

Note to Canadian Citizens: Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 visa to enter the United States in F-1 status; however, they will need a Form I-20 and should follow the instructions below for obtaining that document. Students must also pay the SEVIS fee and present their SEVIS receipt, and I-20, at the U.S.—Canada land border or at the airport for lawful entry to the U.S. as an F-1 student. Students should make sure at the Port of Entry that they receive an I-94 arrival/departure record (small white card) stamped “F-1 D/S” (D/S – Duration of Status).

Application and Enrollment Instructions for International Students Requiring an F-1 Visa

  1. Complete the application following steps outlined in the Prospective Students page and await an admissions decision. The name submitted in the application must match the name on the student's passport.
  2. Confirm attendance and choose courses. Accepted students must confirm their attendance with a $300 deposit, payable online. We cannot accept international checks for deposit payments. Once this deposit is received, and processed, (usually 24 hours), students may register for courses using our Course Catalog. We can accept payments via Flywire, please see the International Wire Transfer section below.
  3. After making course selections, students should make full payment of fees. Fees include: the course(s) selected, room and board, international processing fee, health insurance fee, and any additional material/lab fees).
    A) Students outside the U.S. and in need of an F-1 Form I-20 to attend the Pre-Baccalaureate Program or Summer Session, must submit:
    • A copy of the student's biographical passport page(s);
    • Requested financial documents;
    • Please note:
      • The I-20 will be sent via international courier. I-20 forms take several weeks to process, so please be sure to send in your required materials as soon as possible.
      • F-1 students can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of their program (see #5 on Form I-20 issued by Brown).
    B) Students currently studying in the U.S. with an I-20 and F-1 visa that intend to return to their school after the summer, must submit copies of their:
    • I-20,
    • Biographical passport page(s),
    • F-1 visa, and
    • A letter from their current school confirming  lawful status and eligibility to continue their education there after completion of your summer courses at Brown.
    C) Students currently in the U.S. in status other than F-1 will need to submit copies of their:
    • Biographical passport page(s),
    • Visa, and
    • I-797 approval notice (if applicable).

F-1 Visa Application Instructions

Please note: U.S. consulate visa processing and visa appointment wait times can be lengthy. Please allow adequate time for processing.

To Apply For an F-1 Visa:

  1. Review Form I-20 and sign the bottom of page 1 if all information is correct.
  2. If the student is under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must co-sign on bottom of page 1. If there are any questions about the Form I-20, please contact the Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs as soon as possible.
  3. Pay the required SEVIS fee to the U.S. Government, and obtain a receipt.
  4. In order to apply for the F-1 Visa, students will need to provide receipt of payment of a $350 SEVIS fee to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. For payment instructions, please go to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Form I-901 Online Completion website at For more detailed information go to the SEVP website and review Frequently Asked Questions. This site also contains a link to Form I-901.
  5. Complete online visa application forms and set up an F-1 visa appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  6. Students have received their I-20 and have paid their SEVIS fee, students will be able to set up an appointment at the nearest U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy. Please follow the guidelines of the individual U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate for requesting an F-1 visa. Appropriate visa application fees will be assessed at the time of the appointment. Detailed instructions for the F-1 visa application can be found at the website of the U.S. Consulate where you will apply. A listing of U.S. Consulates can be found here

Remember - Students must present the following at their visa appointment.

  • SEVIS Form I-20,
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt,
  • Brown University Admissions Letter,
  • Official proof of funding or receipt of full payment for program, and
  • Valid Passport.

F-1 Visa Verification Instructions

Students who have been issued a Brown-sponsored F-1 visa are required to send an electronic copy of the visa to Failure to do so may result in registration complications.

Entering the United States

If requesting admission to enter the United States in F-1 status with an I-20 from Brown, students must present to the Port of Entry Officer:

  • SEVIS Form I-20,
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt,
  • Brown Pre-College Admission Letter,
  • Official proof of funding or receipt of full payment for program,
  • Valid passport, and,
  • I-94 Arrival / Departure card (received from the airline during the flight, or can find online).

If requesting admission to enter the United States in a status other than F-1, or with an F-1 I-20 from another U.S. academic institution, please contact the appropriate party responsible for your immigration status about travel information.


  1. About the F-1 Student Visa
  2. Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
  3. General Questions About Student Visas: Please consult the U.S. Department of State Visa Page where you will find links to specific consular locations and other helpful information at
  4. Listing of U.S. consulates:
  5. Visa Appointment Wait Times and Processing Times
  6. Official DHS I-94 Retrieval Page
  7. Please plan ahead as processing times vary at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
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