Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Applicant FAQs

1. Eligibility & Citizenship

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Which Fulbright Scholarship/s am I eligible for? Please refer to the Australian Applicants and U.S. Applicants pages for information about eligibility. 

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 U.S. 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 or U.S. citizen but I am a permanent resident or hold anothe visa type, am I eligible for a scholarship? No. Applicants for Fulbright Scholarships must be Australian or U.S. 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 or U.S. citizen but I’m living abroad, am I eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?

  • No. It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be residing in their home country 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 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 follow the ‘Apply Now’ links on the Scholarship pages.  Australian applicants will apply first by opening an instruction PDF, while U.S. applicants will be directed to our partner organisation, IIE’s, catalog, to access the application system. 

What are the opening and closing dates for applications? Applications open:

  • From February-September for U.S. postdoctoral, scholar and distinguished chair awards (U.S. candidates)
  • From March-October for U.S. students (U.S. candidates)
  • From March-July for all Australian awards (postgraduate, postdoctoral, scholar and distinguished chair)

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 will not be reviewed after the closing date.

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

  • A study/research program proposal
  • A personal statement
  • A resume/CV
  • Any relevant impact/ additional statements (vary depending on award)
  • 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! We welcome applicants from all disciplines, including the creative and performance arts.

Do I have to attend an interview? Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available for an interview either in person or 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. There is no limit to people applying for Fulbright awards so long as they meet the eligibility requirements. 

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 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 host institutions? In the interests of maintaining a consistent, coherent program of research/study, applicants are strongly encouraged to propose to work with no more than one host institution while abroad. This is to ensure that program participants have sufficient time to develop ties to their host institutions and communities, an integral part of the cultural and academic exchange component of Fulbright. Short visits (up to 1 week) to other institutions are acceptable exceptions.

Will Fulbright fund a study abroad exchange within my current degree program? No. While some scholarships are available for PhD applicants completing their degree to study for a period of time as visiting researchers, applicants are not able to undertake study/courses towards a 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 that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients. Graduates of all health sciences are considered medical graduates.

Research activities must not involve direct clinical patient contact. This can extend beyond the fields of medical and veterinary sciences to any other field that requires direct clinical patient contact, prescribing or administering medication, and/or any direct contact with human or animal patients, subjects or specimens.

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.

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/ the U.S. at the completion of my Fulbright program?

Australians: 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 fulfill 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.

AmericansFulbright Scholars travel on a Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) visa (homeaffairs.gov.au)  sponsored by the Fulbright Commission. You (and your dependents, where applicable) are subject to the terms and conditions of this visa. There are no regulations that require specific return to the U.S., however the Fulbright program is designed in that candidates should seek to take their newly gained knowledge back to their home country. 

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)

3. Submitting Applications:

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Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report? 2-3 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.