Home / Get Started Here / Checklist for New Students / I-20 / DS-2019 Visa Certificate Request
Updated: February 27, 2023
For newly-admitted Tufts international students who plan to apply for an F-1 student visa (Form I-20) or J-1 exchange visitor visa (Form DS-2019). You must request a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 visa certificate from Tufts before you can apply for a student visa. Please read through the checklists and steps below to initiate the I-20 / DS-2019 process.
The general deadline to request an I-20 or DS-2019 for Fall 2023 arrival is June 30, 2023. In addition, there are specific school deadlines including the following:
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Tufts School of Dental Medicine
To request a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Tufts, you will be submitting several documents to the International Center through our online International Center Portal. Please review the following items to make sure that you are ready to submit your request:
Once you have paid your enrollment deposit you will receive an invitation email from the International Center. Please note that it may take several days before the email is generated and sent to you. The email will include instructions for logging into the International Center Portal using your your Tufts email and UTLN in order request your I-20 or DS-2019. You will not be able to do this until you receive the invitation email from the International Center. Once you have access, complete any required questionnaires and upload the following:
Please note: If you are located in one of the countries that is a member of the European Economic Area or in the UK when you provide us personal information, please review our EEA Privacy and UK Privacy Statements.
Once you submit your Visa Certificate Request, you will receive an automated confirmation email and your request will be sent to an International Center advisor for processing. Processing is done in order of receipt and usually takes about 7 to 10 business days once a completed request is received.
Once processed, F-1 students will receive their Form I-20 as an electronic PDF that must be printed and signed. J-1 students will be given instructions to arrange for express mail delivery of a paper copy of Form DS-2019. Read more about your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and contact the International Center if you have any questions about the information on your form.
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This section is for international students who are already in the United States in F-1 or J-1 status at another institution and who plan to start a new program at Tufts. In all cases you must currently be maintaining valid status and have an active SEVIS record with your current sponsor.
F-1 Students: To qualify for an F-1 Transfer, you must begin classes at Tufts within 5 months of completing your studies or your post-completion Optional Practical Training at your previous institution. Talk to your International Student Advisor at your current school about your plans. You will need to set a SEVIS Release Date, which is the date your current school will release your SEVIS record to Tufts. Tufts cannot produce a Form I-20 visa certificate for you until your SEVIS record is released to us.
If you qualify for an F-1 Transfer, you will be prompted to provide your International Student Advisor's contact information on the Visa Certificate Request form. In addition, your current advisor will receive an Approver Form email notifying them of your transfer request. Upon your advisor completing and submitting the form, your Visa Certificate Request will be updated with the Transfer-in information.
J-1 Students: You must notify your current J-1 sponsor that you plan to transfer to Tufts before your current J-1 program expiration date. Your current J-1 sponsor and the Tufts International Center will need to coordinate the transfer so that there are no gaps between your two J-1 programs. Your current sponsor will need to complete the Tufts J-1 Student Transfer Form and return it to you so that you can submit it with your Visa Certificate Request. In addition, you will need to set a SEVIS Release Date, which is the date your current J-1 sponsor will release your SEVIS record to Tufts. Tufts cannot produce a Form DS-2019 visa document for you until your SEVIS record is released to us.
Download the J-1 Student Transfer-in Form
If you are already in the US in F-1 status and are only transferring your status from your current school to Tufts, you do not need to have a valid visa or get a new visa to complete the transfer process. A US entry visa is needed only to enter the US, but does not affect the transfer process for students already in the US. You are also not required to leave the US to get a new F-1 visa just because you are changing schools. However, if you plan to travel internationally before or after starting your program at Tufts, you must have an unexpired F-1 visa (even if it was issued for your previous school), along with your I-20, to re-enter the US.
J-1 students completing a transfer to Tufts's J-1 program similarly do not need to get a new J-1 visa if already in the US. However, please consult with the International Center if you do plan to travel internationally, either before or after your arrival at Tufts.
If you are already in the US but in another status, and wish to change to F-1 (or J-1) student status, you will need to take additional steps after you have received your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from Tufts. There are two options for changing your status:
While Option 1 is generally recommended as the fastest and most efficient method to obtain student immigration status, it may not suitable or advisable in every situation. Please consult with an international student advisor about the advantages and disadvantages of each option. For more detailed information about Option 2, change of status within the US, go to our Change of Status information page. If you decide you would like to change your status from inside the US, you will need to request a "Change of Status" I-20 when submitting your Visa Document Request to the International Center.
Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel to and from the US is highly limited; in addition, US consular operations remain closed or on limited operations. As a result, for the present time, more students may wish to consider change of status options for pursuing student status.
You are not required to apply for F-1 (or J-1) student status if you already have another US immigration status that permits you to study. We recommend that you consult with your current immigration sponsor to determine whether your current status has restrictions on study or employment or will expire before you complete your program. In particular, students in the following situations should take note:
If you have any questions about your current status and the steps needed to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status, please contact an International Center advisor.