International Visiting Medical Students


Policies, Application Overview and General Requirements

This policy is for all medical students, including American and Canadian citizens, who attend medical schools outside of the United States and Canada, and whose schools are not accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

Legal restrictions of the University of Washington School of Medicine limit the number of international students who may enroll as visiting students.

For this reason, and others related to immigration law and malpractice insurance, the Office of Academic Affairs closely monitors the policies and procedures set forth below.

At this time, it is the policy of the School of Medicine not to accept international medical students for visiting elective clinical course work, except at the special request of a UW School of Medicine faculty member who wishes to sponsor the international student and arrange the clinical rotations for the student. Without an approved sponsor, international medical students may not apply for elective clinical course work.

Typically such sponsorship by faculty is based on a pre-existing relationship with the student (students who do not currently have a pre-existing relationship with a UW faculty member are discouraged from soliciting faculty for sponsorship via email).

  • International visiting students are limited to a total of twelve consecutive weeks of clinical course work. Due to limited capacity in the clinical curriculum, the School of Medicine cannot guarantee enrollment in requested electives.
  • International visiting students must be in good academic standing at their schools and must be in the final year of their medical school training.
  • Students from international medical schools who are not United States citizens must obtain the appropriate visa according to immigration law. Students from countries that are part of the US State Department's Visa Waiver Program must apply through ESTA.  Students from countries that are not part of the Visa Waiver Program must apply for a B1 visa, once their application has been approved and they have been offered a clerkship.  Due to delays in obtaining visas, visiting international students must apply at least six months in advance of the desired clinical elective start date.
  • Tuition for each four-week clerkship is $5000 plus a $44 non-refundable registration fee.  Credit is awarded through the home institution, not the University of Washington.
  • Visiting international students must provide proof of professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million "per occurrence". If the home school does not provide coverage, students will need to purchase a policy which covers them for the duration of their clerkship at UW. Review this checklist to see what kind of coverage is needed.
  • Visiting international students must also provide proof of personal health insurance coverage, immunizations, and universal precautions training.
  • International students for whom English is not their primary language must also show proof of English language proficiency. English language proficiency may be demonstrated by passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination.  A minimum TOEFL score of 90 is recommended for students who will be engaged in patient care activities.



Sponsor Letter to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Obtaining a letter from the UW School of Medicine faculty sponsor is the first step of the application process. It is expected that the UW School of Medicine faculty member and the student have some pre-existing personal or professional relationship. If a student does not have a faculty sponsor, s/he will be unable to pursue the application process.

The faculty member is required to write a letter of support to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs expressing his/her willingness to serve as the sponsor for specific international student and to arrange for the student’s elective clerkship rotation.

The sponsor letter is reviewed by the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs who will approve or deny the faculty sponsor request. The sponsor and student will both be notified of the Vice Dean’s decision. If approved, a letter will be sent to the faculty member and to the student along with the School of Medicine international student application forms and requirements.

The UW School of Medicine faculty sponsorship request letter should include

  • ​A description of the sponsor’s relationship with the student - personal or professional, length of time, etc.
  • The student’s mailing address and e-mail address.
  • Information on the student’s academic background, level of clinical skills, and other relevant qualifications.
  • A description of the elective clerkship(s) of interest and the desired dates.
  • A statement that the faculty member will take responsibility for arranging the visiting international student’s desired elective clerkships.
  • Sponsor letters should be directed to:

    Suzanne Allen, M.D.
    Vice Dean for Academic Affairs
    University of Washington School of Medicine
    Box 356340
    1959 N.E. Pacific Street
    Seattle, WA 98195
    • The Vice Dean will review and approve or deny sponsor requests.
    • The sponsor and student will be contacted regarding the outcome.
    • No application materials will be forwarded to the student prior to sponsorship approval.
    • If the sponsorship is approved, a letter and copies of application materials will be forwarded to the student and sponsor. If the sponsor request is denied, a letter will be sent directly to the inquiring sponsor and to the student.
    • The sponsorship request and application process must be initiated 6 - 8 months in advance of desired visit dates. This is a two part application process. The primary half of the application process is with the UW School of Medicine. Once completed and approved, the School of Medicine will forward materials to the departments which will initiate the second part of the application process.

Please direct inquiries to: