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International Applicants and Students

Requirements for International Applicants

If you are applying for admission to the ABSN, MSN, DNP or certificate programs, the information below applies to you. Applicants for the PhD program should refer to the information provided by the Graduate School.

In addition to completing the regular admissions requirements, international applicants are required to submit additional documents to complete their admission application:

  • Form I-20 or DS2019
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Full education course-by-course report from World Education Service (WES) or a similar evaluation agency
  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS International) credential evaluation (Graduate Programs only)
  • CGFNS International Qualifying Exam (graduate programs only)

Proof of English Proficiency

Any applicant who does not currently hold a United States permanent resident card (green card) or who has never studied at a U.S. institution must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered through the Educational Testing Service. The TOEFL institution code number for Duke is 5156 (departmental code not needed).

The applicant’s score must not be more than two years old, and an official copy must be sent to Duke University directly from the testing agency. Personal copies or attested or notarized documents are not acceptable.

It is the policy of Duke University to consider only those students who achieve an IELTS score of 7.0 or a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (Internet-based test) with minimum sub-scores of 22 in Reading, 22 in Listening, 26 in Spelling and 24 in Writing.

TOEFL Waiver Requests

Applicants can request a waiver for the TOEFL exam by writing to the Director of Admissions and stating why the TOEFL should not be required. Include your resume or CV in your request. Applicants requesting a TOEFL waiver will be notified of the decision four to six weeks after the request has been received.

Credential Evaluations

All new applicants are required to provide a course-by-course evaluation of all foreign credentials from one of the external evaluating agencies listed below. Foreign credentials refer to transcripts from educational institutions outside the United States. When ordering your foreign credential evaluation, please be sure that your grade point average (GPA) is calculated and included in your agency evaluation.

Applicants are required to use one of the following NACES-approved agencies:

For applicants educated outside the United States, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS International) Qualifying Exam is a prerequisite for taking the Registered Nurse licensing examination in the state of North Carolina and for obtaining nonimmigrant occupational preference visa (H1-A) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Application materials and information about examination dates and locations are available at the CGFNS website.

The CGFNS International credential evaluation report assists the School of Nursing in analyzing educational coursework as well as in determining equivalency to a U.S. nursing program. To submit a request for a credential evaluation, visit the CGFNS website.

Visa Requirements for Incoming International Students

Students who are non-permanent residents of the U.S. are required by Homeland Security to obtain a visa, a process that involves several steps. If you are offered admission, you must complete each step prior to enrolling in your program of study. Furthermore, if you are enrolling in a distance-based program with mandatory on-campus intensives, you must complete the visa application process prior to each on-campus intensive as well. Upon admission you should begin preparing your visa documents for processing. Please note: Students should not enter the United States as a “tourist” during the time of their program because B-1/B-2 (WB/WT) tourist status does not authorize study.

If you are considering any of our MSN distance-based programs, ensure that your specific program is available to be completed outside of the United States by contacting Nicole Fleming. Students enrolling in the Nursing Education or Nursing and Health Care Leadership majors do not need visas because those majors do not have mandatory on-campus intensives.

Visa Processing

All international students traveling to Durham will need an F-1 student visa. Duke will assist students in obtaining the I-20 form that is required for the student visa. If you already are lawfully present in the U.S. (e.g., H1-B, J-2, PR Applicants, etc.), you will need to complete the Duke Visa Services web form. Your current visa status will not be affected, but all non-immigrant visa holders are required to register their presence on campus. If you are a green card holder, you are required to present your original green card document at registration on campus. Duke does not issue visas for residencies outside of the U.S. For further guidance, call 1(919)684-4248.

On-Campus Intensive Requirements

 Due to federal regulations surrounding visa status, all international students enrolling in a distance-based program with mandatory on-campus intensives (OCI) are required to obtain a new F-1 visa for each individual trip to the Duke University campus. The frequency of OCI events varies by program. To determine the number of required trips to campus for a specific program, please review the applicable Duke University School of Nursing matriculation plan.

Steps for Visa Authorization

  1. Duke Visa Services Application: Receive email from the School of Nursing Student Services staff with a password to Duke Visa Services’ (DVS) web form system, which is sent after the deposit is received. Complete and submit all materials to the School of Nursing to begin visa processing.
  2. Visa Document: Receive either an I-20 or Form DS-2019 from DVS. Sign and date the bottom.
  3. SEVIS Fee: Pay the SEVIS fee.
  4. Visa Stamp: Apply for a visa stamp by making an appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  5. Obtain Visa Stamp: Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with all required documentation. Obtain and review the stamp for accuracy.
  6. Travel: Make arrangements to travel to campus at least 30 days in advance and be prepared to present your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, proof of finances, SEVIS payment receipt and name and contact information of your DVS advisor. Do not travel with these documents in your luggage.
  7. Enter the U.S.: Present to U.S. Customs and Border Protections official the completed Form I-94 and all documentation listed in #6.
  8. Review Entry Documents: Verify that you received your I-20 or DS-2019 from the official and that your passport was stamped with the appropriate date of entry and correct visa status with the Duration of Status (D/S).

For additional information about the visa process, review the "Instructions for Incoming International Students" presentation.

Duke University Policy on Documentation of Non-Citizen Students

  1. All non-citizen students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) must present evidence of immigration status to the Duke Visa Services Office before the first day of classes and whenever, thereafter, their status changes. Failure to comply will result in the inability to enroll for classes. Students who are outside the U.S. and who are therefore unable to comply (e.g. visa stamp delays) will be handled on a case by case basis.
  2. Graduate and professional students who are not in lawful status will not be enrolled or permitted to continue enrollment. Such students will be allowed to enroll or to continue only after regaining lawful status.
  3. Undergraduate students who are not in lawful status, but who accurately report their status, will be allowed to enroll. Such students will be advised of the risks to them of being out of status and the importance of dealing with that situation through their own means and with private immigration counsel. Students who are not in lawful status are not eligible for Federal financial aid, but they may apply for Duke-based assistance.
  4. Individual cases deemed worthy of a temporary exception to this Policy due to unusual circumstances may be presented to a hearing committee, by Duke Visa Services or the appropriate departmental representative, for consideration and recommendation to the Provost. The committee shall be composed of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Director of Visa Services and the appropriate representative from the student's school or program.