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International Admissions

TOEFL, visa requirements, and additional information

We welcome candidates from all over the world. No matter where you are from, we prepare you to smoothly transition into life as a doctor following your education at ICO. Our Admissions Committee evaluates international applicants using the same criteria by which domestic applicants are evaluated, and there is no limit on the number of international students ICO can admit.


Admissions Requirements for International Students

What are the admission requirements for international students?

As an international candidate you should fulfill all general admission requirements including the OAT or GRE and submit recommendation letters. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent with at least 90 semester credit hours of undergraduate coursework must be earned for consideration.


If you have completed college-level coursework at schools outside the United States or Canada, or if your transcripts are not in English, your transcripts need to be submitted to an official evaluation service. ICO accepts transcript evaluations from World Education Services and Educational Credential Evaluators. The evaluation board must send the official copy of the evaluation directly to the ICO Admissions office.


How do I apply as an international student?

International candidates apply to ICO through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS). Applications open in OptomCAS around July 1 of the preceding year in which you wish to enroll. You should complete all academic requirements for admission prior to starting at ICO and take the OAT or GRE by May 1 of your desired year of entry.


In addition to the standard application process, if English is your second language you should demonstrate proficiency in both written and spoken English. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants for whom English is a second language. Should you wish to forego this examination, you may submit a written request to the Admissions office to have this requirement waived.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the International application process, please contact the Admissions office.

Visa Requirements

I was accepted to ICO, what should I do next?

International students who are selected for admission to the program need to present proof of financial responsibility by mid-June of their admitted year. Evidence of financial responsibility will allow the College to issue the student an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) which must be presented to the US Consular Office in the home country (or, for Canadian citizens, at the port of entry/Canadian border) to apply for an F-1 nonimmigrant visa.

The following documents are used to apply for an F-1 Visa:

• Form I-20 AB

• Evidence of English ability

• Evidence of intent to depart the US after completion of studies

• Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay

• Financial support documentation

• Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee receipt


In addition, the Department of Homeland Security regulations requires that individuals seeking status as an F-1 nonimmigrant student pay a $350 fee to cover the costs for the continued operation of the Student Exchange Visitor Program, including the administration and maintenance of SEVIS. Student and exchange visitors will have the option to pay with a check by mail or with a credit card via the Internet. The DHS will also accept fee payment from a third party, either in the US or abroad. For current SEVIS fee information, please refer to the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement website.