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Visa and Immigration Information for Summer Pre-College Programs

Updated May 9, 2022

The following information is for students admitted to the University College Pre-College summer programs. Please read below for more information about immigration and visa regulations, and contact the Tufts International Center at with any questions.

Visa options for study at Tufts in one of the Pre-College summer programs may vary depending on your individual situation and the program that you plan to attend. Please read through the information below and also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the bottom of this page.

(1) F-1 Visa Sponsorship Eligible Programs

For Summer 2022, Tufts University offers F-1 student visa sponsorship for students who have been admitted to the following summer programs:

Other programs, including the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Bootcamp, are currently not eligible for F-1 visa sponsorship. However, attendance based on one of the other visa options listed below may be possible. If you have been accepted to one of the above Pre-College summer programs you must take steps to apply for a Form I-20 from the International Center. Form I-20 is a certificate that shows you have been accepted to a full-time program and that you have sufficient financial resources to cover the program expenses, including tuition, fees, insurance, and living expenses. Please refer to the table below for information regarding the amount of funds you must be prepared to document for your I-20. Once your admission is confirmed by the Pre-College Programs office, you will receive instructions to get started with the I-20 application process.

Category Tufts Summer Research Experience Tufts College Experience
Program Fee (including Tuition, Room and Board) $11,250 $11,250
Materials Fee $200 N/A
Health Insurance $168 $168
Personal and Miscellaneous Expenses $300 $300
Estimated Total $11,918 $11,718

Once you have your Form I-20 from Tufts University, you will receive instructions for applying for an F-1 visa at a US consulate. Please note that citizens of Canada do not need to apply for visas to enter the US, but should have a I-20 from Tufts to come to the US in F-1 status in order to attend one of the above programs.

(2) B-2 Visitors (Tourist) Visa

For other programs that are not eligible for F-1 visa sponsorship, you may be eligible to come to the US using a B-2 visitors visa (or under the visa waiver program for certain countries, also known as 'ESTA'). The B-2 visa is intended for short-term tourism trips to the US, but it may also permit recreational study that is short-term, part-time, and not-for-credit. You may also be able to attend programs that are largely focused around campus visits, summer camps or bootcamps, and similar academic enrichment activities. Do not use the B-2 visa if you plan to take classes that are full-time, for college credit, or part of a degree program as these are generally not permitted under B-2 status.

You can apply for B-2 visa at your local US consulate.* Due to the nature of this visa, which is essentially for independent tourism and short-term visits to the US, Tufts is not able to sponsor or support individuals in this process. Pursuing a B-2 visa is your decision alone. Please consult the US embassy or consulate in your country if you have any questions about the necessary documentation for visiting the US as a B-2 visitor.

*Note that B-2 visas are typically issued as B-1 / B-2 visas, with B-1 status involving visits for business and B-2 status granted for visits for tourism / pleasure.

(3) Students Already in the US

If you are already in the US, you may able to apply for and attend a Pre-College program without needing to take additional steps to secure visa sponsorship through Tufts. For example, students who already have F-1 visa status based on attendance at a high school or another college may participate in a Pre-College program as a part of their normal summer vacation activity, as long as they are planning to return to their original school in the fall term. Students already in the US with other types of visas that permit study, as well as undocumented students, are also eligible to apply for any program of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Pre-College Summer Programs

If my Pre-College Program does not provide an I-20 / F-1 visa, what are my choices?

If your program does not qualify for F-1 student visa sponsorship, then you may consider the possibility of applying for a B-1 / B-2 visitor's visa or the Visa Waiver ('ESTA') program. These are options for persons who want to visit the US for visits for business, tourism, or medical treatment. In general, persons coming to the US using the B-1/B-2 visa (or the ESTA equivalent) may also engage in recreational study that is part-time and short-term in nature and does not lead to college credit. Summer programs that essentially involve campus visits and social and cultural activities may also be permitted as long as they are short-term and do not involve for-credit classes.

However, students who are coming for full-time study or to take classes that provide college credit should not come to the US as B-1/B-2 visitors, as these are not permitted under B status.

I'm a citizen of Canada. Do I need to get a visa to attend a Pre-College Program?

Citizens of Canada do not need visas to enter the US and may be admitted as B-2 tourists for stays lasting up to six months.

However, please note that B-2 visitors are expected to have tourism as their primary purpose and are not permitted to engage in study that is full-time or may lead to college credit. Recreational study that is part-time, short-term, and not-for-credit may be acceptable, as well as participation in summer enrichment activities and campus visitation programs.

Canadian citizens who are admitted to one of the Pre-College's F-1 eligible programs - including the Tufts Summer Research Experience and the Tufts College Experience - are strongly encouraged to apply for an I-20 from Tufts University. Upon arriving at a US border crossing or pre-flight inspection point, you would present the I-20 and request F-1 student status instead. F-1 status allows full-time study as well as study that provides college credit.

I have a B-1/B-2 tourist visa (or ESTA approval for visa-free travel). Can I come to the US and study using this option?

Students who are admitted to our F-1 eligible programs (Tufts Summer Research Program and Tufts College Experience) should apply for F-1 student visas in order to enter the US, unless you are already in the US and do not need visa sponsorship to stay in the US for summer programs and study. For other programs, the B-1 / B-2 option may be available as long as your program is short-term and nature and does not involve for-credit classes or are part of a degree or certificate program.

Students who come to the US for a F-1 eligible program may be denied entry to the US if it is determined that the purpose of coming to the US is to participate in a program of study that meets F-1 requirements.

Why doesn't Tufts offer F-1 sponsorship (I-20s) for all of its summer programs?

Before Tufts can issue an I-20 to a student for any of its programs, it must get US federal government approval. At this time, Tufts is only approved to issue I-20s and sponsor F-1 students for two summer programs, the Tufts College Experience and Tufts Summer Research Experience.

I am already in the US as an F-1 student at another school. Do I need to get a new I-20 to come to Tufts for the summer?

If you are already in the US as an F-1 student at another school, you should discuss your summer plans with your international student advisor at your current school. In most cases, F-1 students can spend their summer vacation taking courses at another school or university without needing to follow any special visa or immigration requirements, as long as they plan to return and continue studies at their current school after the summer is over. Tufts does not require that you transfer your F-1 sponsorship from your current school to Tufts in order to attend any of our short-term summer programs.

I am already in the US but I have a different visa type (not F-1) / I am undocumented. Do I need to change to F-1 status to attend a summer program at Tufts?

Tufts doesn't require that you hold F-1 student status or any particular immigration status to attend any of our short-term summer programs. However, you should check with your family or current visa sponsor to see if there are any restrictions on your ability to study during the summer. Many of our summer students have visas based on their parents' visas (e.g., H-4, F-2, J-2, etc.) and these generally allow summer study without requiring any special procedures. Additionally, undocumented / DACA students are welcome to apply to our programs.

What if I can't get a visa appointment to come on time? Can Tufts help?
Unfortunately, US visa appointments are outside of Tufts' ability to control or influence. Visa appointment wait times vary considerably from consulate to consulate and we encourage you to monitor the online US visa appointment system and talk to your local consulate about visa appointment availability. Wait times for B-1 / B-2 visitor visas, in particular, continue to be significantly delayed due to COVID-19 and other related factors.