Spring 2022 Student Reminders
Please review the reminders below as they contain important reminders about maintaining status for new student and continuing F and J students. Boston University is required to confirm your enrollment to the Department of Homeland Security through the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at the start of each semester. Please be advised that we have changed how we will gather and report your enrollment during this time.
Returning to campus
If you are returning to campus from outside the US, please review our current travel advisory for the latest US entry requirements and the Back2BU website for COVID protocols as well as testing and vaccination requirements. Please see the latest memo from President Brown about plans to resume in-person instruction on campus for the spring semester on 1/20/2022.
Update your addresses in the StudentLink
It is critical that you understand the different addresses on the Student Link and keep each address updated correctly. Local address is used by the university to know your location while the Foreign-Immigration and the US-immigration address are reported to the US Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS. Immigration regulations require that you update your address within 10 days of a move so you must keep your immigration-related addresses in the student link up to date throughout the duration of your program.
- Foreign-Immigration address: must reflect your address in your home country
- US-Immigration address: must reflect your current US address
- If you are living on campus, this address will automatically reflect your BU housing address.
- If this is your first semester, you update this address after you enter the US
Initial Check-in ISSO for new students
All international students traveling to the US to begin a new program and F-1 students returning to campus after a leave of absence will be required to complete Initial ISSO check-in remotely through the StudentLink. You will be required to upload copies of your US immigration documents to notify us of your arrival in the US so we can activate your SEVIS record. You should only complete Initial ISSO check-in after you have entered the US. Students beginning a new program of study will receive a separate email message with additional details about Initial ISSO check-in.
SEVIS reporting for continuing Students
Continuing student check-in (previously referred to as Semester Verification) will not be required in Spring 2022 so you do not need to take any additional steps provided you are academically registered. Rather than asking students in check in in-person at the beginning of the semester, the ISSO will rely on your academic registration data to automatically update your SEVIS record for spring.
Remember that you must be enrolled full-time and making normal academic progress in your degree each academic semester. For most students, full-time is a minimum of 12 credits. Some graduate student programs may have different full-time equivalents, but you must be certified as a full-time student to maintain valid student immigration status. Students are only allowed to take one online course each semester towards the 12 credit enrollment minimum so students seeking to enroll in an online course must enroll in at least 8 credits of in person instruction.
If it is your last semester and you need less than 12 credits to graduate, you should request authorization for a Reduced Course load from your ISSO advisor prior to the start of the semester.
Immigration regulations allow international students to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the regular semester. You can read more about being hired to work on-campus on the ISSO website. If you have not worked on-campus before, you will need to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility form before you begin work. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply for one after you secure a job. Social Security Offices are currently closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19, but you can review details of how you can apply for an SSN on our COVID-19 FAQs page.
Immigration regulations intentionally limit employment option off campus during the academic year so you can concentrate on your full time coursework.
F-1 students may qualify for Curricular Practical Training from the ISSO for academic internship experiences. Alternatively, you may need to apply for employment authorization in advance from USCIS for Optional Practical Training for jobs directly related to your field of study.
J-1 students may qualify for Academic Training authorization from the ISSO for experiences related to your program of study.
You can learn about eligibility requirements and the application process from the ISSO website.Consequences of beginning employment without authorization are severe so, it is critical that you obtain specific authorization BEFORE you begin any employment opportunity.
If you plan to graduate in May 2022 and plan to apply for, please note that you will have a 60-day grace period after your program completion date of May 22, 2022 during which you must:
- Apply to USCIS for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), or
- Request that ISSO transfer your SEVIS record to a new school, or
- Obtain a new I-20 reflecting your plans to study in a new degree level at BU, or
- Depart the United States or take other action to change your nonimmigrant status
We wish you a successful spring semester. The ISSO is available in person or virtually to support you. You can visit our Menu of Virtual Services to learn how to contact us. You can also contact your ISSO advisor directly via email if you have specific questions. Given an increased volume of inquiries, it may take your advisor a few days to respond so we appreciate your patience!