Application Guidelines

First things first: Here's what to expect.

Families wishing to apply to Shanghai American School must meet the eligibility requirements set out by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (SHMEC) for schools for children of foreign nationals. Eligibility to apply is dependent on the family’s passport, work and residence in Shanghai and meeting one of the four categories listed below:

Category 1: Child of foreign citizen
Category 2: Child born overseas to PRC citizens
Category 3: Child of Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan residents
Category 4: Child who is holding a SHMEC waiver letter

Further details about eligibility requirements and document submission can be found here.

Application Process


Please be aware that interviews are not requirements of the application process but may be requested to assist with an application review. Admissions decisions may be made without an interview if submitted application materials provide sufficient information. Note that an interview request is not a guarantee of admission.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information on the application process.

English Proficiency

Non-native English-speaking candidates Grade 1 and up may be given an English as an Additional Language (EAL) test to determine if EAL support is required. Limited spaces are available for such support.

The following guidelines will be used by the Admissions Committee to determine whether a student will be invited to take the EAL assessment:

  • The primary language spoken by the student
  • The language(s) spoken between parents and the student
  • The student’s educational background
  • The primary language of both parents



SAS believes that it is important for children to be placed in classes with their age peers, especially at Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and lower elementary grade levels.

Students who apply from schools or educational systems with a different school calendar (like those commonly found in schools in Korea, Japan, Singapore or Australia) will be placed in the grade that they are currently attending if they are admitted at the start of the new school year. If they are accepted in January, they will be placed in the grade that they have just completed in their previous school.

All students must graduate from Grade 12 before their 20th birthday.

Admissions Update

Kindly note, seat availability is now limited across many grade levels on both campuses. We highly recommend you contact our Admissions Team directly before submitting an application for 2024-25. Applications for the 2025-26 school year will open in the fall. 

Once you’ve ensured that your child is eligible to apply, you can begin your application any time.