We welcome students from around the world to study at Friday Harbor Labs! If you are a non-U.S. student, please read through this page carefully.

Refer to these U.S. Government pages for information: About Student Visas and the Steps for Obtaining a Student Visa. If you still have general questions about visas, contact University of Washington International and English Language Programs (IELP) in Seattle (phone 206-543-6242, email askielp@uw.edu).


All international students must be admitted to a course at FHL before they can apply for documents to enter the U.S. FHL Student Services will provide information about how to apply for these documents AFTER a student has been admitted.

Most international students attending a course at FHL will need an F-1 Student Visa, which is for students enrolled and earning credits for a university course. A visitor or tourist visa is not appropriate, nor does the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (for citizens of specific countries traveling for tourism or business) apply.

With an F-1 Student Visa, students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date of the FHL course, and may stay in the U.S. for up to 60 days after the course ends.

To get an F-1 Student Visa, students must first obtain an I-20 Form and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.

CANADIANS do not need to obtain a Student Visa but are required to have a Form I-20 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee; they should present the form and proof of payment for the SEVIS fee at the border when entering the U.S.

The procedures required to obtain a Student Visa can take a month or more, so begin the process as soon as you have been admitted to an FHL course!

Washington State law requires that all international students have accidental injury and illness insurance while they attend UW, including FHL. If you do not have insurance, FHL Student Services can direct you on how to purchase temporary insurance covering your time at FHL.

(beyond Course Costs)

In US Dollars; see further details below for explanations.

$40 Express Mail fee, required for students who need their Form I-20 sent to a non-U.S. address.
$350 SEVIS I-901 fee
$160 F-1 Student Visa fee
Cost of accidental injury & illness insurance

Student Visa & Form I-20

Required for non-U.S. students entering the U.S. for participation in an FHL program


1) Obtain a Form I-20 issued by the University of Washington (UW), by submitting a “Request for I-20 Form” to UW.  See instructions at the bottom of this page.

2) After receiving your Form 1-20, submit payment for the SEVIS I-901 fee, $350. You will need information from the Form I-20 before you can complete the SEVIS payment. See SEVIS payment instructions. After you make the payment, print off the SEVIS I-901 Payment Confirmation and keep with your Form I-20. The SEVIS fee must be paid and fully processed before you arrive at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy for your visa interview.

3) All non-U.S. students except Canadians: After obtaining a Form I-20 and paying the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for F-1 Student Visa in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. When you visit the embassy or consulate, you will need to bring your Form I-20, passport, and the supporting documents you provided with your Request for I-20 Form (see below).

4)  When you arrive at FHL and meet with us on the first day of classes, you will need to bring your passport (with U.S. entry stamp), your Form I-20, and your SEVIS I-901 Payment Confirmation. We’ll photocopy this information to send it to the University of Washington in Seattle.

Insurance for Accidental Injury & Illness

Required for non-U.S. students participating in an FHL program (whether or not already in the U.S.),
if you do not already have insurance covering your time at FHL


1) Follow the link below to read about and enroll in required insurance coverage through UW. The link will take you to a page entitled “Inbound Foreign Faculty and Staff Insurance,” but the insurance is actually available to students, too.  From that page, DO NOT FOLLOW THE LINK FOR “INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN A STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM.” Rather, scroll down for instructions under “How do I sign up for coverage?”

Purchase Health Insurance

The cost of the insurance is about $2.00 per day for those under 40 years of age. For example, one 5-week summer class at FHL = 34 days x $2.00 = $68.00.

2) Email FHL Academic Services and UW Insurance Administrator Elena Zorina to confirm that you have requested and paid for insurance.


1) Contact FHL Student Services to obtain the Request for I-20 Form. We will email you the form, and send a letter to UW IELP verifying your attendance and expected expenses at FHL; we’ll also send you a copy of the letter, for your use when applying in person for a visa.

2) Complete and SIGN the Request for I-20 Form. For the program you are attending, write out the complete name of the course and institution, e.g. “Comparative Embryology of Invertebrates” at University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories. For program dates, be careful to list the correct dates for your program at FHL.

3) Send the following to UW IELP by email, fax, or mail to the address/number indicated on the form:

  • The completed, signed form.
  • A copy of the page(s) of your passport that show your picture, name, and date of birth.
  • An official bank statement demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to cover the amount you will need to pay for your stay in the U.S.
  • Payment information for Express Mail fee if you need the Form I-20 sent to a non-U.S. address.

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