Fulbright Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government.  It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The Fulbright Program provides participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  The Fulbright Program is an important element of the United States’ bilateral relationships with countries around the world.

The primary source of the funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State.  Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the Fulbright Program under policy guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board with the assistance of bi-national Fulbright Commissions in 50 countries, U.S. embassies in more than 100 other countries and cooperating agencies in the United States.

We encourage all interested applicants to visit the U.S. Embassy Kabul website Here to learn more about the Fulbright and other exchange programs.

The Fulbright Program’s application process is lengthy and rigorous, and prospective applicants are encouraged to consider carefully their intentions, goals, future plans and prospective projects before applying for a Fulbright grant. Participants will be recruited through a merit-based, open competition and selected based upon their leadership potential, academic excellence, community involvement, maturity, ability to adjust successfully to life in the U.S., strong interest in engaging Americans, and potential to promote mutual understanding between the United States and Afghanistan.  Applications are reviewed by an American-led panel from the U.S. Embassy and the applications of the finalists are submitted to the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York.

All the applicants can attach:

  • One Word editable version of the application (Microsoft Word 150 KB);
  • Three letters of recommendation from the applicant’s professors and/or employers (two from professors and one from an employer is recommended)
  • Two application essays (a Personal Statement and Study Research Objectives) ; and
  • One PDF file that includes the entire application and the aforementioned supporting documents.

Additional Requirement for the PhD Program:  Applicants must

  • Have completed a Master’s degree by February 28, 2017; and
  • Submit a professional writing sample (10-15 pages, in the anticipated field of study).

They can bring a hard copy when they are scheduled for an interview.  It is very important to start this process early.  Please review our “Tips” for success, located on the right side of this page.  The Focus on Your Essays (PDF 242 KB) section has been particularly useful for previous applicants. There is guidance on preparing for the interview (PDF 193 KB), preparing for the TOEFL (PDF 245 KB), and strengthening your letters of recommendation (PDF 197 KB).

Yes, he/she can apply to both programs at the same time if he/she meets the requirements of both programs. However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply to both programs.

Yes, he/she can apply to both programs at the same time if he/she meets the requirements of both programs. However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply to both programs.

No.  You are eligible to apply to both the Fulbright Graduate and the Fulbright Ph.D. programs as long as you meet the other requirements of the programs.  However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply.

All applicants from public and private universities are treated equally as long as their respective universities are registered with the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan.

The US Embassy in Kabul offers the Fulbright program every year. The applications are accepted from November 24th, 2016 to February 28th, 2017. For more information, please visit https://af.usembassy.gov/education-culture/educational-exchanges/fulbright/

No.  The GRE is not required when applying for Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral programs.  However, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test is required for Fulbright finalists, after their selection by the Fulbright panel.  The US Embassy will arrange and pay for one session of the test to be locally administered (in Afghanistan) for all the finalist applicants.  In the event a finalist cannot attend the US Embassy sponsored tests in Afghanistan, the finalist may take the test at his/her own expense at another location.  Please note, it is very important to receive a high score on the GRE (or GMAT for business school candidates) if you hope to be placed in a good program in the U.S.  Generally, the minimum requirement for university placement is 150 Verbal, 150 Quantitative (Math), and 4 in Analytical Writing (although the basic requirements for each section/component vary by field and institution).

No.  Any dual U.S. citizen regardless of the other citizenship cannot apply from another country for a Fulbright grant to the United States as all U.S. citizens are ineligible for Fulbright grants to the U.S.

Non-U.S. citizens who have legal permanent residency status in the United States are also not eligible for any Fulbright grants.

No, you are not eligible for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States as a non-U.S. citizen already in the U.S.  Non-U.S. citizens must apply to the program from their home country and required to be resident there at the time of application.

Each Fulbrighter’s experience is unique and depends on a variety of factors, including project details, location and language abilities.  Despite the variety of experiences, Fulbrighters all describe their experience as life changing and having a profound influence on their professional and personal endeavors.

Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than half a century by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations.  The program – working with universities, schools, bi-national Fulbright commissions and foundations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector – actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions.  From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs.

In addition to carrying out their proposed projects, Fulbrighters are expected to involve themselves in the host community, sharing their culture while at the same time observing the host culture.  After their grant periods, Fulbrighters are encouraged to bring what they have learned through this cultural exchange home and teach others about the cultures they have experienced.  Fulbrighters are also encouraged to continue the Fulbright experience by reaching out to their home communities, participating in Fulbright alumni activities and networking with other Fulbrighters.

No.  As a U.S. Government-sponsored program that operates on a bi-national basis with other countries, the Fulbright Program only funds non-U.S. citizens for study, research and teaching in the United States.

No.  All grantees are required to return to Afghanistan for at least two years at the conclusion of their grant in compliance with the J-visa requirements, to promote mutual understanding, and serve as future leaders in the public and private sectors of Afghanistan.  After our grantees return to Afghanistan and establish themselves in their careers, it is still possible to get other visas to the U.S. allowing travel back and forth on necessary business.  Many of our alumni often travel to the U.S. on business now.

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview, but some cases do take longer.  The timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date, whenever possible.

* This process is separate from the program application procedures and cannot be influenced by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs representatives.

See the question below for instructions on how to check the status of your visa.

You should check the status of your visa by visiting the Consular website at here.  Please follow the instructions given there.

This year, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Kabul may award as many as 80 Fulbright Grants.  Over 300,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the Fulbright Program since its inception in 1946.

Step 1: The first step in applying for the Fulbright Graduate Fellowship is to read the “How to Apply” instructions carefully on the US Embassy website Here. Before you apply, be sure that you meet all the following requirements.

The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship is open to Afghan citizens living in Afghanistan, who:

  • Hold a minimum of a BA/BS degree; holders of 3-year Bachelor’s degrees from India and Pakistan are required to obtain at least 1-year of relevant study at an accredited university in order to qualify
  • Score a minimum of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam;
  • Want to pursue a Master’s or Doctorate Degree;
  • Are proficient in English;
  • Are able to function easily in academic and social settings; and
  • Can demonstrate a strong involvement in their communities and Afghanistan.

Step 2: To apply for the 2018-2019 Fulbright Graduate Fellowship, you must submit an application to KabulScholarshipInfo@state.gov by February 28, 2017. Please download the application form here.

The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship will pay for up to two years of Master’s level graduate studies in almost any field of study.  Successful fellows can earn a MA, MS, MBA/MPA, LLM, MPH or similar degree.  Medical degrees (other than Public Health or Global Medicine) or degrees in curative medicine are not available. In addition, some candidates may be eligible for additional English preparatory training.

The basic criteria and requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must be citizens of Afghanistan and currently residing in Afghanistan.
  • Applicants must have a four-year bachelor’s degree (first university) by February 28, 2017 and a strong academic background as demonstrated by their academic transcripts.  Please note that if you have a three-year bachelor’s degree from any country, you are required to have at least a one-year Master’s/post-baccalaureate diploma in order to qualify.
  • Applicants must score a minimum of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam and submit their score with their Fulbright application.
  • Applicants must submit two application essays (a Personal Statement and a Statement about Study Research Objectives) with clear goals, well-reasoned statements describing why they selected the academic field of study and how their academic plans contribute to their long-term professional goals.
  • Applicants must present three letters of recommendation from their professors and/or employers (usually two from professors and one from an employer).
  • Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities — including volunteer experience and involvement in their communities;
  • For some fields of study work experience is strongly preferred (e.g. Public Health, MBA);
  • Applicants should submit application essays (Personal Statement and a Study Research Objectives) with clear goals, well-reasoned statements describing why a specific academic track is the best fit, and tying their academic plans to longer term professional goals;
  • Applicants must be committed to returning to Afghanistan and a specific plan for using their Fulbright experience in their professional lives and in service to their country; and
  • Strong preference will be given to applicants who have not had extensive recent experience in the United States.

They can apply for the Graduate Program if they graduate by February 28, 2017and can provide the Fulbright panel with all the educational documents, i.e. university diploma and transcripts, by February 28, 2017 at the latest.  However, most successful applicants also have at least two years of relevant work experience before they apply for the program.

The U.S. standard for a bachelor’s/undergraduate degree is a four-year program.  The universities in the U.S. have set the criteria that most successful applicants with 3-year degrees will also have a Master’s certificate or a Master’s degree.  By having this additional qualification, there will be more opportunities for placement in the U.S. and higher level programs will be available.  Very few U.S. universities will accept applicants with only a 3-year bachelor’s degree.

Yes.  A minimum score of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) is required to pass the initial technical review of the Fulbright process.  While 75 is the minimum score to apply for the Fulbright program, in order to be successfully placed in a college or university it is recommended that applicants score 100 on the IBT.

The Fulbright Graduate Program is open to applicants with backgrounds in any field of study.  Applicants whose field of study supports or will support development goals in Afghanistan are considered favorably by the selection panel.  The selection is made based on several important factors, and selections are merit based.

The Fulbright programs are extremely competitive, world-class opportunities for education and international understanding.  While many applicants may meet the basic requirements, only the most qualified students may get the opportunity to participate in the program.  In 2016, only 80 applicants were selected as finalists.  Applicants are rank ordered based on the merit of the whole application package (academic excellence, community involvement, etc.), and the top candidates are selected.

You cannot apply for another Master’s Degree in your field if you have already obtained one.  However, you apply for a Master’s degree in a different field if you have a strong justification or apply for the Fulbright Ph.D. program if you wish to pursue further studies in your current field.

Yes.  You can apply in a field other than the one in which you have your undergraduate degree, but you should justify it in your personal statement and study objectives in the application.

No.  Fulbright grants are available for a variety of disciplines and fields, including the performing and visual arts, the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology.  We encourage applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.