Graduate International Admissions

International Student & Scholar Office (ISSO)

The ISSO deals with F-1 international students who have been admitted to the University of Massachusetts Boston. If you have not already been admitted to UMass Boston, please continue to work with the admissions office. No immigration paperwork can be processed until a student is formally admitted (or readmitted) to the university.
Prospective undergraduate students will work with Undergraduate International Admissions to complete their admissions process and receive their Form I-20. Once you arrive at UMass Boston, you will be required to attend a Mandatory Immigration Clearance where you will meet immigration office staff members and you will be registered in the government database. All Undergraduate admissions questions should be directed to the Undergraduate International Admissions.

F-1 International Student Status

In order for international students to study at UMass Boston, they must obtain an F-1 student visa stamp 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 ISSO office if you have questions concerning studying while in another visa category other than F-1. Students interested in coming on an international exchange should consult the Study Abroad & Exchange section.

Certificate of Eligibility – Your Form I-20

In order to apply for an F-1 student visa, students must apply, get accepted, and receive a Form I-20 from Undergraduate International Admissions or the ISSO (for graduate students). The Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility that students must bring with them to a U.S. embassy/consulate 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 Undergraduate International Admissions or the ISSO once all of the required paperwork has been received, reviewed and processed. If you have questions please contact Undergraduate International Admissions or you can contact a representative at:

Undergraduate International
Graduate International Admissions:

THE I-901 SEVIS FEE:  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 In very rare cases a student may not be able to pay the fee online. It is possible to pay the fee also via a Western Union Quick Pay.  (If you have problems paying the fee via Western Union you may seek assistance here or by call the Customer Service Hotline at 1.703.603.3400. Please note that the ISSO cannot assist with Western Union Payments.)

Obtaining a Visa

We recommend that you schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible. FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS: once your immigration paperwork has been processed, you will receive an email from an International Admissions Specialist with all of the relevant information you will need to make your visa appointment.  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 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:

Typical Required Documents for an F-1 Visa:

**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 here
  • 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.)

Transfer Students

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.

Transfer 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 Undergraduate International Admissions or Graduate 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.  New transfer-in students to UMass Boston must attend a mandatory immigration clearance offered by the ISSO at the start of each term.  Failure to attend will result in the inability to enroll in classes, as your account will be blocked until you report and possible SEVIS termination of your record.

Traveling While “Transfer Pending”

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 Undergraduate International Admissions or Graduate International Admissions to receive this before your departure, or organize a shipment to your home country address'
  • You must re-enter the U.S. with a passport valid at least 6 months into the future.
[125] [academics_majors_minors] Majors, Minors, and Programs at UMass Boston [129] [lifeoncampus_visit] Visit UMass Boston