International Student & Scholars Services Office (ISSS)
The ISSS Office deals with F-1 international students who have been admitted to the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prospective students will work with International Admission to complete their admissions process and receive their Form I-20. Once you arrive at UMASS Boston, you will be required to attend an International Student Check-In where you will meet our staff members and Director. All admissions questions should be directed to Graduate and Undergraduate International Admissions.
In order for international students to study at UMass Boston, they must obtain an F-1 student visa at an embassy/consular post abroad. Most international students at UMASS Boston come on F-1 student visas, although there are other visa categories that allow study (for example, H, A, J, L, O, R, TN visas). Contact the ISSS Office if you have questions concerning study in while in another visa category other than F-1. Students interested in coming on international exchange should consult the Study Abroad & Exchange Section.
In order to apply for an F-1 student visa, students must apply, get accepted, and receive a Form I-20 from International Admissions. The Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility that students must bring with them to the embassy in order to prove their students status.
The Certificate of Eligibility, Form I-20, is produced in a U.S. government database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This is the system the government uses to track and monitor F-1 international students.
You will receive your Form I-20 from International Admissions once all of the required paperwork is received. If you have questions for International Admissions, you can contact a representative at:
You must pay the I-901 fee (SEVIS Fee) (for the maintenance of your electronic SEVIS record, and bring the receipt to your visa interview.
You can pay the fee and learn more about the SEVIS Fee at www.fmjfee.com.
We recommend that you schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible. Please note that you cannot have your visa issued more than 90 days prior to the start date on your Form I-20.
The website of your particular Consulate or Embassy can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov/. Select the city and country where you will apply for a student visa (“non-immigrant” section) to learn what the procedures are for your particular consulate. The following websites contain useful information:
- http://travel.state.gov/visa/ - Official U.S. State Department website with visa application information.
- http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn/students.html – Tips from a U.S. Consular Officer
**Note: Requirements can change frequently and may differ from consulate to consulate. Be sure to check with your particular consulate for requirements. This list is intended to be a guide only.**
- Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months in the future
- Form DS-160. Can be filled out online prior to appointment by downloading from your consulates website
- Proof of admission to the U.S. university
- One 2 x 2 inch photograph- see requirements at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
- Receipt for visa processing fee
- Evidence of ties to your home country (see tips below)
- Evidence of financial support
- Evidence of sufficient knowledge of English during the interview (unless ESL student)
- Evidence of academic credentials qualifying you for admission (such as TOEFL, transcripts etc.)
If you are already a student in the U.S. studying at another university on a valid F-1 visa, and will begin studies at UMASS Boston, you are a “transfer student”.
If you wish to transfer to the University of Massachusetts Boston, you must first get accepted into a program. Work with International Admissions to learn about programs and the application process.
Once you have been accepted by UMASS Boston, you will need to have your SEVIS record transferred from your current school to UMASS Boston. Contact International Admissions for the appropriate transfer form.
In general, you will need to:
- Submit to your current school a copy of your UMASS Boston acceptance letter;
- Fill out your current school’s Transfer-Out form;
- Fill out the UMASS Boston Transfer-In form.
You will then receive a “Transfer Pending” I-20 from UMASS Boston by International Admissions. After Add/Drop has ended you may bring your “Transfer Pending” I-20 to the ISSS Office to request a new “Continued Attendance” I-20.
New Transfer Students to UMASS Boston must attend the International Student Check-in offered at the beginning of each semester. Failure to attend will result in the inability to enroll in classes.
If you have been accepted to UMASS Boston and are transferring your ACTIVE SEVIS record from another U.S. institution:
- You do not need to obtain a new U.S. visa stamp if your visa is still valid;
- You should re-enter the U.S. on your new UMASS Boston I-20. Contact International Admissions to receive this before your departure, or have International Admission mail this to you at your foreign address;
- You must re-enter the U.S. with a passport valid at least 6 months into the future.
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