Fall 2023 Student Reminders
Please review the information below for important reminders about maintaining status for new students and continuing F and J students. Please read our updated summaries of F-1 student and J-1 student regulations to learn more!
Update Your Addresses in the MyBU Student Portal
It is critical that you understand the different addresses on the MyBU Student Portal 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 MyBU Student Portal 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)
Initial ISSO Check-in for New Students
All international students beginning 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 MyBU Student Portal. 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 separate email messages with additional details about Initial ISSO check-in.
SEVIS Reporting for Continuing Students
Boston University is required to confirm your enrollment to the US Department of Homeland Security through the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at the start of each semester. The ISSO will rely on your academic registration data to automatically update your SEVIS record for fall. You do not need to take any additional steps provided you are academically registered.
Remember that you must be enrolled full-time and making normal academic progress in your degree each 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 enroll in at least one on-campus course and 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 a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus during the regular semester. If you have multiple jobs, you are still restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week. The consequences of exceeding the 20 hour per week limit are severe so it is important you pay attention to your hours each week. 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.
Immigration regulations intentionally limit employment option off campus during the academic year so you can concentrate on your full-time coursework. 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.
- F-1 students may qualify for Curricular Practical Training from the ISSO for academic internship experiences specifically required by a program of study or a particular course. Alternatively, if you are interested in gaining work experience related to your major field of study during your program, you may need to apply for pre-completion OPT 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.
January 2024 Graduates
If you are graduating in January, please note that you will have a 60-day grace period after your official program completion date of January 12, 2024 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 semester. The ISSO team is available in-person or virtually to support you. Attend one of our immigration workshops or visit our website to learn how to contact us, find your ISSO advisor, meet with our Advisor-On-Call or schedule an appointment. Given an increased volume of inquiries, it may take your advisor a few days to respond to inquiries and up to 10 business days to issue immigration documents and complete requests so please plan in advance.