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Incoming Exchange Students

The University of Kentucky welcomes non-degree exchange students from our many international partner institutions. Please direct any questions about the application process to the UKIC Exchanges Coordinator here.

Nomination Process
Before applying to study at UK, each exchange student must first be nominated by his / her home institution, using the Exchange Student Nomination form.    
Admissions Information
English Proficiency Requirements:
Undergraduate: TOEFL®  527 (197 CBT, 71 iBT)  /   IELTS  6.0   
Undergraduate students in business and economics, computer science, or engineering:  TOEFL®  550 (213 CBT, 79 iBT) /   IELTS  6.5                        
Graduate: TOEFL®  550 (213 CBT, 79 iBT) /   IELTS  6.5
Pre-session intensive English is available (not included in exchange benefits). The TOEFL/IELTS is not required for students who are native English speakers.

Application Deadlines: 
Fall Semester (begins in August) – May 1
Spring Semester (begins in January) – October 1
Approximate Cost of Undergraduate Study at the University of Kentucky, 2015-16
Tuition and Fees               Included in exchange benefits*
Room and Board              $10,506
Books and Supplies         $1000
Health Insurance              $2166 ($823 fall term / $1343 spring term)
ISSS J-1 Fee                      $100 (not included in bilateral exchange)

Estimated Personal          $812
Academic Year Total:     $14,584** (approximately $7,292 per semester)
* Inbound ISEP students pay tuition, room and board to their home institutions.  ISEP provides assistance with immigration and visa support documentation.  Incoming ISEP participants do not pay the ISSS J-1 Fee as it is included in the costs paid to ISEP.
**Please note that fees are subject to change without notice.

Graduate Students:
With the exception of the Valladolid and Ludwigsburg exchange programs, UK does not admit exchange participants at the graduate level.

Application Process
The first step in the admissions process for exchange students is to be nominated by the sending institution via the Exchange Nomination. Once nominated, students will receive a preliminary approval form from the University of Kentucky Exchange Coordinator for acceptance into the exchange program. Once a student receives preliminary acceptance from the Exchange Coordinator, each student will be emailed instructions for completing an online (electronic) application for official acceptance to the University of Kentucky. The following documentation will be required for each application:

  • The J-1 Exchange Student Application form
  • High quality color scan of the passport photograph/identification page
  • Official transcript from the home institution (with English translation if necessary)
  • An official bank statement showing an available balance of $7,292 per semester in order to obtain the DS-2019 immigration document (fees subject to change) and the Exchange Student Sponsor’s Guarantee Form.
  • Proof of English proficiency (unless English is applicant’s native language).

Once officially admitted to the University of Kentucky, each student will receive email notification and a welcome information packet (mailed to the International Office/Study Abroad Office at the student’s home institution) with important US immigration documentation. For now, please review what steps to take after being admitted to the University of Kentucky at the Incoming Students - What's next.

International Student Health Insurance Plan
UK requires all international students to have qualifying health insurance coverage.  International students are automatically enrolled in the UK Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) when they register for classes.
In rare circumstances, when a student already has qualifying health insurance provided by an employer, government sponsor or exchange agency, they are eligible to provide documentation of their alternate health insurance coverage by applying for an insurance waiver.  When a waiver is approved for a qualifying alternate plan, UK will cancel that student’s eligibility for the SHIP for one semester.  Waivers must be completed each semester in order to cancel the SHIP charge.
Due to federal regulations, and for your protection, all alternate health insurance must comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) minimum standards for health insurance coverage.

Who can apply for a health insurance waiver?

  • Students with health insurance coverage provided by an employer,
  • Students with health insurance coverage provided by a government sponsor, or
  • Exchange students with group coverage provided by the organization coordinating their exchange

Which waiver applications are approved?
Approved waiver applications must meet all four of the following:

  • Be received by the posted deadline,
  • Include all requested insurance documents,
  • Provide documentation of medical evacuation and repatriation benefits*, and
  • Show evidence of unlimited coverage for all “essential benefits” outlined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards.
  • *Medical evacuation and repatriation coverage may be purchased separately if needed.

Which waiver applications are denied?
Waiver applications will be denied if:

  • Application/documentation is incomplete or late,
  • Coverage is provided through a Travel Insurance plan,
  • Plan is missing any element of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards, or
  • Coverage will not be active for the entire semester.

Deadline for Fall Waiver Applications:  September 22nd
Deadline for Spring/Summer Waiver Applications: February 22nd 

NOTE: Travel plans cannot be accepted.


Glossary of Terms
Exchange Student
You are an Exchange Student if you are attending UK for a semester, academic year or alternative academic year on a bilateral or multilateral student exchange program administered through the UK Education Abroad office.

J-1 Immigration Status
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas are non-immigrant visas issued to individuals who have been approved to participate in exchange programs in the United States.
Such visitors will enter and remain in the U.S. in J-1 immigration status for the duration of their programs. 

DS-2019 Form
The DS-2019 form or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa stamp to travel to the United States.
The form identifies the exchange visitor and the visitor's designated sponsor, e.g. the University of Kentucky. The form also gives a brief description of the exchange program, including start and end dates as well as estimated cost of the program.
At the embassy or consulate, the Consular Officer decides whether to grant the exchange visitor a J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States.

I-94 is an electronic document, also known as the "Arrival/Departure Record," completed by foreign nationals when they arrive in the United States.
It utilizes visitors' travel documents and other information to update arrival and departure records.