Frequently Asked Questions: International Students

International Student Applications
Costs and Financial Assistance
Working and Other Visa Matters
Transfer Process

International Student Applications

  • What happens when an international student application is received at your university?
    • When an international applicant applies to a UC, it goes through the UC Undergraduate Application Processing Service before it reaches the individual campuses. When UC Irvine receives the application it is reviewed for UC eligibility and selection.
  • What is different about international student applications (from domestic applications)?
    • The application itself is the same, but the application fee is $10 dollars more.
  • When should foreign transcripts be sent?
    • We do not request official transcripts/records until a student is admitted. If needed, we will request unofficial transcripts/records to help clarify self-reported information on the application.
    • NOTE on foreign transcripts/records: Each academic record must list the dates you attended the institution; the titles of courses and examinations you completed; the grades (marks) you received; the credit, hours or units earned; and any degree or diploma you may have received. It may be called by another name — such as leaving certificate, maturity certificate, etc. — in your country.
  • Are placement recommendations required?
    • UC does not require or solicit letters of recommendation for undergraduate admission.
  • Why is an official transcript/record so important to U.S. universities?
    • An official transcript/record is important because we need to verify self-reported academic information on the UC application with an official academic record. An academic record must come directly from the institution.
    • Failure to provide official records may jeopardize your enrollment at the university.
  • Should students have their transcripts translated?
    • When a student is admitted, translated transcripts/records are required as well as official transcripts/records in the native language. Transcripts/Records must be translated by a certified translator familiar with educational records.
  • A student has dual citizenship. S/He wants to apply as an American for residency and financial aid considerations. Which application should s/he file? Must s/he still take the TOEFL?
    • The UC application is the same regardless of residency status.
    • Applicants whose native language is not English, and whose high school or college/university education was in a country where the language of instruction was not English, must provide evidence of English proficiency to be successful in university studies. Various examinations may be used to demonstrate proficiency in English. The minimum accepted score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 80 on the Internet-based test, and 550 on the paper-based test. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination is accepted with a 7 or better band score (academic modules). Specific Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam scores, as well as writing exam scores from the SAT reasoning exam, are also accepted for English proficiency. Please contact each UC campus for their minimum accepted score.

      Applicants may also demonstrate English proficiency in any of the following ways:
      -Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition;
      -Score 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level Examination in English (Language A);
      -Score 6 or higher on the IB Standard Level Examination in English (Language A);
      -Score 7 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
      -Score 560 or higher on the SAT Reasoning Test, Writing section.

      Note:  In addition to achieving a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score, all international students whose native language is other than English must take an Academic English/English as a Second Language Placement Test upon arrival and prior to registration. Based upon the results of this test, students may be required to improve certain language skills by enrolling in Academic English/English as a Second Language courses during their first year, with other major course work being adjusted accordingly.

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  • If a student does not have a TOEFL score, will their application still be considered?
    • Yes, UC Irvine will still consider the application for admission.
  • Can the student sit for exams after the application deadline date?
    • The UC system will not accept scores for tests taken after December 31 for the preceding November filing period.
  • Do you require the SAT or ACT for international students? For transfer students?
    • SAT Reasoning or ACT Plus Writing are required for all freshman applicants. They are not required for junior transfer students.

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Costs and Financial Assistance

  • Are tuition and fees different for international and domestic students?
    • International undergraduate students are considered as nonresidents of California and are required to pay nonresident tuition in addition to fees paid by legal residents of California.  For the most current fee information, please visit the website for the Office of the Registrar at
  • Some families do not keep their money in banks. What documentation is adequate to show financial support without bank letters.
    • In order to prove financial support, we require a bank statement showing the required amount of funding.
  • Do you offer financial assistance? What are the requirements?
    • We do not offer financial assistance for international students.
  • How do you help students find financial assistance?
    • We refer students to to find other ways of financial assistance.

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Working and Other Visa Matters

  • What kinds of jobs can students get and how much do they pay?
  • If a student is rejected for a visa, may s/he try again?
    • Most embassies will require a student wait a certain period of time before he/she can try again.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Transfer Process

  • Can you recommend specific documents an undergraduate can submit to assist in the transfer credit decision-making process?
    • It would be very beneficial for us to receive course syllabi/descriptions to help determine transferability of coursework.
  • What courses in a foreign curriculum generally do not transfer to U.S. universities?
    • English taught in non-English speaking countries. Vocational type courses are generally non-transferable. We are looking for courses that are similar to what is taught on our campus.
  • Why do some universities transfer freshman English and others do not?
    • Universities reserve the right to determine what is transferable and what is not.
  • What is the difference between some transfer credit awarded toward a degree and credit awarded toward a major?
    • The Irvine campus makes every effort to eliminate all barriers to orderly progress from California community colleges into UCI's programs. To this end, courses from many California community colleges have been reviewed by UCI faculty and approved as acceptable toward meeting lower-division major or general education requirements. Although course equivalencies for the general education requirement may be liberally interpreted for purposes of transfer, courses to be applied toward school and departmental major requirements must be more precisely equated with UCI courses in unit value and in content.
  • Please give guidelines/criteria for awarding advance standing credit for "A" levels, Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), etc.
    • For GCE and Hong Kong A-Level examinations, please contact each UC campus.  UC Irvine awards 12 quarter units for most A-Level examinations with a grade of C or better.  An official statement of results must come directly from the examination board.
    • No credit for STPM.
  • How many credits can a student with a diploma from any college expect to receive?
    • We will transfer 60 semester (90 quarter) units from a 2 year institution. We do not limit the number of units from four year institutions.
    • Courses are reviewed on a course-by-course basis to determine course transferability.
  • Although transfer students only need about two years to complete their bachelor's degree, universities still require four years of financial support during the application process. Why?
    • UC Irvine does not require proof of financial support until a student has been admitted and has enrolled. If a student is admitted and enrolls, we only require proof for their 1st year.
  • Do you award credit for Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Programs (CLEP) exams? How much?
    • Students who earn scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board AP examinations will receive between 4 to 8 quarter units.  See AP chart in the UC Irvine General Catalogue at
    • Students completing the IB diploma with a score of 30 or above will receive 30 quarter units (20 semester units) total toward their UC undergraduate degree. The University grants 8 quarter units (51/3 semester units) credit for certified IB Higher Level examinations on which a student scores 5, 6, or 7. The University does not grant credit for Standard Level examinations. Some higher-level examinations may be used to fulfill course requirements in lower-division major or general education requirements.

      Duplicate Credit:  Students should be aware that AP examinations, IB examinations, and college courses taken prior to or after enrolling at the University may be duplicative. In these cases, the University will award credit for only one of these. Students cannot earn units or grade points at UCI in courses from which they have been exempted on the basis of AP or IB credit. Students who elect to enroll in courses for which they have already received AP or IB credit will have those courses specially coded on their transcript without unit or grade credit. However, some examinations exempt the student from a greater number of UCI units than the number of AP or IB units earned. In such cases, the student may elect to take the final course in the series for credit.
    • UCI does not award credit for CLEP exams.