The Student Visa Process

Babson College provides student immigration documents for students who have been admitted into a full-time program or participate in our exchange or visiting student programs.

To enter the United States for educational purposes, most full-time undergraduate and graduate international students obtain a Form I-20, receive an F-1 student entry visa, and enter the United States in F-1 student immigration status. J-1 Status may be an alternative to F-1 status for certain degree-seeking students who meet the qualifications for J-1 status. View the Comparing F-1 and J-1 Status page for additional details and email isss@babson.edu if you wish to pursue J-1 status.

Exchange students coming to Babson for a semester or academic year through partner institutions will receive separate instructions for obtaining a Form DS-2019 for their J-1 visa process.

Degree-seeking students should follow the steps outlined below upon acceptance/deposit. The Glavin Office will typically begin processing immigration document requests once an individual is about four months from the start date of an academic program. Students must have made their first deposit, met all conditions for admission, and have an active Babson email before the document can be issued.

U.S. Visa Policy and Procedure Planning

120 Days: The earliest an F-1  student can obtain a visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy

30 Days: The earliest an F-1/J-1 student can enter the U.S. (based on program start date)

Two Weeks: Estimated processing time for Form I-20/Form DS-2019 issuance

Our online Form I-20/DS-2019 request will provide you with additional information and prompt you for specific documents based on your individual situation. Below are recommended documents to have ready before starting the request to expedite the amount of time it takes you to complete the request. 

  • Passport identification and expiration page(s)
  • Evidence of funding
    • review this important page to determine what types of financial documents are accepted. The request will present the exact amount you need to document for your program/situation. 
  • If applicable:
    • Passport identification page(s) for any dependent family member(s)
    • Students on an F-1 visa who will transfer their immigration record to Babson will need to submit their current entry visa (even if expired) and Form I-20
      • Visit our Transfer to Babson page for more information
      • Additionally, students in a period of OPT will need to submit a copy of their EAD (OPT approval card)
    • Individuals in the U.S. in a visa category other than F-1 or J-1 will need to submit a copy of their current entry visa
  • Request a Form I-20 >> from Babson College
    • Exchange students receive separate information about requesting their Form DS-2019 for J-1 status; Form DS-2019 processing begins once nominations have been confirmed
  • Once a request is complete, your Form I-20/Form DS-2019 will be issued within two weeks. Please do not contact ISSS within the two-week processing window. If more information is needed, you will receive an email.
    • Form I-20s will be issued electronically and emailed emailed to students at their Babson email. Make sure your Babson account has been activated to prevent delays. Upon receipt, Form I-20s must be printed, signed, and used for the student visa process and entry to the U.S. 
    • Form DS-2019s will be mailed via DHL and students will receive an email with tracking number once their document has been mailed

Follow the detailed instructions on paying the SEVIS fee. Students not already in F-1 or J-1 status must pay this fee before starting the visa application process. Make sure to keep proof of payment for your records. The SEVIS fee does not need to be paid for F2/J2 dependents.

Security note: Be aware of scams and fraud sites. The SEVIS fee should only be paid through the FMJfee.com site. 

  • Apply for your visa as early as possible after receiving your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Make sure you have paid the SEVIS Fee prior to your visa appointment.
  • Review specific instructions for the F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange visitor visa process. Below are a few additional planning considerations:
    • Some individuals may qualify for a waiver of the visa interview. A visa application (DS-160) is still required and procedures should be followed based on local embassy/consulate instructions.
    • If needed, follow local office procedures for scheduling an emergency appointment after scheduling an initial interview date (based on your program start date listed on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019)
    • You may consider exploring the option to apply in another country as a "third national" but will need to explore eligibility and procedures at that specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate)
  • Prepare for your appointment/interview using the information and videos found on the 10 Points to Remember page.
Canadian or Bermudian citizens are not required to apply for an F-1/J-1 entry visa but must still pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and request entry in F-1 or J-1 status (as applicable) upon arrival to the U.S. Port of Entry (land or air).

Confirm with the consulate/embassy what documentation is required. Below is a general checklist:

    • Passport valid at least six months into the future
    • Printed Babson Form I-20 or Original Form DS-2019 (with your signature on page 1)
    • Proof of admission to Babson (letter demonstrating your full admission without conditions)
    • Completed and signed visa application form(s)
    • Photograph(s) in the prescribed format
    • Receipt for the SEVIS I-901 fee payment
    • Receipt of visa fee(s) payment
    • Evidence of funding sufficient to cover your tuition and living expenses during the first year of your program
    • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S (non-immigrant intent). This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

Again, prepare for your interview using the information and videos found on the 10 Points to Remember page.

Note: An entry visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission from the U.S. immigration officer to enter the U.S. It does not automatically guarantee entry into the U.S.

Note: Students who had their immigration record transferred from another U.S. school do not need to depart/re-enter the U.S. between programs.

*New international students = students transferring in, pursuing a second degree at Babson or who are returning from a leave of absence

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