ISSO Services During COVID19
The staff of the ISSO remains committed to advising and assisting our international student and scholar community remotely during this challenging time.
Please find our interim plan to support our various communities by selecting one below:
Services to International Students
International students should continue to email their ISSO advisor directly during this time to ask questions and strategize processing. All processing and interactions will occur via zoom or email. SEVP has provided ISSO with temporary permission to issue I-20s with electronic signature and send to your BU e-mail address, so continuing students will receive new I-20s via e-mail during the COVID emergency.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions during COVID-19 for updated information.
Check the ISSO Current Travel Advisory to see what documents you might need to return. If you decide to leave the U.S., keep in mind that you do not need documentation until you are ready to return to the U.S. We will not be signing existing I-20s, rather, we will send you a brand new I-20 with an updated travel signature via e-mail to your BU e-mail address. Before contacting ISSO for a new travel signature, look at P. 2 of your I-20 to see when it was signed most recently. Your travel signature must be signed no more than 12 months before the date you plan to reenter the United States. For students returning for the Spring 2021 semester, if your I-20 was signed in February 2020 or later, you do not need a new travel signature. If it was signed earlier than February 2020, please email your ISSO advisor directly so we can make arrangements.
Schedule an Appointment
Click on the box below to schedule an appointment with your ISSO Advisor:
Advisor on Call
The ISSO will hold virtual Advisor-On-Call (AOC) hours while we limit our face-to-face interactions with students:
Use Meeting ID 474 879 2442
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10am – 4pm
Wednesday: 1 – 4pm
You will be placed in a virtual waiting room and the AOC will move you into the meeting when they have completed their conversation with the person before you in line. Depending on traffic, you may have a wait to speak with the AOC.
On-Campus Student Employment
ISSO will assist international students in completing I-9s to verify employment eligibility for on-campus employment remotely.
In order to complete the process, international students will need to do the following:
- Find a job on campus or with a qualified institutional affiliate. On-Campus employment includes service based graduate financial awards (Research Assistantship, Teaching Fellowship, Stipend, or others)
- Register for a full course of study.
- Know the conditions and hours of employment of your work permission.
- Complete section 1 of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. If you are in F-1 status, please follow the guidance on how to complete section 1 of the I-9 form.
- Review additional details below depending on whether you are a new or continuing student.
- If you are a new student to BU, you will be required to complete Initial ISSO check-in as a new student. Be sure to indicate during the check-in process that you have been offered an on-campus job.
- If you are a new student to BU and have already completed your new student check-in and have since found a job on-campus, please follow the directions provided below for continuing students.
- Your I-9 will be processed within 3 business days from the date you complete section 1 based on the documents you submitted via your Initial ISSO check-in.
- Once you have completed section 1 of the I-9, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following:
- Your Name and BUID number
- Your first day of employment – the day you begun or will begin to work on-campus
- The first time you entered the US in F-1 status
- A copy of your most recent I-94 (not the history page). You can retrieve your most recent I-94 from the US Custom and Border Protection website.
- A copy of your most recent I-20 document if you are in F-1 status
- Your I-9 will be processed within 3 business days from the date you complete section 1 and we receive your email with the requested dates and I-94 record.
Please note that the email@example.com account is strictly for processing I-9s. Any other questions you may have can be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org account, to your International Student Advisor, or you may wish to reach an Advisor on Call via Zoom (please see above on hours and Zoom details).
Social Security Application
Please find some general information on the ISSO website about the social security application process. The process usually requires you to submit an application in person but the Social Security Offices are all closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID. Social Security applications are processed by a specific office based on the zip code of your address on the Social Security application. Prior to applying, you should verify how your application will be processed by contacting the Social Security Office that will process your application. The information below is based on a conversation with the Boston Social Security office in early August, and procedures may vary from office to office.
In order to apply for a Social Security number at the Boston Social Security Office, you will mail your Social Security application along with a photocopy of your immigration documents required for your application based on your immigration status. You should include documentation in your application that verifies the start date of your employment. If, upon review of your documents, it is determined that you need to apply for a Social Security Number, a representative from the office will contact you at the phone number listed on your Social Security application to schedule an in-person appointment. You should not apply for an SSN more than 30 days prior to the start date of your employment.
The Social Security Website list the following instructions during the COVID emergency:
If you need to contact your local office for a dire need situation, please use their online services or contact them by phone at Social Security Office Locator under “Show Additional Office Information” for the office you select. Please visit our Office Closings and Emergencies page for the latest information about office closings.”
If you are a current BU student applying for a Social Security number for the first time, you would need to have ISSO sign a Certification of On-Campus Employment as a part of the required Social Security application documentation. Please submit this Certification, signed by your department and on department letterhead, to your ISSO Advisor via e-mail for ISSO review and signature. ISSO will review and return to you within 5 business days.
- Students should email their ISSO advisor directly all other requests.
Services to International Scholars/Employees
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions during COVID-19 for updated information.
International scholars/employees should continue to email their primary ISSO scholar team contact during this time to ask questions and strategize processing. All processing and interactions will occur via zoom or email.
Contact your ISSO advisor or send an email to email@example.com to schedule a remote appointment. This includes any required check-in or employment authorization verification (I-9) completion for new employees, travel signatures for J-1 scholars as well as other questions related to your employment/activity at BU.
New J-1 Scholar Check-in and Orientation:
The majority of incoming J scholars have already been notified that their J-1 program start date will be postponed. However, if a J-1 in your department has already arrived and has been cleared by Occupational Health to commence their activity in your department, they should contact their ISSO advisor to schedule a remote New J-1 Scholar Check-in and Orientation.
Immigration Processing Request Packets:
The ISSO will continue to process immigration requests. Please forward completed immigration sponsorship requests to your scholar advisor as we will accept them via email. For new J-1 sponsorship requests, please include a pre-completed FedEx airbill so that we can mail the Form DS-2019 and supporting materials directly to the scholar.
Remote Document pick-up:
Departments or scholars that have been notified that a document is ready for pick up at the ISSO should email their ISSO advisor to arrange for us to send you the documents.
Immigration Processing for New Admits
- Boston University is committed to having you join our community and we are prepared to offer any support we can as you complete the immigration process. We understand that most US consular posts have suspended visa processing temporarily during the COVID19 pandemic. However, the ISSO will continue to issue and send I-20s to admitted students so you can be prepared to initiate your visa application as soon as the consular posts reopen. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised of any developments.
- Please visit the admission related FAQs during COVID19
- Please review the documents required to BU to provide immigration sponsorship to newly admitted students
- Please contact the admissions office of the program to which you are applying for specifics regarding the status of your academic admission. Contact information for all of the different admissions offices is available here
- Please contact ISSO via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding immigration processing for new admits during this time
Please send an email to email@example.com with any questions.