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 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. 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

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 & Form DS-2019s will be issued electronically and emailed to students at their Babson email. Make sure your Babson account has been activated to prevent delays.
  • Upon receipt of your immigration document, it should be reviewed for any errors and must be printed, signed, and used for the student visa process and entry to the U.S. Contact with any questions.

This is a mandatory fee to the U.S. government for F-1 & J-1 students and it is separate from the DS-160 visa application fee. This fee must be paid online before starting the visa application process.  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. 

  • 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.
    • 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).

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 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 Prepare For Your Visa Interview 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.

  • 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. 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.

*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

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