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Exchange Students

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About St. Louis


Follow the application steps for admission and view course listings to decide your class schedule at Washington University. Overseas Programs can help you through the process as you pursue your academic goals in St. Louis.

Learn More about the Processes


As an exchange student at Washington University in St. Louis, accepted students should prepare for their arrival by obtaining a visa, planning finances, and securing housing.

Visa & Documentation

Exchange Students must receive a DS-2019 document from Washington University and pay the required SEVIS fee prior to making an appointment to apply for a student visa. In addition, medical documentation must be provided prior to arrival.

Declaration and Certification of Finances

The Declaration and Certification of Finances Form documents that a student has sufficient financial resources through parental support, personal funds, and/or institutional support, to cover educational and living expenses while studying in the United States. This form must be completed and submitted with the student’s application documents and accompanied by original bank documentation of funds. If the required amount is determined for Washington University in February for the following academic year. While students may not need the full amount to live comfortably in St. Louis, the full amount must be documented to qualify for the DS-2019 document. Please take the following into consideration

  • All financial documents and guarantees must be provided in English or with an English translation.
  • Originals must be submitted to receive the DS-2019. Facsimiles and scanned copies can only be used for initial verification.
  • Documents can be stated in US dollars value, to avoid issues of exchange rate fluctuation. If the documented amount is in a foreign currency, include a small additional amount to account for rate fluctuation between the date the letter of statement is provided and the date the DS-2019 is issued.

Visa & DS-2019 Document

After all proper documentation is submitted to Overseas Programs, the DS-2019 document will be issued by Washington University and sent to the exchange program coordinator of the student's home institution. Students should then pay the SEVIS fee and make an appointment to apply for a student visa at the appropriate American embassy or consulate. Please allow sufficient time to complete this process before departing for the United States. Further visa information can be found on the website of the Office of International Student and Scholars.

Students may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date and remain for 30 days after the end date stated on their DS-2019. Students must remain enrolled as a full-time student to maintain their visa status.

Medical Documentation

Washington University Student Health and Counseling Services (SHS) requires medical history, immunization records, and meningitis vaccination documentation be submitted via the SHS Student Portal prior to arrival. The online forms do NOT have to be completed by a doctor.

Fees & Expenses

Exchange students are responsible for covering the cost for housing, meals, health insurance, and other living expenses.

Billing Procedures

Billing statements are available in WebSTAC under Billing Records\Pay-View my Bill. The e-billing service sends automatic email notifications for new monthly statements. If Washington University tuition and activity fees appear on your bill, please notify Overseas Programs to have the charges removed. For information on how to pay your WU fees, please consult Student Accounting.

Student Health Insurance Fee

All international students are required to purchase student health insurance and prescription drug coverage, regardless of what coverage they may have from their home country. See Student Health Services for clarification of the Washington University Medical Insurance Plan.

Computer and Telephone Expenses

Students are provided with a Washington University email account and access to campus computer facilities. There is a small computer network fee to access the Washington University server from any residence. Plan to cover your own cell phone expenses. 


After admission, exchange students are provided with housing information. Students may choose from on-campus or off-campus housing managed by Washington University’s Office of Residential Life or seek independent off-campus housing.

WashU Owned Housing

On-campus housing consists of residence halls and some apartments. Students living in on-campus housing must purchase one of the several different meal plan options.

WU also offers off-campus furnished apartments that are managed by the Office of Residential Life. These can be shared or individual apartments and are within walking distance of campus and close to public transportation. Students living in off-campus apartments purchase a minimal meal plan.

WU-owned housing is not guaranteed and students must submit a housing application through WebSTAC. Half of the room rate amount is charged each semester. Please see the Office of Residential Life for information regarding on-campus and off-campus housing options.

Alternative Housing Options

Exchange students may choose to live in a shared or individual off-campus apartment not managed by WU. Apartments are frequently unfurnished, but furniture can be rented for the exchange period. Off-campus housing can be arranged prior to arrival or after arrival.

Please see Quadrangle HousingParallel PropertiesApartment Referral Services for information regarding off-campus housing options.

Please communicate with Overseas Programs to coordinate temporary housing if campus housing or off-campus housing is not secured prior to arrival.

    Arrival & Orientation

    Inform Overseas Programs of your arrival information and schedule airport pick-up. Exchange Students are encouraged to take advantage of orientation programs to learn about campus, explore St. Louis, and make friends.


    The Office of International Student and Scholars (OISS) will assist with arranging airport pick-up if the student arrives on the designated pick-up date. Overseas Programs will provide semester and orientation dates when students are admitted. Fall semester exchange students arrive in mid-August and Spring semester students arrive in mid-January.

    Orientation Programs

    Washington University requires that exchange students participate in an Orientation organized by the Office of Student Transitions. For Fall-arrival students, there is a special track of our Bear Beginnings orientation specifically for exchange students. It provides the opportunity to meet other students and learn about Washington University and St. Louis before the beginning of classes. For Spring-arrival students, the Office of Student Transitions offers Winter Welcome, which has the same goals. The start date stated on the DS-2019 document will coincide with the formal orientation arrival date. There is an enrollment fee of $500 associated with Orientation and semester-long programming for all new students.  

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