International Visiting Medical Students (Non-U.S. and Non-Canadian)

Legal restrictions of the UWSOM 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 UWSOM not to accept international medical students for visiting elective clinical course work, except at the special request of a UWSOM 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 UWSOM faculty member are discouraged from soliciting faculty for sponsorship).


Policies and Procedures for International Visiting Medical Students

  • 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 UWSOM 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 U.S. State Department's Visa Waiver Program must apply through ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization). 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 that covers them for the duration of their clerkship at UWSOM. 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 a UWSOM faculty sponsor is the first step of the application process. It is expected that the UWSOM faculty member and the student have some pre-existing personal or professional relationship. If a student does not have a faculty sponsor, the student 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, Rural and Regional Affairs expressing their willingness to serve as the sponsor for a specific international student and to arrange for that student’s elective clerkship rotation.

The sponsor letter is reviewed by the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs who will approve or deny the faculty sponsor request. The sponsor and student will both be notified of the Vice Dean’s decision regarding the outcome. No application materials will be sent to the student prior to sponsorship approval. If the sponsorship is approved, a letter and copies of application materials and requirements will be sent to the student and faculty sponsor.

Completion of Application and Faculty Sponsorship Request Letter:

The student is responsible for completing required forms and for submitting all requested application materials in a timely manner.

The sponsorship request and application process must be initiated six - eight months in advance of desired visit dates. This is a two-part application process. The primary half of the application process is with the UWSOM. Once completed and approved, the School of Medicine will forward materials to the departments, which will initiate the second part of the application process, including input of student information into SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

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, attributes, suitability for participation in the elective clerkship(s) requested, 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.

Since the relationship between the sponsoring faculty member and the international student should be established or pre-existing, the UWSOM does not release faculty names or contact information or otherwise facilitate student sponsorship.

Sponsor letters should be directed to:

Suzanne Allen, M.D.
Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs
University of Washington School of Medicine
Box 356340
1959 N.E. Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195