International Student Admission Requirements

The California State University must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, "international students" include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. Verification of English proficiency (see the section on English language requirement) for undergraduate applicants, financial resources, and academic performance are each important considerations for admission. Academic records from educational institutions outside of the United States must be on file no later than the established document deadline date. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations.

San Francisco State University considers applications and accepts qualified applicants for admission to the University according to the International Student Application Calendar. (Earlier application deadlines may be enforced by various academic departments, please check with the department for earlier deadlines).

All F-1/J-1 visa international students must be formally admitted and enrolled in a declared major. They may not be enrolled in the University in non-degree status unless through a College of Professional & Global Education approved program.

International Student Application Calendar

Application periods for San Francisco State may change. Earlier application deadlines may be enforced by various academic departments; please check with the department for earlier deadlines. For the most current information, see the Future Students page on the SF State Web site.

Undergraduate Application Periods

  • Fall Semester (which begins in August): October 1-May 1
  • Spring Semester (which begins in January): August 1-September 30

Any student who is a permanent resident (holds an Alien Registration Card or endorsed I-94, showing U.S. immigration service approval of Permanent Resident application) is not subject to the International Student Application Calendar; they are subject only to the same program deadlines as United States citizen applicants. Students in this category must submit with their application a copy of their Alien Registration Card or endorsed Form I-94.

Tuition and Costs

The University does not have federal or state financial aid for international students. Therefore, the student must present satisfactory evidence of adequate funds to meet financial needs at the time of enrollment at the University. International students are required by the U.S. Immigration Service to enroll at SF State in full-time status; for undergraduate students, this means at least 12 units per semester. For current tuition and costs, see the SF State Bursar’s Office website (see the link to Schedule of Tuition and Fees/Registration Process).

Admission Procedures

  1. Complete and submit the CSU Application for Admission at
  2. Students will be required to submit official, original, or certified/attested copies of all original academic documents in the original language of issue. Copies must be certified by the appropriate government or school officials. Required documents include the complete official academic record showing all courses or subjects, dates of enrollment and grades/marks received, and official degree(s), diplomas, or certificate(s) awarded. Official word-for-word English translations must be submitted in addition to the original language documents.
  3. Applicants who are presently attending a college or university in the United States must, in addition to their international records, submit official transcripts of all work completed and in progress.
  4. Applicants must be qualified to enter a university in their home country and have a good scholastic record from an accredited/recognized school.
  5. All applicants for admission to the University must pay a $70.00 application fee. The application fee is not refundable nor can it apply toward a later application for admission.
  6. All SF State undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, must demonstrate English Language Proficiency by exam or previous academic instruction in English.
    1. Exam (TOEFL, IELTS):
      Applicants can demonstrate English Language Proficiency by submitting official TOEFL or IELTS Score Reports.
      Minimum Scores Required (Note that some majors may require higher scores):
      TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
      Paper-based Test (PBT): 500
      Computer-based Test (CBT): 173
      Internet-based Test (IBT): 61
      Note that Institutional TOEFL scores do not include Speaking nor Writing Sections and so are not accepted. Specific information regarding the exact testing dates, testing centers, fee, and registration is online at Applicants must request that test results be sent to the Admissions Office. The SF State undergraduate institutional code is 4684.
      IELTS (International English Testing System)
      Minimum Overall Score 6.0
      Specific information regarding the exact testing dates, testing centers, fee, and registration is online at
    2. Education in English:
      Students who have successfully completed three years of full-time courses at the secondary level or above at an institution where English was the principal language of instruction do not need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores.
      Upper-division undergraduate transfer students from a U.S. university/college who have met the CSU admission subject requirements, which include the English Oral Communications, Written Communication, and Critical Thinking requirements, may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.
      SF State’s American Language Institute
      Applicants who do not have the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score may enroll in SF State’s intensive English language program, the American Language Institute (ALI). ALI prepares non-native speakers of English for academic study in the University and issues certificates of eligibility for student visas. For more information, go to

Type of Visa

San Francisco State University is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. International students who are outside of the United States, upon receipt of admission documents and U.S. Immigration Certificate of Eligibility, should secure a non-immigrant student visa. The College of Professional & Global Education is also authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. Subsequent to admission, international students must be enrolled continuously every semester and carry a full course of study (12 units for undergraduates).

Health Insurance

International students (F and J visas) are required to show evidence of health insurance coverage to be permitted to register for courses. Renewals are checked each semester to re-register unless the insurance policy is purchased annually. For additional information, students should go to the Health Service website at