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International Center

International Center Updates
September 9, 2021

Welcome – or welcome back – to Tufts! We are excited to have you on campus, and look forward to supporting you through a successful Fall semester. We have some important announcements for the beginning of the semester, so please be sure to read through the updates below, and contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

International Center Service Operations for Fall 2021
As we welcome everyone to Tufts for the Fall 2021 semester, the International Center has published a brief guide to Getting Things Done with the International Center. Please visit this link for information about our online services and walk-in hours available at each of our three campus locations. This fall, the International Center will continue to take precautions to protect our students, staff, and visitors through the following measures:

  • Many services - including one-on-one advising appointments, document requests, and immigration workshops - will remain online to minimize risks of COVID transmission.
  • Walk-in hours will be limited to specific times and dates at each of our offices, and are for document drop-off / pick-up and quick questions only.
  • All visitors must continue to use face coverings and observe social distancing while inside an International Center location.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work together to meet the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring everyone has a successful start to the new year.

F-1 and J-1 Course Registration Requirements
F-1 and J-1 students are required to register a full courseload each semester, which is defined as 12 SHUs for undergraduate students, and 9 SHUs (or 6 SHUs + TA/RA) for graduate students. In order to maintain F-1 or J-1 visa status, please be sure to register a full courseload as soon as possible, but no later than by the end of the Add Period, including at least one in-person or hybrid course if you will be studying from within the US.

Students in their final semester with less than a full courseload remaining to complete their degree do not need to register more courses than are required for degree completion, but must submit a Final Semester Reduced Course Load request so that we can report your Fall 2021 registration.

Fletcher Students: Please complete the Fall 2021 Orientation CANVAS module by Thursday, September 16.

International Student Orientations
For new undergraduate and graduate students starting at Tufts this September (whether inside the US or remotely), you should have received an email notification a few weeks ago about completing an International Center Orientation. All students who are attending Tufts this Fall are required to complete this Orientation program, which will be presented asynchronously on Canvas. Please be sure to complete the Orientation program by Friday, September 17. The Orientation sessions involve watching videos to meet our team, to understand policies and procedures to maintain your visa status, and to learn about resources and departments on campus that are available to assist you during your time at Tufts. You will be asked to confirm that you have watched and understood specific modules. There will also be forums to chat with other students and ask any questions you might have. We hope the Orientation helps you feel prepared to succeed at Tufts and feel knowledgeable about maintaining your visa status in the United States.

Fletcher Students: Rather than completing the Orientation module, the SEVIS Information Session powerpoint slides from Fletcher’s Orientation session should be available on Fletcher’s Orientation site in your MyFletcher portal.

New Students – Confirmation of Arrival
If you are a new or transfer student attending Tufts from within the United States, we will need to activate your SEVIS record within 30-days of the start of classes.

In order for us to do so, you will need to:

  1. Register as a full-time student (Undergraduate students: 12 SHUs, Graduate students: 9 SHUs or 6 SHUs+ RA/TA).
  2. Update your local U.S. address and phone number in SIS.
    • Save your Massachusetts Address as CURRENT ADDRESS (if you are living on-campus, this should be automatically input by Residential Life)
    • Save your Foreign Permanent Address as HOME ADDRESS
    • Add your 10-digit U.S. phone number if available. Do not use dashes or add ‘1’ before area code.
  3. Complete the Confirmation of Arrival (COA) here.
    • Type your Tufts UTLN and Password to log in to your I-Center Portal Account.  You will need to provide some basic information, and attach your F-1/J-1 student visa and your most recent I-94.
    • **New students studying remotely from outside the US do not need to complete this.**

New Students – Opening a US Bank Account
You should plan on opening a US bank account soon after arriving in the US. You will need a bank account especially if you will be working or receiving financial aid at Tufts, since Tufts will directly transfers wages, salary, and other payments into your bank account - you will not receive any payments in cash. To open a bank account, you will need to visit a bank of your choice in order to show originals of your identity documents. You will need to bring the following documents to the bank in order to open an account:

  • Your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  • Your I-94 admission record (available only after you arrive in the US)
  • Proof of your local address (e.g., letter or form with your name and US address; copy of lease)
  • You are not required to have a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer ID Number to open a simple bank account; however, you may be asked to complete IRS Form W-8BEN

Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Workshops for September
For continuing / returning students: the International Center has scheduled several on-line Zoom workshops throughout September for F-1 students interested in Curricular Practical Training and in post-completion Optional Practical Training. Please visit our Calendar of Events for dates, times, and links to register in advance.

Additional information about OPT and CPT can be found on our F-1 employment webpage:

Thank you for your attention and we very much look forward to working with you in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Tufts International Center