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The AFI Conservatory is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students. This page is designed to help international students navigate through the admissions and enrollment process at AFI.


International Applicants are required to submit the following material to be considered for admissions:

If English is not your country of citizenship’s native language, and you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. with an Alien Registration Number, you must submit a TOEFL, ;IELTS, or Duolingo score, or be exempt as described below.

Applicants must submit a TOEFL score of at least 100 (internet-based or MyBestScores) or 11 (Essentials), an IELTS score of 7.0, or a Duolingo score of a 125. Test scores must reflect tests taken within 24 months of submission. Please allow for appropriate time for test scheduling. We must receive test scores by the deadline date described in the Admissions Requirements. Please note: An I-20 cannot be issued without the receipt of the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score requirement, or qualifying exemption.

Please do not assume that you are exempt based on the criteria below. All transcripts will be evaluated for exemption by the Admission’s Office for admissions purposes. We highly encourage all international applicants to receive exemption approval prior to applying to attend the AFI Conservatory. To request an exemption, please email [email protected] with the subject line TOEFL EXEMPTION REQUEST. Please include PDFs of your transcripts to be evaluated.

Level of English language competency, as it relates to admission into the AFI Conservatory, will be determined by, and is at the discretion of, the Admissions Committee. Applicants may be exempt if one of the following has been successfully completed in the United States or other English-speaking country:

  1. completion of an undergraduate degree program that includes 2 English Composition and Literature classes or its equivalent, or;
  2. completion of two classes of non-remedial English Composition and Literature, or:
  3. completion of an intensive English program (minimum one year) with results that equal the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo requirements

Please note, a master’s degree program will not be considered for an exemption unless it includes the above English courses.

AFI Conservatory accepts unofficial transcripts for the admissions process, and you will be asked to upload them in the application portal. All transcripts that are not in English must have an English translation attached to them either via your undergraduate school or by a certified translator. If you choose to submit official transcripts and official translations during the admissions process, please have your issuing school and/or the translating service send them directly to the Admissions office at [email protected] or by post mail.

Applicants need to submit official transcripts after they decide to enroll at the AFI Conservatory. Transcripts are considered official only when they are received by the Admissions office via the issuing institution either digitally or via post mail. Transcripts and translations are not considered official if they were uploaded in the application portal.

All credentials and transcripts must include an original (no copies) plus an official English translation (if applicable) to be enrolled. The Registrar determines final evaluation of applicants’ records. If official transcripts and translations were sent to the Admissions office during the application process, then you do not have to resend them.

Applicants who are pursuing the Master of Fine Arts degree from the AFI Conservatory and who have completed a degree outside the U.S. must submit a bachelor’s degree equivalency document upon acceptance into the program. This is to make sure your degree is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree earned in the United States.

How do I know if my degree is equivalent?

If you’ve completed your degree, it is highly encouraged that you request an IBE report before you apply for admission, so you are aware of its equivalency. The AFI Conservatory does not do any in house evaluations of international degrees.

If a degree comes back as not equivalent, AFI will review these on a case-by-case basis after the offer of admittance only and will notify an incoming Fellow of their enrollment options. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office at [email protected].

Where should I request my IBE report?

Unfortunately, the AFI Conservatory does not do credentials evaluations. The following are a few organizations that provide the service of credentials evaluations:

*Applicants who have received their bachelor’s degree from India are highly encouraged to use World Education Services (WES) for their IBE report.

Request only a document-to-document evaluation; the average cost is between $75 and $200. The applicant provides the agency the documents requested.

There are other organizations that provide similar services. AFI will only accept evaluations made by a U.S. company that is a member of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services). If another service is chosen by you, please check with the Admissions Office first to verify its accreditation.

Once the evaluation has been received by the Registrar’s Office, the results will be officially posted to the Fellow’s record.

General guidelines for international applicants:

Degrees earned outside of the United States should be recognized by your country’s ministry of education and should allow you to pursue a master’s degree in your home country and abroad.

For degrees earned in the following countries, here are some general guidelines AFI follows for equivalency of three-year degrees:

  • India: the AFI Conservatory may consider three-year Indian bachelor’s degree if they were earned in Division 1, and the awarding institution is currently accredited by India’s National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a letter grade “A” or better. Applicants and incoming Fellows with degrees earned from India are highly encouraged to choose WES as their IBE evaluator.
  • Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand: three-year degrees may be considered equivalent if they were earned at a school accredited by their ministry of education.
  • European schools outside of the United Kingdom: AFI may consider earned degrees if the institution follows ECTS (European Credit Transfer Accumulation System) with a completion of at least 180 ECTS credits.
  • All other countries: if a degree comes back as not equivalent, AFI will review these on a case-by-case basis after the offer of admittance only and will notify an incoming Fellows of their options.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Office at [email protected].


For those that are offered acceptance into the AFI Conservatory, international candidates must submit additional required material in order for them to enroll at the AFI Conservatory.

After acceptance, international applicants will be required to apply to receive their I-20 certificate from AFI Conservatory. The following items must be provided along with the completed application:

  1. PASSPORT – A copy of the applicant’s bio page must be submitted as part of the I-20 application. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the start date of the program.
    1. If bringing dependents, copies of their passports’ bio pages must also be submitted. All passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the start date of the program.
  2. FINANCIAL VERIFICATION – Applicants must provide financial verification in the form of liquid funding to cover the full cost of tuition, fees and living expenses for their first year of study.
    1. If bringing dependents, an additional $4,570 will be added to the overall budget, which must also be shown in liquid funds.
    2. All financial documents must be official and in English
    3. International Fellows must determine proposed source(s) of funding beyond the first year of the program to avoid financial difficulties in the Second Year, and to avoid delays during the visa interview.
  3. DEPOSIT – AFI Conservatory’s tuition deposit must be submitted in order to have the I-20 issued. Please reach out to the Admissions at [email protected] for more information.

Once the I-20 application and all necessary documents have been submitted, AFI Conservatory will issue an I-20 certificate, which is required to obtain the F-1 student visa (Canadian citizens must apply for the I-20 but are exempt from the F-1 student visa requirement).

Visa processing times vary by consulate and may also depend on individual circumstances. Visas may only be issued in the originating country; visas cannot be issued in the United States. Information on how to obtain a visa will be sent upon acceptance to the AFI Conservatory.


Studying in the United States can be challenging and it’s important to understand the cost of attendance and the time commitment associated with pursuing a graduate degree in the United States. The AFI Conservatory enrolls international Fellows in all six disciplines from more than 29 countries and they comprise more than 40% of the Conservatory’s student body.

  • AFI Scholarships – Applicants must submit an AFI Scholarship application by February 1 to be considered for AFI merit and need-based scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to first year Fellows and are renewable in the second year provided you maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Private Educational Loans – There are several U.S. based educational loans available to international students with a U.S. co-signer. These loans generally require that you have the support of a cosigner who is a legal resident of the United States with good credit. AFI does not partner with or endorse any of these lenders.
  • Outside Scholarships– Private scholarship funding opportunities may be available in your home country or from private organizations. For a list of some scholarship resources for international Fellows, visit our scholarship page here. It is highly recommended to begin searches as soon as possible.

For additional information, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 323.856.7699 or [email protected]