Can International Students Get A U.S. Online MBA?

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Because of bustling cities like Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles, and more, the United States is often considered a hub for entrepreneurship and business studies. In fact, in 2019-2020, nearly 1.1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions. Business degrees from schools like Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and the University of California are all internationally recognized for their exceptional educational programs. The global pandemic has shifted many things for education in general but especially for international students. As more students have looked for ways to learn at a distance to stay healthy, some have wondered if international students can get a U.S. online MBA degree. This article will discuss a few of the specifics details that international students need to address before applying for an Online MBA in the United States. 

Where Should I Start?


As we discussed, there are many well respected Master’s of Business Administration programs available in the United States. From there, check for distance learning options. Because of the pandemic, many schools are now offering a wider variety of online learning possibilities. For those who plan to complete their degree fully online, it is essential to look into international policy for each business school you are interested in. 

International students will not qualify to enter into the U.S. as a student and take an entirely online course load. However, some programs do allow international students to participate in Online MBA programs while still residing at their current place of residence. Hybrid programs are considered acceptable for international students who travel to America for their degrees. Speaking with an admissions counselor who is familiar with your prospective school’s policies for international students is always an excellent idea before you begin with the application phase. With that being said, filing international paperwork can take time, especially with the pandemic affecting many aspects of international travel. To make sure that you are ready to begin your OMBA program on time, you will want to apply and complete all paperwork as soon as possible. 

What Is The Application Process Like For U.S. Online MBAs?

In order to apply to an OMBA in the States, you can expect to send transcripts from previous colleges or universities, letters of recommendation, and a history of work experience. In general, most MBA programs require a completed four-year degree and prefer GMAT scores and a minimum of two years of work experience. There are many schools that do not require one or both of these components, so if you have not taken the GMAT or do not have significant work experience, don’t get discouraged! A strong letter of reference and a high grade-point average can go a long way. International applicants will also want to pay attention to TOEFL requirements.

What Is TOEFL?

TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. This is a very popular and commonly required English proficiency exam that is accepted at major American universities. The exam is designed to test international students’ understanding and usage of North American English as it is heard, written, and spoken in academic settings. The test lasts approximately four hours with a 30-minute check-in period. There are more than 50 exam dates per year that are offered at many locations that link to the ETS database. 

Test takers can expect:

20 minutes speaking
50 minutes writing
60-90 minutes listening
60-100 minutes reading 
10 minutes break time

You can click here to register online. A phone option is available as well.

What Will I Need In Order To Enroll In A Hybrid MBA Offered In the United States?


One of the important aspects of applying for a hybrid Online MBA in the U.S. is paperwork, specifically an F-1 Visa. This type of visa is required for full-time college and university students. Once you are accepted into an OMBA program, the school will also send you an I-20 application form. You will then need to take the I-20 form and your passport to an American Embassy or Consulate. There will be an official who oversees non-immigrant visas who can help walk you through the process. Additionally, a sponsor may need to fill out an Affidavit of Support. This form will act as proof of financial capability during your stay in the United States. 

Specifics About the Affidavit of Support

Prospective students must have proof of earning the equivalent of $30,000-$40,000 USD per year as income or submit an Affidavit of Support form along with their paperwork. With an Affidavit of Support, a sponsor must show that they earn this same amount in order to support the applicant while they are staying in the United States. Each university may have a different name for this form, including Form I-134, Financial Resources Statement, or Declaration & Certification of Finances. Parents or guardians can qualify as a sponsor. However, reliable sources such as bank statements and pay stubs must be submitted. Final acceptance into your Hybrid OMBA cannot be complete until this paperwork is submitted. It is important to note that scholarship recipients will need to speak with their university and discuss the specifics of what is required. 

Action Plan

As you work through the process of applying to Online MBA programs in the United States, there may be an overlap in the information required. First, you must identify what degrees you are interested in pursuing. Next, research their admissions policies and make call to admissions counselors. It is advisable to keep a folder of both physical and digital documents to have on hand in order to help all processes involved go smoothly. A few of the documents to consider including are current passports, GMAT scores, TOEFL scores, academic transcripts, tax returns for the last three years for I-20 purposes, and letters of recommendation.  

Many American colleges and universities offer specific financial aid and academic support to international students. As you make phone calls and research prospective schools, be sure to look into scholarships, support programs, and resources. The process of applying for an Online/Hybrid Master’s of Business Administration in the United States can be stressful and tedious. If you need help with other areas, our guides like the Guide To GMAT and Guide To MBA Degrees are the perfect place to start.

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