International Student Services
International Student Services (ISS) is the main resource on campus to assist international students with visa, social, and employment issues. For more information, see http://www.iss.wisc.edu
Graduate Admissions issues the federal I-20 form for initial F-1 Visa procurement. Initial J-1 Visa document (DS-2019) is handled by ISS. The Graduate Admissions office sometimes must collect financial information for the DS-2019, which is then forwarded to ISS. After the student is enrolled, all Visa matters are handled by ISS.
Documents Required of New International Students
Many students are admitted with a condition that they submit their final academic documents after arrival on campus. Please submit your documents to the admissions office at 228 Bascom Hall. The admissions requirements page http://grad.wisc.edu/admissions/requirements/ has a drop down menu under “degrees” which lists the documents required for each country.
Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS. IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by paper. Your score will not be accepted if it is more than two years old from the start of your admission term. Country of citizenship does not exempt applicants from this requirement. Language of instruction at the college or university level and how recent the language instruction was taken are the determining factors in meeting this requirement.
Applicants are exempt if:
- English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution; or
- you have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment; or
- you have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Completion of graded course work cannot be more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.
The required proficiency scores are:
- Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)
- Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0
- Minimum MELAB requirement: 82
Faculty in an applicant’s expressed area of concentration may devise supplementary assessments of English proficiency, if needed. Under certain circumstances, with program approval, admission may be granted with the following scores. However, in order to be admitted, an English assessment test (ESLAT) will be required upon arrival, and any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course must be completed successfully in your first semester. Below are the ranges in which an ESLAT will be required:
- TOEFL (iBT) 80-91
- TOEFL paper based 550-579
- IELTS 6.5
- MELAB 77-81
Funding for International Students
New international students with assistantships should work with International Students Services to obtain a social security number. New students with fellowships and no other appointment types are not considered employees and are not eligible for social security numbers. These students should work with ISS to obtain an International Taxpayer Identification Number.
For a Social Security number, see:
For an International Taxpayer Identification Number, see: