Changing to a New Program at BU

We are pleased that you have selected to begin a new academic program at Boston University. The ISSO has prepared the following important information to guide your plans as you complete your current program and transition to a new program of study. Please note that in order to be eligible for a change of level, you must have maintained valid status throughout your F-1 program, you must begin your new program within 5 months from your previous program completion, and you must have an “active” F-1 SEVIS record. Please see the immigration processing steps below:

  1. You must submit all required documents to your new academic department to complete your international student application.
  2. Once your records are complete and you have been admitted to your new program, the academic department will forward a request for immigration processing to the ISSO.
  3. The ISSO will notify you of additional documentation required.
  4. The ISSO will issue the Form I-20 for the new program of study after all documentation has been received and you have completed your first program of study.
  5. You must complete new student check-in at the ISSO at the beginning of your new program.

The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) only allows for one active F-1 student immigration record at a time. Therefore, we must wait until the completion of your current program before we can issue the I-20 for your new program. Once your record is complete at the ISSO you should expect your new I-20 to be issued within 10 business days of the completion of your previous program, or within 10 days of receiving your completed admissions file, whichever is later.

It is important that you submit all required documents and pay attention to instructions below as your new I-20 must be issued within 60 days from the completion date of your current academic program or OPT. If you are unable to receive the new I-20 within your grace period, you may be required to travel home and apply for a new F-1 visa to commence your new program of study.

The staff of the ISSO is pleased to provide you with information, advice and assistance on any visa or immigration matter that relates to your activities at Boston University. Please review the sections below information pertaining to your specific situation.