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The International Center looks forward to working with you as a new international student! In this page you will find information to help you get started with the F-1 / J-1 student visa process. Please read through the checklist below to get started on your next steps. Do not hesitate to contact the International Center if you have any questions - we are here to help!
Apply for your I-20 or DS-2019 Visa Certificate. Once you have confirmed your intent to enroll at Tufts with your school's admissions office, apply for your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 visa certificate. The I-20 visa certificate is needed for the F-1 student visa while the DS-2019 is needed for the J-1 student visa. Not sure which form to choose? See the Frequently Asked Questions section, below.
Apply for your F-1 or J-1 Visa. After you have received your Form I-20 / Form DS-2019, pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and schedule your F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange visitor visa appointment at your nearest US consulate. Note: if you are a citizen of Canada, you must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee but do not need to apply for a visa in order to come to the US as an F-1 or J-1 student.
Plan Your Move. As you start planning your move to Massachusetts, determine your immigration arrival date. Note: if you are a new student making your initial (first) arrival in the US as an F-1 or J-1 student, you cannot arrive more than 30 days before the program start date indicated on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. In addition, read through our Getting Started Resource Guide, which contains plenty of information about how to get set up as a new student.
Attend Orientation set up by your school to learn more about your program, class registration, and other requirements. Undergraduate students are also encouraged to consider signing up for an optional Pre-Orientation program that happens before school begins. In addition, after you arrive, complete your Confirmation of Arrival with the International Center as soon as possible after arrival (you will receive instructions at a later date regarding the Confirmation of Arrival process).
Tufts University offers F-1 and J-1 student visa sponsorship as options if you need the University to sponsor you so that you can come to the US and study on a lawful basis. However, if you have other options available to you, you are free to pursue those. Tufts does not require students to have F-1, J-1, or any other type of visa as a condition of applying, registering, or attending Tufts as a student.
Please contact the International Center if you would like to discuss your visa options in detail.
The vast majority of our international students apply for the F-1 visa, which is the standard visa for students coming to the US for full-time study.
The J-1 visa is less frequently used. It is primarily for students coming to Tufts on exchange programs. Also, degree students who are receiving most of their financial resources (51% or more) from an institutional source - including a Tufts or a government scholarship / fellowship - may request documents for J-1 status instead of F-1 status (both are options). You can learn more about the differences between the two on our F-1 versus J-1 student visa comparison page.