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 program.

Refer to the steps & resources below to secure your Form I-20 (F-1 visa) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 visa). 

U.S. Immigration Procedure Timing Considerations

Form I-20/Form DS-2019 Issuance 2 weeks upon having all documentation complete
U.S. Visa Appointment Wait & Processing (U.S. Consulate or Embassy) 1-3 months (average)
Entry to the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 Status Up to 30 days before program date listed on Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

Babson Form I-20 & Form DS-2019 Processing

Undergraduate: After deposit, about 4 months ahead of program start date
Graduate: After deposit, on a rolling basis
Exchange: After nominations are confirmed & exchange application submitted

Steps to Obtain Your F-1 or J-1 Student Visa

Click below to jump directly to a step in the process.

Step 1: Gather Supporting Documentation

Below are recommended documents to have ready electronically before requesting your Form I-20 in order to expedite the amount of time it takes you to complete the online request.

  • Passport identification and expiration page(s)
  • Evidence of Funding
    • Review this important page to determine what types of financial documents are accepted. The exact amount you will need to document for your program will display once starting the Form I-20 request. 
  • Optional documents (dependent on your situation):
    • Students with spouse/children: passport identification page(s) for dependent family member(s)
    • Students on an F-1 visa who will transfer their immigration record to Babson: current entry visa (even if expired) and Form I-20
    • Individuals in the U.S. in a visa category other than F-1 or J-1: current entry visa or proof of change of status approval

Step 2: Request & Obtain Babson Form I-20/Form DS-2019

  • All undergraduate and graduate degree students should use the link above. Exchange students receive separate instructions about requesting their Form DS-2019 for J-1 status.
  • Once a request is considered complete, the Form I-20/Form DS-2019 will be issued to students electronically within two weeks and emailed to their Babson email. Please do not contact ISSS within the two-week processing window. If more information is needed, you will receive an email. Make sure your Babson email account has been activated and is accessible to prevent delays.
  • Upon receipt of your immigration document, it should be reviewed for any errors. Notify with any concerns. 
  • Students must print and sign on page 1 to present their document for the student visa process and entry to the U.S. 

Step 3: Pay I-901 SEVIS Fee

This is a mandatory fee to the U.S. government for F-1 & J-1 students.

NOTE: This is a separate fee from the DS-160 visa application fee(s).

The SEVIS fee must be paid online before starting the visa application process or entering the U.S.  Follow the detailed instructions on paying the SEVIS fee

  • 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 site. 

Step 4: Complete Visa Application & Schedule Visa Interview

  • Apply for your visa as early as possible after receiving your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. 
  • 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.
    • Dedicate an uninterrupted 1-2 hours to complete the visa application (DS-160)
    • Be cautious of scams and claims from agents or facilitators to secure appointments. Only follow procedures outlined on your local embassy webpage.
    • 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 Prepare For Your Visa Interview page.
Canadian or Bermudian citizens do not require 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) and show documentation upon arrival to the U.S. Port of Entry (land or air).

Step 5: Prepare For & Attend Visa Interview

Prepare for your interview using the information and videos found on the Prepare For Your Visa Interview page.

Confirm with your specific consulate/embassy for any required documentation. Below is a general checklist:

    • Passport valid at least six months into the future
    • Printed Babson Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (with your signature on page 1)
    • Proof of admission to Babson (letter demonstrating your full admission without conditions)
    • Completed and signed DS-160 visa application form(s)
    • Photograph(s) in the prescribed digital 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.
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.

Step 6: Enter the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status

  • Review detailed instructions about procedures at the U.S. border
  • Review U.S. Customs & Border Protection's "Know Before You Go" about money declaration and prohibited items.
  • Enter no earlier than 30 days before the start date on your Form I-20/Form DS-2019 in F-1/J-1 status. Entering the U.S. in another status (including VWP) before this time period will require departure/re-entry prior to the start of your program.
  • If you are unable to arrive by the start date on your Form I-20/Form DS-2019, email as soon as possible for guidance.

Note: F-1 students who had their immigration record transferred from another U.S. school are not required to depart/re-enter the U.S. between programs but if traveling, must present a valid F-1 visa stamp & use Babson's Form I-20 for re-entry.

Step 7: Check in with the Glavin Office

*New international students = students who are new to Babson, transferring in from another U.S. school, pursuing a second degree at Babson or who are returning from a leave of absence.
Image with computer and icons

Prepare for Your Visa Interview

It is extremely important to dedicate time to prepare for the U.S. visa application and interview process.

Visa Delay

Visa Delays & Denials

Become familiar with reasons why you may experience delays obtaining your U.S. student visa.

Access the User Experience Survey