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To be eligible to sponsor international students for F-1 student visas, the International Center must submit a request to the US Department of Homeland Security providing comprehensive detail regarding the program. This process can take several weeks to many months depending on Homeland Security processing times. The International Center cannot issue any F-1 student visa certificates to admitted students until the program has been approved by Homeland Security.


  • F-1 sponsorship allows students to apply for student visas and to enter the US for the purpose of engaging in full-time study at a Tufts campus. Programs that do not require US presence or are only part-time do not qualify for F-1 sponsorship.
  • F-1 sponsorship is generally not needed for exchange programs carried out pursuant to Tufts agreements with foreign institutions of higher education or foreign governments; for this, the J-1 visa is the preferred option.
  • New F-1 programs must have University approval under the PDAC (Program Approval and Development Committee) process managed by the Office of the Provost.

Sponsorship Request 

To request eligibility to sponsor F-1 students for a new program, the following information must be provided on department letterhead and addressed to Andrew Shiotani, International Center Director. The department letter should be signed by both the sponsoring department chair and school dean. Once completed, please email the letter to

  • Name of program
  • Program URL, if any
  • Date program first began instruction
  • Degree type (indicate type of degree or certificate conferred upon completion of program)
  • Department offering program
  • Department address
  • Department contact name, title, and email address
  • PDAC approval confirmation (confirm that program has PDAC approval)
  • Program curriculum
    • Identify the CIP code associated with program
    • Is the program credit-based or clock-hour based, or a hybrid of the two?
      • For credit-based programs, indicate the standard SHU / credit load per semester
      • For clock hour or hybrid programs, explain in detail the number of hours required and/or a detailed description of how the program may be considered a full-time program
    • Is the program offered fully in-person, fully online, or through a mixture of modalities?
      • Fully in-person programs are programs that are taught completely in-person; some classes may involve hybrid modes of instruction (i.e., mixture of in-person and virtual instruction)
      • Fully online programs are not eligible for F-1 sponsorship; however, if the program requires brief periods of campus visitation, please describe on-campus requirements
      • For programs that involve a mixture of in-person and fully-online courses, provide further details in the program curriculum description below
    • Does the program offer a full-time curriculum? 
      • If the program is a low-residency program, please explain
    • Provide the estimated time to completion for a full-time student
    • Provide a detailed description of the program curriculum, including # of credits taken per semester for a typical full-time student
      • For each semester, list approximate % of whether classes are in-person, on-line or hybrid (combining in-person and on-line instruction)
  • Site(s) of instruction
    • List campus and/or offsite locations where classes will take place (e.g., Medford / Somerville campus, SMFA campus, etc.)
  • Admissions and enrollment criteria
    • Describe application requirements, including English proficiency standards, and criteria needed to satisfy enrollment and matriculation requirements
  • Signatures from department chair and school dean

International Center Responsibility

  • Upon receiving the request from the department, the International Center will review the information provided
  • If the information is complete, the International Center will submit a request to the Department of Homeland Security seeking approval to sponsor F-1 students for the program
  • Once Homeland Security approval is granted (processes can take as long as 8-10 months), the International Center will notify the department that the program is eligible to sponsor students
  • The International Center will subsequently work with the department on the following:
    • Developing an estimate of expenses for full-time tuition, required fees, health insurance, and living expenses
    • Working with the SIS and admissions teams to ensure admitted student information is communicated to the International Center to facilitate visa document processing
    • General training of department administrators and faculty regarding department obligations to support F-1 student compliance, F-1 student orientation, and related advising and programming