Visas & Immigration

Visa and immigration requirements vary by country and nature of the activity. Some visas can take up to six months to process, and require strict adherence to posted guidelines. You should ensure that all participants review applicable visa and immigration requirements—for travel to the host country and return to the United States—well in advance. Similarly, consider the same requirements for foreign colleagues you may be hosting here at BU.

Travel Abroad

Entry and exit requirements for all countries can be found in the country-specific information provided by the US State Department. Consider the following as you prepare for travel:

  • Make sure to obtain the proper visa prior to traveling. Conducting research or teaching under a tourist visa could jeopardize your ability to return to your destination in the future.
  • Consider the nature of your activity to assess the type of immigration documentation needed.
  • Ensure that you have a valid passport with an expiration date well beyond your date of return. If you are a US citizen, you can learn more about obtaining a passport on the State Department’s Travel pages.

You can obtain assistance with visa processing from third-party service providers. They can give you information about letters of support and/or invitation, as well as expediting services. BU faculty and staff have recommended CIBT in the past. You should consult their websites for more information on specific visa requirements and rates for service. But they are by no means the only provider. Prior to contacting any expeditor you should review the country specific visa requirements and guidelines, which you can find on the State Department’s Country Information website. Some countries, such as India, may contract with a specific company to process their visas.

Visitors to Boston University

The International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) at BU provides core services to international students, faculty, visiting scholars, and academic departments. ISSO staff will help you ensure that their travel complies with US regulations. Since immigration processing can take a significant amount of time, due to extensive government regulations, if you’re interested in hosting such individuals or groups, you should give the ISSO as much notice as possible.