Given recent US executive orders regarding immigration, we expect longer than usual wait times for appointments this year. For the most up-to-date information related to immigration executive orders, make sure to visit BU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) website.

We understand that obtaining your visa is a stressful process, and we are here to help in any way possible. Please review the below information to better understand our process, and do not hesitate to email us with any questions you may have, or when you complete the below documents.

Immigration Documents Timelines

Timeline How Long it Typically Takes
You complete all immigration documents* One week at minimum
Your I-20 is processed and mailed to you One month
You receive the I-20 One week from mailing, at most

Please also note that I-20 processing doesn’t start until April, and that students are unable to make an appointment at their embassy or consulate until they have the I-20 in hand.

For more details on the three types of documentation we need before we can issue your I-20, continue reading below. Beginning in the spring 2019 admissions season, students will have access to a self-service portal in which they upload their visa documents.

1. International Student Data Form

In order for BU to issue you the proper immigration documents, we need information from you.  The completed International Student Data Form (ISDF) provides us with that. You had the option to complete this during your application, but if you did not here, it is located below for your convenience.

A Few Tips for Completing the ISDF Mistake-Free

  • Enter your name exactly as it appears in your passport, even though you may have more than one way of spelling your name (especially in English).
  • Enter your date of birth in the American format: month, day, and year (MM/DD/YYYY). For example, May 12, 1978, should be written 05/12/1978.
  • Answer every question.
  • Sign and date the form.

2. Passport and Visa History

We will need both:

  • A copy of your passport data page
    • If you are bringing dependents we will also need copies of their passport data pages.
  • Copies of all of your previous US immigration documents 
    • If you are bringing dependents we will also need copies of their previous immigration documents.

3. Financial Documentation

In order for us to issue your immigration documents, we need to receive official financial documentation from you (in English) demonstrating the availability of funds to cover estimated tuition and living expenses for the academic year. The most up to date tuition and fees can be found here.

If you will be bringing your spouse and/or children, or if you’ll be attending the CELOP Legal English Summer Program, additional funds will be required. Visit CELOP’s website to view the program’s fees and expenses.

If You Are Supporting Yourself

If you are supporting yourself, financial documentation can be in the form of: an English language bank statement showing the required funds in US dollars, issued and stamped by your bank, with the account holder’s name listed in English; OR an official English language bank letter, signed and stamped by your bank, listing the name of the student who is receiving the funds. The letter or financial statement must be an original (not a copy or fax). To help you understand what BU needs, please see an example of a financial document/bank letter below.

Support by an Individual Other than Yourself

If you are being sponsored by an individual other than yourself, we need a current financial statement or bank letter (see example below) from your sponsor’s bank showing the availability of funds to cover your personal and academic expenses at BU, plus a Sponsor Certification Form which states that he/she will pay for your tuition, fees, and living expenses for the duration of your studies at Boston University School of Law. All documents must be originals and in English.

Sponsorship by an Organization

If your sponsor is an organization, there is no need for a bank letter or financial statement, but we need an original English language letter from your sponsor which states that the organization will pay for your tuition, fees, and living expenses for the duration of your studies at Boston University School of Law.

Sample Financial Document/Bank Letter

Dear Boston University:

This financial institution, Bank of Madrid, certifies that Ms. Jane Smith has financial holdings of at least USD $75,000 available to be used for paying her tuition, fees, and living expenses for the duration of her studies at Boston University School of Law. This information is true to the best of my knowledge.


Bank Official
Madrid, Spain
April 15, 2019

After Receiving Your I-20

Following the receipt of your I-20, you will need to schedule an appointment with your countries’ closest US consulate, or embassy.  BU’s ISSO has a complete overview of this process here.