International Students

Northwestern hosts students from around the world. Our institution is intentional about serving the academic and spiritual needs of all students regardless of origin. Learn more about F-1 visas, important dates, and cost of attendance.


Northwestern is intentional about serving the academic and spiritual needs of all students regardless of origin. An international student who desires to attend the university in the U.S.A. without maintaining residency or citizenship can do so with an F-1 visa. Due to the extensive process required to become an international student, we recommend you contact us today!

We want to ensure you have a smooth transition with your international relocation. The process may take about a year to complete so having a knowledgeable guide can help alleviate stress. In addition to Northwestern, other entities you’ll be working with include various financial institutions, your country’s embassy, and the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Do You Need an F-1 Visa?

Generally, an F-1 Visa accommodates people who are: not U.S. citizens, not legal permanent residents or refugees, or dual citizens who completed their secondary schooling abroad. You are considered an international student if you decide to study under a non-immigrant visa status.

NOTE: If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, please apply as a first-time or transfer student. In the past, the average amount international students such as yourself have needed to supply is approximately 75% of the total cost to attend Northwestern. International students have paid these expenses through personal funds, sponsorships and outside scholarships.

Fall 2024 Semester:

  • May 1: Student has all paperwork completed and deposit paid
  • June 15: Visa must be secured
  • August 1: Final remaining balance paid
  • August 21-22: Arrival to MSP airport/UNW, check into dorm
  • August 23: General Orientation

Looking to attend Northwestern’s traditional undergraduate program as an international student? The process can be complex due to multiple organizations that are involved. Find out how to apply.

Step 1: Apply!

  1. Submit your application to Northwestern. Please note that International Students may only begin school at Northwestern in the Fall of any given year (no spring or summer admits).
  2. Take and provide test scores from a standardized exam. If English is your primary language, you should take the ACT or SAT exam. If English is not your primary language, arrange to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or a test through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test score requirements for consideration of admission:
    1. ACT: 18, SAT: 940 (combined score of Critical Reading and Math)
    2. TOEFL: The minimum score for admission on the paper-based TOEFL is 530; the minimum score using the computer-based test is 197; and the minimum score on the Internet-based test is 71
    3. IELTS: 6.0 or above
    4. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE): 50 or above
    5. We do not accept WAEC test scores
  3. Your official high school transcript is required, and you must request your high school to send your official transcript to our email at [email protected]. Your high school transcript must show grades 9th-12th that you have completed. A diploma or certificate of graduation may be required.
    1. If your high school transcript does not have a GPA on a 4.0 scale, you are required to either submit an ACT or SAT test score or have your high school transcript evaluated by a third-party such as World Education Services or the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
  4. If you are a transfer student, and have a transcript from an international college, you will need to get your transcript analyzed by a third-party such as the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or the Association of International Credential Evaluators. Northwestern requires students to complete a “Course-by-Course” evaluation in order for their transcript evaluation to be considered for admission. Domestic transcripts do not need to be evaluated. Official transcripts from all colleges attended are required.
  5. Send a copy of your passport to [email protected].

Step 2: Once Admitted

If you are admitted, you will fill out a Financial Verification Form (FVF) demonstrating your costs. After completing the FVF we will send you a financial award based on your FVF.

You must demonstrate the ability to cover the cost of an entire year of education. View the tuition and fees for a year at Northwestern and remember you will need to be prepared to pay similar amounts for each year enrolled at Northwestern.

Bank Statement(s)

Unofficial copies can be sent from the student and family to start the I-20 process. However, an official copy must also be sent directly from the bank to Northwestern per Federal policy. Lastly, the bank statement must clearly state the account name and balance within the last 30 days. If possible, please have bank statements converted to U.S. dollars.

Enrollment Deposit

You will be asked to transfer a $4,000 (USD) deposit to the University of Northwestern – St. Paul Student Accounts office. This amount will be credited to your university bill.

Step 3: I-20 and Travel Plan

You will be issued an I-20, which you will need to acquire a student visa to study in the United States. Please work with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country to obtain your student F-1 visa. If you are unable to attend Northwestern for some reason, your $4,000 will be refunded.

Once you have acquired an F-1 student visa, you must contact your admission counselor to inform them of your travel plans. At that time, you will be guided through the process of registering for classes and making your housing arrangements. Please communicate with your admissions counselor PRIOR to booking any air travel.

Housing Policy

Living in the residence halls is a core part of the Northwestern experience and we encourage all students—especially international students—to live on campus. Students are required to live on campus except when students are age 21 or older as of the first day of the fall semester. Students age 25 or older cannot live in residence halls.

Undergraduate Students
Email: [email protected]

University of Northwestern — St. Paul
International Admissions
3003 Snelling Avenue North
St. Paul, MN 55113-1598

Graduate Students

Email: [email protected]

University of Northwestern — St. Paul
Graduate Admissions, N2080
3003 Snelling Avenue North
St. Paul, MN 55113-1598