High School Exchange

High school in the U.S. is grades 9-12, for ages 14-18.

High school exchange through an organization

Numerous organizations, both for- and non-profit, offer high school exchange in the U.S.. The Embassy does not vouch for the quality of any of these programs, but we work with many of them to varying degrees. Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU) has approved some organizations, for which students can get funding from Lånekassen for exchange during their second year of videregående (VG2). These are:

Lånekassen also offers funding for some school-specific exchange programs.

Read more on the Lånekassen website. 

High School Exchange Independently

We regularly receive questions from Norwegians asking how a child may attend high school in the United States without going through an exchange organization, to stay with friends or family, or to attend boarding school.

For public high schools, foreign students may stay no more than one academic year. At private high schools, there is no limit on the length of time.

Regardless of whether the student will be attending a public or private school, families must do go through the following steps:

1. Find a SEVIS-certified school
Any student wishing to study in the United States must enroll at a school which is certified to accept international students by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These schools, whether public or private, are included in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You can find certified schools by searching by state, city or school name on the DHS website.

2. Be able to pay for the school year(s)
Families must cover all expenses for the student while in the United States. Applicants attending a public high school must repay the school system for the full, unsubsidized, per capita cost of providing the education. At private schools, they must pay tuition.  (Note that Lånekassen does not give support for exchanges outside of the above mentioned organizations).

3. Make sure the year(s) in the U.S. will be approved in Norway
VG1 and VG2 may be approved by Norwegian high schools, allowing the student to continue the subsequent year at a Norwegian school. Families should contact their local Norwegian high school regarding how to get the year approved. Please note that taking VG3 abroad is usually not approved.

The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (Utdanningsdirektoratet) has more information about high school exchange here, under point “Godkjenning av opplæring i utlandet tilsvarende Vg1 og/eller Vg2 i Norge” (page 19). (PDF 227 KB)

4. Obtain a visa for the student
Once accepted to a SEVIS-certified school, the school will send the student an I-20 form. This original, signed I-20 form is required for the visa interview at the Embassy and when entering the United States on a student visa. Only SEVIS-certified schools are authorized to issue this form, meaning that a student has to be accepted to a certified school in order to be able to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. Read more about the F-1 visa process on the Embassy’s visa page.

If you have further questions, please email us at osloedu@state.gov.