Golden Gate University, an urban campus, is dedicated to helping our international students from start to finish -- from application to graduation. About 17% of GGU students are international coming from more than 50 countries.

The culturally diverse city of San Francisco is home to many technology companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Uber, Sales Force and many more located just blocks away from Golden Gate University campus.



At Golden Gate University, international students include all students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status.


International Admission Services provides assistance to international students and dependents, including academic and immigration advice.



Please Note: Bachelor's degree programs are only offered to students who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. Golden Gate University does not offer Bachelor's degree admission to international students seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa.



GGU international students are granted admission on a "rolling" basis. GGU does not have an application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply early to allow time for an admission decision, issuing the Form I-20 and visa appointment as necessary. Additional processing time may be needed to obtain government documents required for the admissions decision. Timely submission is important for students currently living outside the United States who will need to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa in their home country.


Summer 2018 Apr 29 Mar 29 Feb 28
Fall 2018 Aug 26 Jul 26 Jun 28
Spring 2019 Jan 6 Dec 6 Nov 6
Summer 2019 May 1 Apr 1 Mar 1
Fall 2019 Aug 25 Jul 25 Jun 25


Degree Requirements

International students seeking admission to a Master's degree program must have earned Bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally-accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution.


International students must submit official transcripts and degree certificate prior to issuing Form I20. In some cases, students may be required to submit additional documents such as WES-ICAP evaluation report, CDGDC credential report, verified transcripts, certified English translation of documents, examination scores, credential report, mark sheets or diploma supplement.

Students have the option to submit an official course by course WES -- ICAP Evaluation Report and Verified Transcript sent directly to GGU Admissions Office.

WES-ICAP Evaluation: International students whose Bachelor's degree is obtained from Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo must submit official course by course WES -- ICAP Evaluation Report and Verified Transcript.

Chinese Academic Documents: International students whose Bachelor's degree is obtained from China must submit credential report for the academic transcripts issued in English and degree certificates, issued by the China Academic Degree & Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) at

English Language Proficiency

See "English Requirements" below.

Financial Documents

In order to obtain an F-1 or J-1 student visa, international students must provide written proof that they have sufficient funds to meet all expenses while studying in the United States. A Certification of Finances Form must be submitted indicating the source of funds by all international students intending to study on F-1 or J-1 visas showing sufficient funds to pay tuition and living expenses in the U.S. This information is required by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USCIS). Download the Certification of Finances Form Sample. This form must be accompanied by a bank letter (Bank Letter Sample). If you are not able to provide written documentation verifying you have sufficient financial resources to finance your entire education, the U.S. Consulate will not grant you a student visa.

GMAT / GRE Scores

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is ONLY required for the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. GMAT/GRE score reports must be sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) directly to Golden Gate University. Unofficial score reports will not be accepted.

The GMAT/GRE is NOT required if you have more than 5 years of professional work experience and hold an earned Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside of U.S) institution.

SAT or ACT scores are not required for admission into GGU's Master's programs.


Graduate Writing and Math Proficiency Requirements

All admitted students including U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents and students on the F-1 or J-1 visas are required to take the Graduate Writing Proficiency Exam and Graduate Math Proficiency Exam prior to term start. The Graduate Writing Proficiency Exam and Graduate Math Proficiency Exam are offered on site at the San Francisco campus or online through ProctorU. A fee may be charged for online services. Learn More.

Graduate Business Proficiency Requirement

Graduate students in the Edward S. Ageno School of Business (except DBA, EMPA and Psychology) and Braden School of Tax are required to have an understanding of United States business practices as part of the Graduate Business Proficiency. Students can meet this requirement by completing the BUS 201: Fundamentals of U.S. Business class or one of the following:

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree from a U.S. university
  • Two years of full-time professional work experience in the United States


Learn about Tuition & Fees

Graduate ProgramS

Explore GGU's Academic Programs.

Not all GGU programs are available to F-1 or J-1 students. For a complete list of these programs, please email or call +1 415 442 7800.

Please Note: Bachelor's degree programs are only offered to students who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. Golden Gate University does not offer Bachelor's degree admission to international students seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa.



Transfer Credits

Official academic documents are required to perform a full review of student’s transferability of credits. All official documents including academic transcripts must be received on or before the first day of instruction for student’s first term at GGU. To determine what official documents are required after being admitted to GGU, please visit GGU4You or contact an Enrollment Counselor. Eligibility to transfer academic credits from other institutions is dependent on a number of factors. For more details see GGU Transfer Credit Policy.

 Additional Coursework

International applicants admitted to graduate degree programs may be required to complete more than the number of units specified as required for degree completion -- regardless of the extent of previous work -- if determined by Golden Gate University additional academic preparation is necessary.

Non-Immigrant Aliens

The university is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The university will not issue appropriate documentation until the student has been admitted as a full graduate degree or graduate certificate candidate, and has been financially certified by the university's Certification of Finances approval process.

Residency Requirements

Students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas may only attend the physical San Francisco campus.

Minimum Course Units and Terms

The US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires international students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas to be enrolled for consecutive terms of sufficient duration and units, typically consisting of no fewer than nine (9) units per term at the graduate level.


For All International Students:
Country/Region Specific:

All graduate level applicants whose first (native) language is not English must satisfy the English language requirement to qualify for admission. The alternatives for meeting this requirement are noted below.


Scores at or above the following:

TOEFL paper-based test (pBT)
TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)
IELTS (Academic)
Pearson Test of English (PTE)


Applicants may also qualify for admission by meeting one of the following requirements:
  • Completion of the equivalent of GGU's English 1A, Expository Writing and 1B, Research Writing at regionally accredited US college or university with grades of B+ or better.
  • Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college / university in other English Speaking country with at least 60 of the units earned in the US or in the English Speaking country.*
  • Master's degrees from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college / university in another English-speaking country.*
  • Seven years of documented, increasingly responsible, professional experience in the US or other English-speaking country.
  • APIEL (College Board) Undergraduate: 3 or higher, Graduate: 4 or higher.
  • Completion of three (3) years of high school in the US or another acceptable English-speaking country*
  • Completion of a British-standard "O-level" examination in English Language / Literature with a mark of C or higher.**
  • Completion of a British-standard "A-level" examination in English Language / Literature with a mark of A/O or D or higher.**

* Not all English medium educational systems fulfill this requirement. Qualifying countries are Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

** Not all countries offering O- and A-level examinations meet British examining board standards. Countries with this standard include: Bahamas, Belize, Brunei, Ghana, Great Britain, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


For all international students at Golden Gate University, it is the student's responsibility to maintain legal F-1 or J-1 visa status. Visa information provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs can be found at the following resources:


Students are encouraged to play an active role in the GGU community.

The Office of Student Life

  • Promotes involvement in campus life
  • Supports student initiatives
  • Acts as a liaison between students and the University to build a dynamic, interactive and enriching community.
  • Can help you build your leadership skills, make connections and expand your education beyond the classroom.


Student Government Association

SGA organizes events and programs with the intention of building school spirit and creating an identity for the GGU community. SGA officers participate in committees and meetings with the University administration on students' behalf and communicate the results to students, keeping them aware of what is happening at GGU. Interested in meeting our current SGA officers? Learn more about Student Clubs and Government.


Student Organizations

Student professional clubs aim to further the professional development of students through leadership training and involvement in their respected fields. Student cultural clubs promote and celebrate cultural diversity. These organizations offer educational enhancement, career networking and social events. Learn more about active clubs.

Mentor Program

The international student peer mentoring program introduces new international students to current international students in order to provide an initial source of support and information to help them acclimate to GGU and the City of San Francisco. Request a peer mentor when you enroll.

GGU Social Student Blog

The student blog is a weekly conceptual post about activities that take place on campus, social life in the Bay Area, and more. This blog is by students for students. Interested in joining GGU Social? Contact us:


536 Mission Street
The HUB, Suite 1381
San Francisco, CA 94105


  • Mon - Thu: 10 am - 6 pm
  • Fri: 10 am - 5 pm


  •  415-442-7298

Experienced advisors (Designated School Officials, DSOs) at GGU assist students with a variety of immigration related issues including: travel and visa renewals, employment eligibility and other topics. The information provided on this website is meant to serve as a general guideline. It is not considered legal advice.

Immigration regulations are constantly changing, so international students are encouraged to carefully read messages sent by the University Advising Center and review this website for updates. Students are ultimately responsible for understanding and abiding by the guidelines imposed by current immigration status requirements. The University Advising Center strongly encourages students to contact our office with any immigration related questions.


F-1 or J-1 status students are required to abide by various federal regulations to maintain immigration status. A few of these requirements include: providing the University Advising Center with a current address, enrolling in a full course of study, and keeping appropriate immigration documents up to date.


Immigration regulations require F-1 students enroll in a full course of study while completing degree programs in the US. GGU defines a full course of study depending upon the academic level and degree program. The chart below summarizes enrollment requirements.


Graduate 8+ units per academic term or more
Doctorate 7+ units per academic term or more

Only one online course may used to meet the full time enrollment requirement. Students may enroll in more than one online course after meeting the full time enrollment requirement. Full time enrollment also requires students to be enrolled over the course of the entire term. This means students must enroll in at least one 16-week course or a combination of 8-week terms including both B term and C term.

Students may be authorized to enroll in less than a full course of study if they have academic difficulties, a valid medical condition, or are eligible for a vacation term. Students must receive permission from the University Advising Center Services PRIOR to enrolling in a reduced course load or dropping below a full course of study. Failure to receive permission could jeopardize your immigration status.

Students are eligible for a vacation term after completing two consecutive terms as a full time student at Golden Gate University. Students should inform the University Advising Center of intent to take a vacation term by submitting a Reduced Course Load Form before the beginning of the term.


F-1 and J-1 visa students are required to report a change of address within ten days of moving to a new location. Address updates can be made by logging in to GGU4YOU.


While in the US, international students should always be aware of the following:
  • Maintain a valid I-20 which reflects your current degree level and program of study. You are responsible for making sure the dates on your I-20 are current and valid.
  • If you are unable to finish all degree requirements before the completion date listed on your I-20, you must request a program extension before your I-20 expires. An extension cannot be granted after the program completion date has passed.
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times. Contact your Embassy or Consulate to extend your passport.


F-1 visa status students are eligible to work part-time while school is in session and full-time during approved vacation terms. Part-time work is considered less than 20 hours per week. Many international students who would like to work on campus at GGU are able to secure positions. On campus job openings are posted on GGU Careers.

International students do not require authorization from USCIS to work on campus. Once a job offer has been received, the University Advising Center will help students with the documents needed to apply for a Social Security Number. You will not be permitted to begin work until you have obtained a Social Security Number.


F-1 student visa applicants are required to pay a one-time fee of $200 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS).


In general, when traveling outside the US, F-1 students will need the following documents:
  • A valid I-20 with the second page endorsed for travel by a DSO
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of re-entry to the US
  • A valid F-1 visa. The visa only needs to be valid through the date of re-entry to the US
  • Verification of financial support

If you are traveling to a country other than your own, be sure to check with the consulate or embassy of that country. You may need to apply for a tourist visa.

Anytime you travel, please complete the I-20 Travel Signature Request and leave your I-20 at the University Advising Center at least one week before leaving San Francisco. If you have dependents in the US, they will also need to obtain a travel signature on their dependent I-20 if they plan to travel.

The US Department of State and the Citizenship and Immigration Service have increased the level of review international visitors face at US Consulates and Embassies abroad, US airports, and border crossing posts with Canada and Mexico.


If you choose to travel, please follow these recommendations:
  • Carry proof of current enrollment at GGU and an official or unofficial copy of academic transcripts.
  • Be honest, patient and courteous with all government officials, even if they are not the same way in return.
  • Consult the US Department of State website for alerts and information on visa issuance at particular US Embassies and Consulates abroad.
Be prepared when you travel for the following possibilities:
  • Delays in appointment scheduling and visa processing at US Consulates.
  • Change of visa processing at some US Consulates to include mail-in or "drop box" service for visa applications.
  • Delays in flights within the US and returning to the US from abroad due to heightened security measures at airports and delays along the Canadian border.
  • Inquiries and increased review of documents at all ports of entry for non-US citizens.
  • Multiple inspections of the same person by Immigration Service and/or Customs Officials.
  • Possible photocopying of documents by USCIS officials and possible videotaping of USCIS, Customs or FBI interviews.
  • Inspection of personal belongings, luggage, pockets or other searches.
  • For students in certain technologically sensitive fields, the Department of State is required to conduct a security clearance prior to issuing an initial US entry visa or extension of visa through a US Consulate abroad. The fields are listed on the Technology Alert List. Clearance may take one month to several months.


Given the current rapidness of changes to immigration regulations and practices, this information is subject to change.



Golden Gate University does not administer a group insurance plan for F1 and J1 visa holders in the Schools of Business, Tax, and Accounting. Students are now responsible for obtaining health insurance coverage independently. For more information about several different insurance options see below.


Although GGU will no longer require that F1 visa holders* show proof of health insurance coverage, we very strongly recommend that you have health insurance while in the United States. It is important to be aware that the United States healthcare system is likely quite different from the system in your home country. Having health insurance coverage while in the U.S. is crucial as costs can be extremely high if you are injured or sick and do not have coverage. For a brief overview of the U.S. healthcare system, please take a look at the International Student Insurance video below:

*Note for J1 visa holders: J1 visa holders are still required to show proof of health insurance that meets certain coverage requirements. If you are a J1 student attending GGU through a sponsoring organization, your sponsor will likely provide health insurance coverage.


The information below can help you start to find the right plan for you. Please note that the time required to enroll in a new plan can vary depending on individual circumstances, therefore it is important to plan ahead and apply early to avoid gaps in your coverage.

Insurance Through Family:

If your spouse or domestic partner is employed in the U.S., consider enrolling in a health insurance plan through his or her employer.

Insurance Purchased from a Provider:
  • Kaiser: Continue coverage with Kaiser by purchasing a plan directly.
  • ISO: Offers reasonably priced options.
  • Covered California: An insurance marketplace established in California following the Affordable Care Act. Available to F1 and J1 visa holders.
It is advisable to seek US health insurance that offers the following coverage at or above the following:
  • The policy has a low annual deductible ($150 - 500 USD) per year.
  • Understand whether your insurance offers "per incident" deductibles.
  • Policy covers at least $100,000 USD per injury or sickness.
  • Benefits are payable at least 70% within the provider network


Do I really need health insurance in the U.S.? It's so expensive, and I'm healthy, anyways.

Yes, you still need it! In the United States, the cost of health care is not covered by the government as it is in some other countries, so it is important to have a private health insurance plan. Even though you may be healthy, it is necessary to have health insurance in case you get injured or become sick. If you do not have insurance, fall ill or get into an accident, and have to pay for your care completely out of pocket, the cost of care could end up being in the many thousands of dollars. For example, as this International Student Insurance video demonstrates, treating a broken bone can cost $18,000 - $47,000 out of pocket.

I really like the doctor I currently have through Kaiser Permanente. Can I keep seeing him/her?

Yes, you may be able to continue working with your current doctor by purchasing insurance coverage through Kaiser directly (here) or by selecting a Kaiser plan through Covered California.

Why is GGU no longer administering a health insurance plan for international students?

We spent a lot of time considering whether to continue administering a health insurance plan. We ultimately decided to stop due to feedback from students and our determination that the resources used to administer an insurance plan will be better used to improve our services in other ways.



This is a fixed fee that you pay out of pocket at the time a medical service is rendered (e.g. visiting the doctor, obtaining prescription medicine). Your health insurance company will pay the remaining costs.


This is similar to co-pay in that co-insurance represents a shared cost between you and the insurer for a service rendered. With co-insurance, however, the amount each party pays is not a fixed fee, but rather, is a percentage of the total cost of the service.

Annual Deductible

A deductible is a specific amount of covered medical expenses that you must incur and pay for out of pocket within one calendar-year before benefits are payable under the health insurance plan.

An example: If your plan has a $150 co-pay for ambulance services, after the deductible, this means that if you are transported by ambulance on January 1, 2016, and an ambulance ride costs $800, you will pay $650: $500 for the annual deductible, plus the $150 co-pay. If you need to be transported by ambulance again in 2016 (which we hope you wouldn't!), you will just pay the $150 co-pay the second time around, since you will have already paid the full deductible.

Depending on your plan, the deductible may be waived for some services.

Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum

This is the maximum amount that you will have to pay from your own pocket for medical expenses in a plan year.

Maximum Lifetime Coverage

Some plans limit the total amount of money they will pay for your medical expenses during your lifetime. This will be listed in your insurance plan description as a "lifetime maximum" or a "maximum lifetime benefit" or "maximum benefit per condition."