Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Australian Applicant FAQs

1. Eligibility & Citizenship

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Which Fulbright Scholarship/s am I eligible for? Please refer to the Australian Applicants page for information about eligibility. All applicants must be Australian citizens who do not hold dual citizenship with the United States, can travel on an Australian passport and are eligible for a J1 visa.

Are those with dual eligible for a scholarship? Yes, unless you hold dual Australian-U.S. citizenship. Unfortunately, dual Australian-U.S. citizens are ineligible. Dual citizenship with any other country does not affect eligibility.

I hold a Green Card. Am I eligible to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship? No. The Fulbright program is, at its heart, an exchange program. As such, those who already have the opportunity to experience living and studying in the U.S. by other means are not eligible.

If I’m not an Australian citizen but I am a permanent resident, am I eligible for a scholarship? No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be Australian citizens by birth or naturalisation. Other nationals may be able to apply for Fulbright scholarships from their home country. See the U.S. Department of State’s home page for further information.

I am an Australian citizen but I’m living abroad, am I eligible for an Australian Fulbright scholarship?

  • No. It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be residing in Australia at the time of application and that they be available for an interview. The only exceptions to this rule are for individuals serving overseas in the Armed Forces, or for Australian diplomats posted overseas.
  • All Scholars must be available to attend the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in February/March.

2. Guidelines for Applying:

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How do I apply for a Fulbright Scholarship? Please refer to the relevant application instructions PDF on the Apply Now page — the link to apply is within this document. These instructions are designed as a step by step guide to assist you through the application process. The application portal is used in over 160 countries — not all sections are required to complete an application for the Australian program, so ensure that you read this document and follow the instructions closely.

What are the opening and closing dates for applications? Applications for all scholarship categories open in January and close in July each year. Under no circumstances can late applications be accepted. Please note that even though you may still be able to access the application system, submitted applications cannot be reviewed until after the closing date.

Can I apply for more than one Fulbright Scholarship? Yes. Applicants should follow the instructions in the application instructions to apply for multiple scholarship opportunities. As a general rule, applicants will automatically be considered for the General Category Fulbright Scholarships, but may elect to be considered for additional awards via the same application.

What do I need in order to complete an application? Please refer to the Application Instructions PDF for more detailed information. Applications require:

  • A project statement
  • A personal statement
  • A resume/CV
  • Letter of Invitation (unless you are a degree seeking student)
  • PDF copies of your academic transcripts, passport or birth certificates. These do not need to be certified.

What makes a competitive application? There is no “formula” for a successful application. Each individual’s application should be about the candidate, how the program time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant.

We often publish application tips and advice to our YouTube channel — we recommend subscribing if you want to receive the latest info.

Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting? Please do not ask Fulbright staff to review your written application. To ensure equity to all applicants we are unable to do so.

Can I apply for a Fulbright as a creative/performing artist? Yes! Please visit this website for information on supplemental materials you will need to put forward if you are in any of the following disciplines:

  • Architecture and city planning
  • Art – digital, mixed media, painting, photography or sculpture
  • Dance
  • Film studies
  • Media Arts
  • Music – composition or performance
  • Theatre arts
  • Writing – creative fiction or non-fiction, poetry or journalism

Do I have to attend an interview? Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available for an interview in person or via video conference. The Fulbright office is in Canberra, but you will not be disadvantaged if you elect to participate via video conference.

I have never lived or studied abroad. Will that disadvantage me? No. Preference may be given to those who have not had recent extensive experience abroad i.e. undertaken study, teaching, research or employment for a period aggregating more than one academic year during the past five years.

Is there an age limit to people applying for Fulbright Scholarships? No – As long as the applicant can pass the medical examination requirements for U.S. visas.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from applying in the future? No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to re-apply the following year.

Does affiliation with a U.S. host institution have to be confirmed at the time of application? Degree-seeking (Master’s or full PhD) Students:  No — Postgraduate applicants who wish to undertake a full degree program do not need to have a confirmed place at a U.S. university prior to applying. Moreover, applicants must not have already commenced a U.S. degree program at time of application. It is fine to have an existing placement offer (deferred until a later year) as long as you have not yet commenced the program. In short, Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships are aimed at funding new programs of study, not the continuation of existing programs. Successful applicants may use Placement Services to assist with university applications after the Fulbright selection process is complete.

 Visiting Student Researchers (VSR):  Yes — VSR applicants must have established prior contact with their host institution, and must include with their application a Letter of Invitation (LOI) on the official letterhead of their host, letting us know that they are willing to support the proposed research, and provide a suitable workspace/resources, etc.

Can I have multiple U.S. host institutions? In the interests of maintaining a consistent, coherent program of research/study, we strongly encourage applicants to limit their proposals to a single host institution. In exceptional cases, an additional host institution will be considered, however additional institutions will require an additional letter of invitation with accurate, corresponding dates. Short visits (up to 1 week) to other institutions are acceptable exceptions to this.

I have already started a degree in the U.S. Can I apply for a Fulbright scholarship to fund this? No. Applicants who have already commenced studies/research in the U.S. are ineligible for a Fulbright scholarship. Applicants can already have an acceptance to a degree program in the U.S., but cannot have enrolled and began coursework.

Will Fulbright fund a study abroad exchange within my current Australian degree program? No. While the scholarship is available for Australian PhD applicants completing their degree at an Australian institution to study in the U.S. for a period of time as visiting researchers, applicants are not able to undertake study/courses towards an Australian coursework degree. 

Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for a Fulbright scholarship? Yes – or a tertiary equivalent qualification. Undergraduate students are also permitted to apply if they are on track for graduation before the timeframe in which the Fulbright is required to commence.

I have submitted my PhD thesis and it has been accepted but not yet conferred, am I eligible for the Postdoctoral Scholarship? Yes, however at the time of application, you are required to provide an additional letter from your supervisor and/or Head of School notifying us that you are on track to complete your PhD thesis prior to your intended departure to the U.S. Should the application be successful, you must supply the Commission with evidence that your PhD has been conferred prior to departure.

Is preference given to applicants from specific academic fields? No. General category Fulbright Scholarships are open to applicants from any academic field. Some awards may be limited to specific disciplines, themes, or purposes. Please check individual award pages for further information.

Are medical graduates eligible for a Fulbright Scholarship? Medical graduates are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship if they can assure authorities in the United States that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients. Medical graduates must be able to travel on a J-1 research visa to qualify for a Fulbright Scholarship. Please see http://www.ecfmg.org/ for more information. Graduates of all health sciences are considered medical graduates.

I completed my PhD more than 5 years ago – am I eligible for the postdoctoral scholarship? No – recipients must have successfully completed their PhD within the 5 years. Please note that this is 5 years from when the PhD was conferred. Certain exemptions, at the discretion of the Commission, may be made for extraneous circumstances.

Must I return to Australia at the completion of my Fulbright program? Fulbright Scholars travel on a J-1 visa sponsored by the Fulbright Commission. You (and your J2 dependents, where applicable) are subject to Code of Federal Regulations rule 212(e), the two-year, home country residence requirement associated with the J visa. This is intended to ensure that Scholars fulfil the exchange nature of the program. During the two-year, home country residence requirement, you and your dependents are ineligible to apply for status in the United States as:

  • Permanent residents,
  • Temporary workers or trainees (visa status H),
  • Fiancé(e)s (visa status K), or
  • Intracompany transferees (visa status L).

The two years commences from the date of return to Australia.

3. Submitting Applications:

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What are the opening and closing dates for applications? In 2021 applications must be submitted by 11:59pm AEST on 6 July. Under no circumstances can late applications be accepted. Please note that even though you may still be able to access the system to upload documents, these will not be accepted after the closing date.

Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report? Two referee reports are required. You should ask people who will best support your application and who can objectively assess your ability to successfully undertake a program of research or study in the U.S. and your potential to make a contribution to the binational relationship. Where possible your referees should include your academic supervisor/s, colleagues and key contacts who can provide relevant information on your personal and professional attributes. You are encouraged to use a mix of referees and not all from the same school or faculty.

How can I ensure my application is successful? There is no “formula” for a successful application. Each individual’s application should be about the candidate, how the program time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant and the pool changes every year. That said, applicants should consider the aims of the Fulbright program and how their project may contribute.

Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting? No. Please note that Fulbright staff are unable to access your application prior to submission.

Can you tell me why I was not selected? No. As with all Fulbright awards, applications under this initiative are evaluated by panels in accordance with normal Fulbright standards that are competitive, merit-based, open and transparent, including by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as sponsoring agency of the worldwide Fulbright Program, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) for final approval and selection of candidates. This program is administered in accordance with all relevant FSB Policies.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from making applications in the future? No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to reapply.


U.S. Applicant FAQs

1. Eligibility & Citizenship:

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Is there an age limit to people applying for Fulbright Scholarships? No. Fulbright does not discriminate on the basis of age.

I have already started my program of study. Can I apply for a Fulbright scholarship? No. Applicants who have already commenced studies/research in Australia are ineligible for a scholarship.

Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for a Fulbright scholarship? Yes. Or a tertiary equivalent qualification.

Is preference given to applicants from specific academic fields? No. Fulbright Scholarships are open to applicants from any academic field.

Are medical graduates eligible for a Fulbright Scholarship? Medical graduates are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship if, and only if, they can assure authorities in Australia that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients.

Are those with dual Australian/US citizenship eligible for a scholarship? No. Fulbright Scholarships are intended to provide U.S. citizens an opportunity for an educational and cultural exchange that would otherwise not be possible. Dual citizens are therefore ineligible.

If I’m not a U.S. citizen, am I eligible for a scholarship to Australia? No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be U.S. citizens by birth or naturalisation. The Fulbright Scholarship program is characterised by its bilateral exchange nature, in line with Senator Fulbright’s vision of knowledge transfer between the U.S. and other countries. Citizens of other countries should visit the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website to find out whether their country currently has a Fulbright agreement with the U.S. Government.

If I am a U.S. citizen but I’m living abroad, am I eligible for an Australian Fulbright scholarship? No. It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be resident in the U.S. at the time of application and that they be available for an interview. The only exceptions to this rule are for men and women serving overseas in the Armed Forces, or for U.S. diplomats posted overseas.

I have never lived or studied abroad. Will that disadvantage me? No. Preference may be given to those who have not had recent extensive experience abroad i.e. undertaken study, teaching, research or employment for a period aggregating more than one academic year during the past five years.

2. Guidelines for Applying:

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How do I apply for a Fulbright Scholarship? Please click the “APPLY NOW” at the bottom of the scholarship page that you are applying for. This will take you to the Institute of International Education (IIE) page which includes financial details of the scholarship and access to the application.

Can I apply again, if I’ve already had a Fulbright? Preference will be given to candidates who have no had previous Fulbright scholarships. However, recipients of a Fulbright scholarship are eligible to receive another basic Fulbright grant five years after the date of completion of the previous scholarship. (For serial scholarships, the five-year period begins at the end of the final scholarships in the series). The five-year requirement between two basic grants does not apply to short-term scholarships, which are defined as scholarships of under two months duration. (FSB Guidelines 725.2)

When can I commence my Fulbright program in Australia? Scholars must take up their scholarship starting January/February of the year following announcement of their selection, i.e. scholars generally find out they have been selected in March / April of a given year, however commence their program in February of the following year. Exceptions may be made for graduate/doctorate students on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

All scholars must be available to attend Fulbright functions in Australia, including the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in February/March.

Can I defer my scholarship? No. You must take up your scholarship within the specified time frame.

Do I have to attend an interview? Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available to undertake an interview with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission via Skype. Interview dates vary and applicants will be contacted directly if short-listed for interview.

I have extensive experience in Australia already – will that make a difference in selection of applicants? If two candidates are of equal standing then preference may be given to applicants who have not had recent extensive Australian experience.

Can I arrange for the Fulbright Scholarship to fund a second year in Australia? No. Funding is only provided for the stipulated length of time.

Can I continue to receive my salary whilst on a Fulbright Scholarship? Yes, you may continue to receive a salary from your home institution whilst on a Fulbright.

Can I undertake any Australian paid work whilst on a Fulbright Scholarship, such as teaching? No. It is a condition of the Fulbright Scholarship as well as visa regulations that you must not undertake paid employment.

I have been awarded another grant(s) to undertake study/research in Australia, am I eligible for a Fulbright scholarship? Applicants are able to hold more than one grant, so long as the funding is not for the same thing. For example, a Scholar could not hold two grants that both fund living expenses. But a student could hold a grant for tuition alongside their Fulbright scholarship, as Fulbright awards do not cover tuition fees.

Does the Fulbright Scholarship cover tuition fees? No. with the exception of the Fulbright-Anne Wexler Scholarship in Public Policy. The Fulbright Scholarship is a stipend based scholarship providing a travel allowance and a stipend. It is designed to cover living costs while in-country, but not tuition. Please note that students can negotiate fee waivers with Australian institutions.

Does affiliation with an Australian institution have to be confirmed at the time of application? Yes. Affiliation with an Australian institution must be confirmed at the time of application. A host letter of support should be attached to your application.

Student applicants are not required to have secured affiliation at the time of application but should include some discussion on their ideal top 1-3 institution(s)/degree program(s) in the statement of grant purpose. Securing admission at an institution in the responsibility of the applicant after the results of their Fulbright application has been announced. 

Can you have more than one host institution? It is preferable to have one main centre for your project, however, you can visit other institutions while in Australia.

3. Submitting Applications:

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What are the opening and closing dates for applications? In 2020 applications for Postdoctoral Scholarships, Scholar Awards, and Distinguished Chair scholarship categories should be submitted by 15 September. Applications for Graduate Student Scholarships should be submitted by 13 October. Under no circumstances can late applications be accepted. Please note that even though you may still be able to access the Embark system to upload documents, these will not be accepted after the closing date.

Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report? Two referee reports are required. You should ask people who will best support your application and who can objectively assess your ability to successfully undertake a program of research or study in Australia and your potential to make a contribution to the binational relationship. Where possible your referees should include your academic supervisor/s, colleagues and key contacts who can provide relevant information on your personal and professional attributes. You are encouraged to use a mix of referees and not all from the same school or faculty.

How can I ensure my application is successful? There is no “formula” for a successful application. Each individual’s application should be about the candidate, how the program time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant and the pool changes every year. That said, applicants should consider the aims of the Fulbright program and how their project may contribute.

Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting? No. Please note that Fulbright staff are unable to access your application prior to submission.

Can you tell me why I was not selected? No. As with all Fulbright awards, applications under this initiative are evaluated by panels in accordance with normal Fulbright standards that are competitive, merit-based, open and transparent, including by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as sponsoring agency of the worldwide Fulbright Program, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) for final approval and selection of candidates. This program is administered in accordance with all relevant FSB Policies.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from making applications in the future? No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to reapply.