Fulbright Timeline

Interested in applying for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program? Here’s the general timeline I followed during my application for the New Zealand program – I’ll update it as I complete each new step on the path.


  • October-November – References. Request and collect letters of recommendation. The more time you leave for this the better.
  • December 1 – Application Deadline… which was extended a day due to technical issues. Moral of the story – submit your materials as early as you can. If the site crashes, take a screenshot so you can let the program operators know.
  • December 16 – Confirmation of Receipt. Received notification that my application was received and would move on to the next round of consideration.


  • February 28 – Applicant Interview Invitation. Received an e-mail invitation to take part in a phone interview.
  • March 13 – Phone Interview. I spent a long time preparing for this, but in the end most questions focused on my project and what I hoped to accomplish while in New Zealand. Best advice: be yourself, and speak authentically about your project goals.
  • April 5 – Request for Additional Information. The Fulbright DAT program director at the Institute of International Education (IIE) emailed asking for additional information related to my proposal.
  • April 7 – Deadline for Updated Proposal. I submitted an updated section of my proposal meeting the requirements set by IIE.
  • April 24 – Selection. Received an e-mail from the Department of State confirming my selection for the Fulbright program. It took me a looooooong time to believe this was real (It is, isn’t it?). Still get a little thrill every time I see an e-mail from Fulbright, the State Department, or IIE.
  • August 7-11 – Program Orientation in Washington, DC. 
  • September 21 – Received Grant Authorization Form. 
  • October 1 – Medical History and Examination Form Submission.  This has to be completed by your physician no more than six months before your fellowship.
  • October 11 and October 16 – Fulbright International Teacher Visit. I hosted two separate groups of Fulbright International teachers at my school in early October. If you have the opportunity to do this, I highly encourage you to take it. The whole purpose of the program is international exchange and understanding – what better way to accomplish this than by welcoming teachers from across the globe to your home town and school?
  • October 18 – State Department Confirms Medical Clearance.
  • October 25 – Submit Visa paperwork to New Zealand Immigration. You can do this online by visiting the site for a Specific Purpose or Work Event visa, or visit this the Visa Application Center (VAC) to start the process by paper mail. TIP: If you are bring a spouse or other family members with you, draft a cover letter to go with your visa application which includes their passport numbers.
  • November 20-ish(?) – Visa Approval Notification. According to the website, it takes about 23 days for online visa applications to be confirmed. Fingers crossed!

…more to come.