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TOEFL for U.S. Green Card Holders

The TOEFL is a near-universal requirement for ESL international students coming to the United States. English assessment is especially important for international students because their visa depends on their academic success. International students also usually have little experience with academic English before coming to America.

U.S. permanent residents who come from other countries (also called Green Card holders) have different needs than international students. They can get low grades and even take a break from school without having to leave the U.S. Their English speaking background varies a lot. Some Green Card holders have been in the U.S. since they were little kids. Others may have been in the U.S. for less than a year when they apply. This is especially common for refugees. Still others may have been exposed to English regularly in their home country. This is often true of people holding marriage visas.

Holding a Green Card instead of a student visa has a lot of advantages. Permanent residents do not have to pay international tuition, and they can get local financial aid. They have the same right to hold a job as a U.S. citizen, too. However, there is one way in which Green Card holding university students are less fortunate than international students: they face requirements for admission that are inconsistent and confusing.

Admissions rules for U.S. permanent residents vary a lot from campus to campus. Penn State doesn’t ask U.S. permanent residents to prove their English language ability in any way. Princeton University’s website says that “if English is not the primary language at your school and if English is not the primary language spoken in your home,” you need to take the TOEFL, even if you have a Green Card. Ohio State University requires you to take the TOEFL if you’ve had your Green Card for less than a year. However, if you’ve been a U.S. permanent resident for MORE than 12 months, no English exam is needed.

To make things even more complicated for Green Card holders, language exam requirements are not always clearly posted on school websites. Some universities don’t publicly post their English proficiency rules for permanent residents at all. Additionally, admissions representatives and counselors may give confusing or incorrect answers. To research this article, I called Princeton to ask them about their rules. The person I spoke to in the admissions office said that the home language of an applicant doesn’t matter, even though Princeton’s website says it does. Similarly, a community college near my hometown has been known to mistakenly tell Green Card holders that they need to take the TOEFL even though the school doesn’t actually require it.

If you hold a U.S. Green Card, congratulations! Your residency will open many doors for you, both in work and in education. However, when applying to American colleges and universities, be sure to check the admission requirements carefully. If you call the admissions office, consider getting in touch with the office manager or an international enrollment specialist to make sure you’re getting the right information. Make sure you do this well before the application deadline, so that you’ll have enough time to prepare for the TOEFL if you do need to take it.

 

81 Responses to TOEFL for U.S. Green Card Holders

  1. dharti patel December 2, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Hi i got married to us citizen guy….aftr going usa i have planned to study further along with marriage life but i am confused that do i have to give toefl or ielts to pursue my study there ?? Please help me out
    .

    • David Recine
      David Recine December 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      Hello Dharti— my wife was in the exact same position several years ago. Long story short, you are much less likely to be asked to take the IELTS or TOEFL. But it depends on the school you’re applying to. Contact the schools you’re thinking of applying to, and ask them if they’ll require you to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Make it clear to them that you are a US permanent resident with a green card, and that you are NOT applying for an international student visa. Sometimes admissions reps get confused too. 🙂

  2. happy February 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm #

    I am green card holder in us but I never study in us but I complete my ged in India so now I have question the ielts is required for me because I am not in student visa so I ask you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      Because you have a US Green Card, most universities won’t require you to take the TOEFL, the IELTS, or any other English proficiency exam. If your past schooling in India was conducted in English and you can document this, even the few universities that would otherwise ask you to take TOEFL or IELTS may be willing to treat your past English-language education as proof of English ability.

      Check individually with the different universities you apply to, of course. But it should be easy to find schools that won’t require you to take an English exam.

      • shubham June 10, 2016 at 10:48 am #

        I have same case but I complete my bachelor engineering in English medium and school till 12th standard I am in Gujarati medium so I need to give ielts or not…!!

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 14, 2016 at 7:28 am #

          Hi Shubham,

          These things are tricky, so the best source of information will be the departments in charge of managing paperwork and requirements. Check individually with the different universities you apply to and see what they need to see from you to satisfy their admissions departments. Good luck! 🙂

      • Ramya July 15, 2016 at 5:27 am #

        Hi David,
        I have been a green card holder for the past 9 years and I am an undergraduate with an Indian Bachelors degree looking to apply for a Masters programme in the US. Apart from the TOEFL queries that you have answered, I would really like to know just how exactly does the application process vary for Green card holders who are international students? I am extremely confused as to whether I ll be considered in the resident category for paying fees or I will have to pay the same as international students. And just, what benefits do I have that people coming here on student visas don’t
        Thanks & regards,
        Ramya

        • David Recine
          David Recine July 19, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

          Ramya,

          Green Card holders pay the same tuition as non-International students. This is a huge perk, as public universities charge international students a lot more money. You’ll also go through the exact same school application processes as a citizen would– and the Green Card/US citizen college application process is a lot easier. So in other words, yes, you’ll be in the resident category when it comes to tuition fees. 🙂

          Hopefully that answers your questions. But if not, I recommend reading these two follow-up posts here on the blog: College Admissions for U.S. Green Card Holders and the TOEFL For U.S. Green Card Holders FAQ.

  3. Tara February 29, 2016 at 5:41 am #

    Hello… I’ve recieved immigrant visa of USA. I have completed my undergraduate from university of Dhaka, Bangladesh…. and currently doing M.S. with a thesis. I’ll leave for USA this july. I want to start for my PhD in USA in the 2017 fall. Will I have to take both GRE and TOFEL like anyother internatinal students for full funding? Let me know please. Thank you.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      Hi Tara,

      The answer to your question is “probably.” For doctoral programs, most schools require both the GRE and the TOEFL. However, there is still a chance you may not need to take both exams, depending on the university. Some PhD programs treat India as a TOEFL exempt country.

      Additionally, if your Master’s, undergraduate, or K-12 studies were in English, this previous English-language education counts as a TOEFL substitute when applying to some universities. And yes, some PhD programs will waive the GRE requirement if you graduated with good grades in a Master’s program, especially a thesis-based one.

      But again, this can all vary a lot from university to university. Check the rules at the schools you’re applying to. And contact admissions offices directly if the rules aren’t clear on the program website… Or if you want to see if they’ll make an exception and waive a testing requirement for you. It never hurts to ask!

  4. Saloni Munsadwala March 14, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Hey David, I am from India and I am pursuing engineering.My immigration file has recently been opened and I am thinking of shifting to USA soon, so probably i will get admission in the third year over there.I am on the horns of dilemma that do i need to give TOFEL or IELTS?And what are the procedures i need to do from here to get admission in US universities (as i don’t want to startover my bachelor degree from the scratch).PLEASE HELP ME OUT.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 4, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

      I’ve certainly seen a lot of immigrants make the transition that you’re making, Saloni. This is a tricky move, since you have immigration and university admittance issues happening at the same time.

      OK, if I understand correctly, you say that you’re likely to get a Green Card for the USA three years after you start studying there. If I’m interpreting that correctly, it means you’ll need to get a student visa first. This is usually not a bad thing— as a general rule, it’s easier to adjust your status from a student visa to a Green Card than to simply try to get a Green Card when you have no status in the USA. This is just a general rule of course. Be sure to consult with US immigration or with an immigration assistance agency– they can tell you exactly how things will go based on the particulars of your situation.

      If I got that wrong, and you actually mean that you’ll start your university studies three years after you get your green card, things are a lot simpler of course– you won’t need a student visa and most universities won’t ask you to take the TOEFL.

      As for the procedure for getting admission into US universities, obviously you’ll want to contact individual university admissions offices, explain your situation to them, and find out exactly what they require. But I can give you some general advice about how to make sure that your previous university credits from transfer if possible. What you’ll want to do is get your past university study evaluated and certified by a company that does international credential review. These kinds of companies can look at your non-American transcripts and tell your university how many equivalent credits you would have earned in the US system. Based on this recommendation, your American university will accept transfer credits from your previous Indian school.

      Two major companies that do this kind of evaluation are ECE and WES. But check with any university to apply to, and see which company they’d like you to use.

  5. Nirjhar April 8, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    HI, I am an Indian, But i have an US Citizenship (born in use) . I will be applying to universities in usa as an undergraduate, Would i Need to give the toefl? What other tests should i give if i want universities like carnegie mellon? Thanks.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 11, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      If you’re a US citizen by naturalization, you usually don’t need the TOEFL, and if you are a US citizen by birth, you definitely won’t be asked to take the TOEFL. For undergraduate study, you’ll instead want to take either the SAT or ACT. These two exams are required for undergraduate study at any American university. At top schools such as Carnegie Mellon, you’ll need to score higher than you would at a mid-tier university, of course.

  6. Sahar April 29, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    Hi.
    Can I study English in Houston university (/College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences/Department of English/Language and Culture Center/Intensive English Program/ESL) with green card??

    • David Recine
      David Recine April 29, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      You’re the second student to ask me about U-Houston this week. I’m happy to tell you that the University of Houston’s ESL program does accept Green Card holders. 🙂

      • Sahar April 30, 2016 at 8:44 am #

        Thank you for answering 😊
        By chance do you know anything about university in Portland that accept Green card for ESL program ?

        • David Recine
          David Recine April 30, 2016 at 9:00 am #

          I’m not too familiar with Portland area ESL programs. I can tell you that the Portland State University Intensive English Program seems to be designed more for international students than for US Green Card holders. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t apply though. Many university ESL programs are very willing to accept US permanent residents, but simply don’t get a lot of applicants. So you may want to contact PSU and see if you can apply.

          As a Green Card holder, you might also want to consider community college ESL as an alternative to university ESL. Lots of community colleges offer ESL courses that are cheap or even completely free for US residents and citizens. In Portland, your local option would be the ESOL program at Portland Community College.

          • Sahar April 30, 2016 at 11:16 am #

            Thank you so much for guiding.
            Isn’t it better I study in university than study in community college??
            How can I know that an university accepts Green cards Holders??
            I couldn’t find it on U_Houston website.

          • David Recine
            David Recine May 1, 2016 at 6:27 am #

            Hi Sahar,

            If your goal is to start a four-year degree as quickly as possible, sometimes it’s better to study in a university ESL program right away. However, some community colleges have ESL programs that are also great for university prep, and can help you transfer to a university. And if your main goal is simply to improve your English, community college and university programs are probably equally useful.

            For general studies (majoring in a degree), every American university will accept Green Card holders. However, NOT every university accepts Green Card holders into its ESL programs. Because it’s rare for Green Card holders to apply to university ESL programs, many ESL programs– including the one at U-Houston– don’t have any information for US permanent residents on their websites. You usually have to email or call the program to be sure.

  7. Mohit chaudhary May 4, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

    hello David, its mohit here i want to know that i had completed my bachelors in civil engineering and immigrates to usa right back 4 months ago in december 2015 ,being a green card holder which is the best option to have masters in civil from universities in california as i am leaving in san francisco city.?do i have to give GRE and TOEFL or any other alternative to get a scholarship?

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 9, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      Hi Mohit,

      First off, you’ll need to take the GRE for pretty much any grad program in civil engineering— that’s a requirement for all students, regardless of language background.

      The Bay Area has a large, very competitive scene for universities! This is good and bad— the many nationally “top” schools in and around SF are more likely to ask Green Card holders for the TOEFL. Standford, for example, seems like they’re pretty likely to ask you for the TOEFL, based on their stated policies. But there are also many universities in the area that are less likely to ask you for the TOEFL.

      If avoiding a TOEFL requirement is a high priority for you, than you should be able to find some Bay Area universities that would take you without a TOEFL score– the farther you get out into North Bay or South Bay, the better your chances likely are. However, I’d recommend taking the TOEFL– if you get a good score a lot of world class programs in Greater San Francisco will open up to you. And if you get a bad score, you’ve still got a decent chance of finding a local Civil Engineering grad degree of some sort.

  8. M. Ochoa May 7, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    Hi! I did all my studies here in the USA, elementary, junior high and high school but i got my bachelor’s degree from mexivo. I am an american citizen, i live here and also work here. My question is do i still have to take the Toefel exam in order to be certified as a teacher?

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 9, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      With a complete K-12 education, it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to take the TOEFL in order to get a certificate— I’ve never heard of a state licensing board requiring this for someone in your situation.. However, there may be other additional American teacher training requirements or testing requirements (such as the Praxis). Be sure to check with your state’s department of education for exams teacher licensing requirements.

  9. Eli May 8, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Hi,
    This is Eli from Iran. I’ll leave Iran for usa this year and I`ll recieve my green card within 2 months after I enter to Usa. Just let me know if I want to continue my education in universities of us, I need to take a Toefl and GRE exam or not.
    thank u in advance
    Eli

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 9, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      Congratulations on your upcoming green cared, Eli! 🙂

      You’ll definitely need the GRE— that’s a requirement for citizens, non-citizens, permanent residents, everyone! At most universities, you’re unlikely to be asked for the TOEFL. But because you will have arrived to the USA so recently after getting your Green Card, some schools that would not normally ask a Green Card Holder for a TOEFL score might ask you– if they are aware of how recently you’ve arrived, that is.

      Provided you have the ability to select form several different universities, you should be able to find a university that won’t hold you to the TOEFL requirement. Good luck, and welcome to the USA!

  10. James May 17, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    David , you have answer most of my unasked questions and thanks for that , their is only one i need you to clarify. As a permanent resident by married , i will be allow to further my study in USA but can it be a problem or delay getting my Citizenship after 3yrs of marriage , I`m aware my earning income matter within the 3yrs to qualify for citizenship. as a permanent resident by married and studying , their is no income for me since am not working …How bad is that getting my citizenship after 3yrs or it does not matter ..thanks in advance

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 21, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi James— Great question! (And as I just mentioned to Noorie, we have some upcoming posts that deal with Green Card holder education and testing matters in greater detail.)

      Not getting your citizenship within three years isn’t an issue, so long as you don’t actually lose your Green Card because of the delay. Green Card holders have all of the same educational rights and privileges as citizens. So this shouldn’t make a difference to the schools you apply to. Just keep your Green Card valid and current, and you’ll be OK.

  11. Noorie Shahzadi May 20, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi ,

    I moved to US 2008 on H4 visa and then to GC in 2012. I worked about an year and now planning to go for higher studies in my field (HR Management). We got settled in Seattle and want to study here. I always get confused : Do I need to give any exam? If yes, which one? What is the process of submission? How to select an university? Do I need to give GMAT?How do I get enrolled in college?

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      Testing requirements for Green Card holders really can be confusing, Noorie… that’s why Magoosh put up this post! We actually have a post on other exams for US Green Card holders (GMAT, GRE, etc…) scheduled for next week.

      In the meanwhile, I can tell you that GMAT requirements are the same for international students, Green Card holders, and American citizens. So if the program you apply to in Seattle requires the GMAT, you’ll need to take it, regardless of visa/residency status. Because you’ve been a US resident for several years and you have local work experience, you probably won’t be asked to take the TOEFL. But some schools ask anyone from a non-English-speaking background to take the TOEFL, even if they have a Green Card. So double check with any university you apply to.

      As far as the process of selecting a college, submitting an application, and getting enrolled, I have some good news— the process for all of this is much simpler for Green Card holders than for international students. Just look for universities online, find their forms for applying as a local/domestic student, follow the instructions, and enroll in classes after you get accepted. You won’t need to show proof of income or assets, talk to immigration, get any special permits to study, or do any of the other extra things you’d need to do if you were applying as an international student. You have the exact same right-to-study as a full U.S. citizen! 🙂

  12. Shweta May 21, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi m married to us citizen guy .. N m preparing for NBED ( national board exam of denta) nw m confused toefl is required for me ?? Pls help me

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 22, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

      Hi Shweta,

      Being married to a US citizen does not typically erase the need for English proficiency tests if required for a program. I am not familiar with NBED requirements beyond what I can see online, but to just take the exam, I don’t believe there is a TOEFL requirement. However, to join a dental program, I am fairly sure you need to have a TOEFL. Can you clarify what you are looking to do exactly so we might be able to help? 🙂

  13. Ayush May 23, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    Hi, I am from India and my US Immigration file has just opened. I am pursuing bachelors in mechanical engineering. I have recently given GRE and scored 301 in the same. Now can i get admissions in really good colleges for Post graduation in mechanical engineering if i take admission 1 year after getting the green card? Also suggest me some good universities and courses for post grad in mechanical engineering. Thanks

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      Congratulations on your pending Green Card! Understand though, that getting a Green Card doesn’t make you more likely to be accepted into a program. It simply makes the application and admissions process simpler— MUCH simpler! You won’t need to get a visa approved— you’ll just need to be accepted into the academic program itself. Given how complicated and expensive it can be to study on an international student visa, your plan to wait is still a good one— starting school after you get your Green Card will save you a lot of trouble and headaches.

      I don’t really have expertise in programs for specific engineering disciplines, and Magoosh itself isn’t really set up to answer those types of specific admissions questions. But we do offer a lot of general advice about programs in popular fields such as engineering. Over at our GRE Blog, we have a list of top engineering programs and their GRE score requirements. That list should get you pointed in the right direction as you search for your dream mechanical engineering program.

  14. Kamil May 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    Soon I’m gonna hold a green card of usa , And I want to do Ms in US in computer science , do i really need to get a score above 80 in TOEFL and I have taken the Gre exam too and I got 282 in gre , so will it be enough score to get admission in USA , please suggest me as soon as possible , note I’m not gonna take the admission in college as a international student.thanks

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 27, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Once you have your Green Card, you’ll be able to find programs that won’t ask you for a TOEFL score at all– most universities only require a TOEFL score for non U.S. residents whoa re seeking student visas. Your GRE score seems a little low for acceptance into a computer science MS though. Generally, computer science grad programs want to see a combined Verbal GRE score that’s at least in the low 300s. Over at our Magoosh GRE Blog, Rita provides a good infographic of the average GRE scores for students who get accepted into a variety of majors, including computer science.

  15. Rishabh June 8, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

    Hello i am from india . Recently i have got green card visa . I just entered 3rd yesr in BBA. I am thinking of taking admission as a NRI and then go to usa and work there till my graduation and then coming to india just for giving exams and getting degree. Then thinking to do Mba from Usa. Will i have to give any exam in Usa for Mba or directly i will get admission there?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 14, 2016 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Rishabh,

      If you hold a green card, you are likely to be exempt from the English exam requirements, but you have to check individually with the universities as you apply. Some have different admissions requirements than others and you will need to be proactive about finding that out on a case-by-case basis. You will also need a GMAT (or sometimes GRE) score to enter an MBA program.

      I hope that helps! 🙂

  16. Deeksha July 1, 2016 at 3:31 am #

    Hi,

    I am married to H1B visa holder. I’m on dependent visa-h4. I want to do my higher studies. I need to know how to apply, can I take the TOEFL TEST in the US?,the VISA process? Can I get a Loan in the U.S.

    Also, my brother is a green card holder, will that help ? if so, how?

    Thank you!

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Deeksha,

      Great questions! In most cases, H4 visa holders can study in the U.S. without adjusting their visa status. But in some cases, H4 holders may need to switch to a student visa. This depends on the exact nature of your spouse’s work contract, terms of stay, etc…. So you’d need to check with the international student services desk of any university you apply to. They’d be able to weigh your situation carefully and see if you can study on the visa you have, or if you’ll need to adjust status and switch to a student visa.

      You won’t be able to get U.S. government-backed student loans. Those are for Green Card holders only. You may be eligible for student loans that are backed entirely by private banks, however. To know for sure, you’d want to contact some private banks (or credit card companies) and ask them if they can extend any loans to you for study.

      You will very likely be asked to take the TOEFL. While it’s common for universities to exempt Green Card holders and U.S. citizens from taking the TOEFL, nearly all other foreign residents visa holders are required to take the TOEFL (unless they’re from a native English speaking country).

      Your brother’s Green Card won’t have any influence on your situation. however, if your brother goes on to get U.S. citizenship, he can sponsor you so that you receive a Green Card. That process takes several years, though.

  17. NEEL PATEL July 2, 2016 at 3:20 am #

    Hi
    I have completed my 12th grade in india and I m going to get my green card in few months later for U.S . I want to study medicine so{ i have to give TOEFL????} as a GREEN CARD HOLDER to get the admission in university for undergraduate courses??

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

      Very cool to get a Green card right of high school.

      TO get into a graduate medicine course, you will probably need to take the TOEFL. But for undergraduate study, even in pre-med, there are many universities that won’t ask for TOEFL scores if you have a Green Card. I’d say it couldn’t hurt to take the TOEFL, just in case you’re asked for it by some of the schools you apply to. But you will definitely be able to enter a pre-med program somewhere int he U.S.A. without a TOEFL score.

  18. Gina July 19, 2016 at 12:02 am #

    Hello!
    I’m Gina from Taiwan! I’ve completed my university in Taiwan!
    Now I’m going to apply for the grad school in US. I’ve heard that international students can apply for the school without giving the TOEFL test as the conditional admission.My problem is that I am a green card holder, can I apply the grad school with the conditional admission? Or just because I’m a green card holder so I don’t have the quality?

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

      That is a somewhat complicated question. For one thing, if you have a green card, you may be able to gain unconditional admission without taking the TOEFL, as many universities waive TOEFL requirements for US citizens and permanent residents.

      There are still some grad programs that may ask you to take the TOEFL simply because you did all of your previous schooling in a non-English speaking country. In that case, it’s probably still best to try for the TOEFL and see if you can get a qualifying score— conditional acceptance programs will require you to take at least one semester of ESL and possibly more if you have no TOEFL score. So passing the TOEFL could save you time and money.

      As for whether you actually qualify for conditional acceptance, you probably do. Most universities will either give Green Card holders special permission to take conditional acceptance ESL classes alongside international students. And other universities will offer Green Card holders what is called “remedial” English classes– classes designed for US residents and citizens who don’t have the level of English proficiency normally required to start grad school.

      Also bear in mind that if you do need to improve your English before you start grad school in the states there are many unique English study options for US Green Card Holders, other than the conditional acceptance ESL courses that international students take.

  19. Yashwin Munsadwala July 25, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

    Hi I am currently an Indian citizen and my have just been opened for the US immigration.I am in third year and doing engineering.If i want to get admission over there, do i need to give TOEFL/IElTS exam as i want to continue from the third year itself?

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 1, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      It depends on what you mean when you say you’ve “just been opened for US immigration.” If you’ve just applied for a Green Card but don’t actually have a Green Card yet, you’ll need to apply for school in America as an international student. This means taking the TOEFL or IELTS, and meeting other requirements for a student visa. However, if “just opened” means you’ve just been given your green card, then you can apply to American schools as a domestic student. In that case, many schools will not ask for the IELTS or TOEFL, and may not ask you for any proof of English proficiency. Some top schools still will ask you for an IELTS/TOEFL score though, even if you just got US status.

      If your Green Card is pending, it may or may not be a good idea to also apply for another visa, such as a student visa. If you are considering getting a student visa while you wait for your Green Card to come through, check with a U.S. immigration expert to make sure that will be alright.

  20. Saniya Khan August 4, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi David,
    I am US citizen and got naturalisation process done through my husband. Right now I am residing overseas. I have done all my 16 years education from Pakistan. I am planning to move back to US in a year and get my teacher certification as I have been teaching in Pakistan since last six years. My query is do I have take toefl before getting into any program in US? I have been in touch with one of Texes teacher training institute and they asked me to send toefl score because they weren’t able to evaluate my credentials ( that I have already got done now). Please give my some idea. I am little confused here.
    Thanks

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 6, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Policies on TOEFL requirements for US Green Card holders are a little bit inconsistent for teacher training programs, and for universities in general. If you hold a Green Card, some universities and teacher training programs will ask for a TOEFL score, and some won’t. If you did all of your prior education in your home country, you are more likely to be asked for a TOEFL score.

      So you may want to look around and see if you can find other teacher certification programs that don’t need to see your TOEFL. I also recommend getting your credentials professionally evaluated by a U.S.-certified international credential evaluator, since it sounds like you may be able to get your TOEFL requirements waived if your program is able to understand your credentials form Pakistan. WES and ECE are the two big ones in the USA. Check with your program to see if they will accept credential evaluations from these two services.

  21. Shreya August 11, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Hi David
    I married to an us citizen this year Nd want to pursue my masters in biotechnology in Chicago . Should I need to appear for tofl and gre????

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 13, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      You will definitely need a GRE score. The GRE is universally required for science-related Masters degrees. And GRE requirements are the same for all international and domestic students.

      Whether or not you need the TOEFL depends on which university you are applying to in Chicago. Some universities require the TOEFL for any student who did not get their K-12 or bachelor degree education in English. Other universities only require the TOEFL for international students who have student visas.

  22. Nazeli August 30, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    Hi …
    This is Nazeli Fallahi and I am in the process of completing the necessary documents to migrate to the US.
    I would greatly appreciate if you could give me some information regarding how to evaluate my bachelors degree to be able to apply for your graduate program. Regarding the requirement for English courses is it going to be beneficial to me to take the tofel and Gre exams while still in Iran, or having a status of permanent resident will require me to go through college process to complete me general education requirements?

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      An early welcome to the US, Nazeli! Even with a Green Card, you’ll need to get your Bachelor’s degree and undergraduate coursework analyzed by a credential evaluation service. Most universities have partnerships with specific credential evaluation companies, and can help you get in contact with a credential evaluator who will analyze your Iranian transcripts and diploma.

      There also can be some advantage to getting your transcripts analyzed before you actually apply to a school. If you have translated, analyzed transcripts in hand, you can show them to prospective schools. Those schools can tell you whether or not they will allow you to start your graduate studies without requiring any pre-requisite general education classes. Policies on this vary a lot form school to school, so it can help to “shop around” for a school that will be highly accepting of your prior credits.

      For more information on credential evaluation, see my previous post on transferring course credits from abroad.

      Once you get your status as a permanent resident, most schools won’t require you to submit the TOEFL. So I would say wait before you take the TOEFL…. unless you are planning to apply to an especially competitive school that asks non-native English speaking Green Card holders to take the TOEFL. (Check with your prospective schools for their policies on TOEFL testing for permanent residents of the US.) You’ll need to take the GRE whether you have a Green Card or not, so getting an early start on that could be beneficial.

  23. Tayseer Rafi August 30, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    Hi,

    I am a green card holder and I want to pursue my masters in IT. As I have seen many universities require toefl/ielts and gre tests so my question is do I need to give toefl or ielts? and I have my degree evaluated from CED which states that I have a bachelors degree of science in IT which is equivalent to a US bachelors degree of 3 years. So will they accept my degree? and can you elaborate what are other basic eligibility requirements for graduate admissions?
    Thanks.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 7:17 am #

      Hi Tayser,

      Thanks for stopping by to ask such great questions. This is a very helpful comment, because a lot of students need to deal with multiple exams and with credential evaluation.

      First, let’s look at your questions about giving the TOEFL or IELTS. As a US Green Card Holders, a lot of schools will exempt you from TOEFL and IELTS requirements. But if your high school or Bachelor’s studies were not conducted in English, there are still some schools that will ask you for a TOEFL or IELTS score, even if you are a Green Card holder. In other words, having a Green Card doesn’t guarantee you can skip the TOEFL, but it does increase the chances that you can skip the TOEFL.

      As for other testing requirements… When a grad program requires the GRE, it requires it for all applicants. And if you’re going on for a grad degree in IT or a similar STEM field, you’ll almost certainly be asked for a GRE score. For more info, see my post on exams other than the TOEFL for US Green Card holders.

      Next, let’s look at your question about your non-American bachelor’s degree. If CED has certified your degree as equivalent to a US bachelor’s most American grad programs will accept that as a basic prerequisite for graduate study. However, there is at least a small chance that some universities will ask you to have your credentials re-evaluated by of their preferred credential evaluation companies– an organization other than CED. Your prospective schools my also ask that for a credential evaluation of the individual classes on your undergraduate transcripts. This is because sometimes you need to have taken specific classes or their equivalents in order to meet the requirements of a graduate program. For more information on transferring foreign credits to US universities, see my post on transferring course credit from abroad.

  24. Amolika August 31, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    Hello David Sir,
    I am a high school graduate from India. I will soon become a green card holder. I have still not applied to any university in U.S. I am currently preparing for SAT exam since some colleges require them. I am not sure about TOEFL exam yet.
    It may be possible that I dont get my green card before the application deadlines
    In this case,how should i go about preparing myself for college?
    Also,can it be possible that I contact with the admissions officers through mail and not call?

    That would be so kind of u!
    Thank you.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 7:00 am #

      Hi Amolika. This is a complicated situation. I have a few different pieces of advice for you. One thing you should do is contact the schools you’re applying to and let them know about your pending green Card. If you can prove your Green Card is on the way, your prospective schools may be willing to exempt you from the TOEFL requirement. Also check with your schools to see if they consider India to be a TOEFL exempt country.

      Check as well to see if the schools you’re applying to would like you to apply for a student visa, or if they are OK with you applying as if you were a Green Card holder, even though your Green card hasn’t arrived yet. If schools want you to apply for a student visa, don’t apply for a student visa immediately. Instead, contact US immigration, explain the situation to them, and make sure that applying for a student visa won’t create complications or delays with your pending Green card application.

      Does this make sense? Let me know if you need anything clarified. Like I said, this is a complicated situation.Let me know if you have any more questions, concerns or doubts.

  25. Sandilya September 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    Hello David, this is Sandi here.. I’m an American citizen by naturalization and I’ve my high school education in USA I came to India for engineering and I’m almost done with engineering should I take Gre? For admission at university in USA I know that I don’t have to take toefl I’m confused about taking gre ? Please help me out … I wrote Sat in USA when I’m in high school

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 6:50 am #

      Hi Sandi,

      GRE requirements are the same for citizens, non-citizens, native English speakers, and non-native English speakers. If you’re getting a grad degree in engineering, you’ll definitely need the GRE. US engineering grad schools almost always require GRE scores from all applicants.

      This should answer your question. But if anyone else has looked at Sandi’s comment and is wondering about other non-TOEFL tests and whether citizens/Green Card holders need to take them, Magoosh has a post for that! See our post on exams other than the TOEFL for US Green Card holders.

  26. Satyam Stan September 5, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    hello magoosh , im just so much fascinated being settled in US. IS this all about giving TOEFL exam and if passed then will be getting green card ? and if failed then what ? do give me reply 🙂 quick

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 6:24 am #

      Don’t worry, the TOEFL isn’t required for US permanent residency Green Cards. It is required for some types of work visas though.

  27. Keshav Sharma September 6, 2016 at 6:32 am #

    hello sir
    I possess a bachelor degree in computer science. I completed my b.tech in 2014. I have no experience in any field. Next year I am moving to US. I will be a green card holder. Should i apply for a job in US or should i go for MS???

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 13, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      That’s a good– and tricky– question. The choice to work after college or go straight to grad school depends on a lot of factors. I would say that you should be prepared to go straight for an MS, if you aren’t able to quickly find a job in the USA. In some parts of the country, computer jobs are plentiful and employers are very willing to hire entry-level college graduates from other countries. In other parts of the US, your lack of experience and “newcomer” status may make it hard for you to get a job. In that case, an in-country American grad degree might help you a lot.

  28. Sarah September 8, 2016 at 1:51 am #

    Hello David, I was born and graduated in Iran but I will be in America until next year as a refugee with green card. Should I take the toefl or other English test for master or work?
    Thanks!

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 13, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      Hi Sarah,

      First, congratulations on getting refugee status and your Green Card. That must be a relief!

      Now to address your question: If you are working in healthcare– pharmacist, nurse, doctor, etc., there’s a good chance you’ll need the TOEFL for work. You’ll be able to get into a lot of universities without the TOEFL. Most universities only require the TOEFL for student visa holders, and waive that requirement for permanent residents or citizens. However, some especially competitive schools require the TOEFL for anyone whose previous education took place in a non-English speaking country. Be sure to check the TOEFL requirements at any school you apply to. But you don’t absolutely need to take the TOEFL to get into school somewhere— the majority of schools will accept you without it.

      • Sarah September 14, 2016 at 5:53 am #

        Thank you for your useful advice. In fact I am a holder of a Bachelor Degree in architecture and I ‘m confused which decision is better for me, start to learn a new major or getting master in architecture?
        What about working in the field of architecture, will TOEFL score be useful for me? Or companies require it to hire me?

        • David Recine
          David Recine September 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

          I’ve never heard of a company requiring a TOEFL score for architecture or any related job position. In fact in the USA, TOEFL scores are usually only required for medical jobs and English teaching positions.

          Now to address your question about starting a new major vs. getting a Master’s in Architecture. This decision depends a little on where you plan to live. The job market for architecture may be better in some parts of the country than others. In general though, architecture is a very competitive job market in the USA. There are a lot of people getting architecture degrees at both the grad and undergrad level, and the actual job market for architecture is kind of unpredictable.

          So a Master’s in Architecture won’t necessarily make you any more competitive than you already are. It could still be worth pursing if architecture is a passion for you, or if you get into a top school that can give you a highly respected degree in the field. But it’s a difficult decision to make. For more information, check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report on architecture employment.

          • Sarah September 16, 2016 at 3:12 am #

            In fact, I’m going to live in Richmond VA.
            Thanks

          • David Recine
            David Recine September 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

            Got it! In all honesty, I don’t know all that much about the architecture job market in Richmond, Virginia. I advise you check the local job listings, and also look up universities in the area that offer architecture graduate degrees. Advisors in Masters of Architecture programs can probably also give you good advice on your options for work or advanced studies. Good luck!

  29. Aman Agarwal September 18, 2016 at 6:19 am #

    Hey David

    I am completing my BE in a US university, would I still need to give TOEFL?

    Thank you

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 23, 2016 at 10:58 am #

      If you have a Green Card, most US universities won’t ask you for the TOEFL when you apply to complete your bachelor’s. However, some very competitive top schools will. So be prepared to possibly take the TOEFL, if you have your heart set on a highly competitive school. (And check with individual schools for their polices on this.)

  30. Sarah September 19, 2016 at 1:24 am #

    Thank you very much for your useful information.

  31. Dhaval Vora September 22, 2016 at 3:59 am #

    Hi David,
    I completed my diploma in computer engineering (3 years course) from Maharashtra State Board 6 years back in Mumbai, India and now i am planning to complete my further studies i.e. i want to complete my graduation in US and i am a green card holder. My query is do i have start again with 10th grade or my diploma will be considered ? How many years Graduation course will be ? I am confused from last 2 months.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 23, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      This is a great question, Dhaval. And a somewhat complicated question.

      First, you will be seen as a high school graduate in the eyes of university admissions reps. However, the United States education system doesn’t have the secondary and higher secondary pre-university system that India does. From what I know, it seems likely that your computer science concentration at the secondary level would be treated just as a generic high school degree by universities. So you’d have to take a full four years for graduation form a university bachelor’s degree program. Even if you major in computer engineering at a US university, the classes from your secondary diploma could probably not be applied to your new uni degree.

      In short, you don’t need to do any more high school work and are eligible to start university study immediately in the USA. However, your secondary diploma in computer engineering may not be treated as special or valuable by US employers or universities. To know for sure though, you should check with the admissions offices at schools you’re applying to.

  32. Sindhuja Dutta October 14, 2016 at 4:22 am #

    Hi,

    I’m a US Citizen who has been living in India for the past 13 years. I have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from a private university in Bangalore. I’m writing my GRE soon, and wanted to know whether I require Toefl scores to apply to US universities.

    Could you please help me out?

    Regards,
    Sindhuja

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2016 at 3:02 am #

      Hi Sindhuja,

      It is my understanding that US citizens do not need to take the TOEFL at all, even if they have completed studies outside the US, but if you are very unsure, you may need to reach out to the schools and verify that this is the case. Your situation is somewhat unique, but there should be university policies in place that can help you. Good luck! 🙂

  33. Nancy Goveas November 1, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    Hi,
    Culd u tell me sir, what percentage is require in PCM for computer science engnieering degree at usa

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 1, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      If you are referring to Physics, Chemistry and Maths in the Indian education system, you’ll need the equivalent of at least a 3.0 GPA in the US system. This generally means getting 50% or higher. However, this can be a little unpredictable, because not every American university accepts the exact same conversion system for Indian-to-US grades. One of the most commonly accepted conversions is the one form World Education services; that’s where I got the 50% figure. To learn about other conversion systems, see the GMAT Club Forum’s discussion on this—it’s very informative! The schools you apply to are likely to go with the WES conversion system. But to be sure, you should probably contact your prospective schools and see what their conversion policies are.

  34. Ritu November 12, 2016 at 3:02 am #

    Hii .. i am a green card holder.. i have stayed in US for just 2 months after i got my green card and had to come back to india coz of some reasons.. i am a bba graduate from india n pursued my education from english medium institute.. Now i am planning to go back to US to do mba.. Wat all entrance tests do i have to appear for . To get admission there in a good mba college ?

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 13, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

      As long as you didn’t lose your Green Card because of your trip back to India, you should be held to the exact same rules as any other Green Card Holder. This means a lot of schools will exempt you from the TOEFL. Top schools are slightly more likely to make Green Card holders take the TOEFL or IELTS, but only slightly more likely. Some top MBA programs will ask you for the TOEFL and some won’t. You’ll have to check with individual schools to be sure of their policies.

      Regardless, you will very likely need to take the GMAT. But again, check the specific policies of any program you apply to.

  35. Berlin November 16, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    Hello sir,
    I am planning to try fr him job in USA.. do I need to try toefl or ielts fr that

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

      If you work in health care, you’ll very likely need either the TOEFL or IELTS. This is true even of non-emergency healthcare jobs such as pharmacist. If you don’t have a Green Card and are looking to get a work-based visa in a field other than healthcare, you may or may not need the TOEFL. In that case, check with USCIS and your prospective employer to make sure.


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