ISSO staff collaborate with campus partners to welcome you to campus and provide information to international students regarding their transition to the US and to the BU community.  Due to the COVID pandemic and our temporary shift to remote employment, we have expanded information in BU First Class, our online pre-arrival orientation course required for all new students.  These essential sessions feature tips for academic success and critical visa and immigration information.

In addition to other BU First Class content, there are four ISSO modules including:

  • Introduction to the ISSO Staff and Services
  • Maintaining your Student Immigration Status
  • Employment in the US
  • Visa documentation required to travel during your program

We urge you to take advantage of all of the BU First Class offerings before you travel to campus.  Additionally, you are encouraged to return to the course periodically throughout your first year to review content, as you will pick up something new each time!

Undergraduate (new freshmen and undergraduate transfers)

We hope you engage with ISSO staff during University Orientation throughout the summer.  We invite you to participate in the “Continuing Conversations” organized by the Orientation Office as the summer continues.  Please register directly through the Orientation office.

Graduate (including non-degree and certificate students)

Individual schools and colleges offer programming and orientation sessions to their incoming students and often invite ISSO staff to participate.  Please check with your school/department to confirm your Orientation schedule.  Additionally, the Graduate Education website may have resources that are helpful as you prepare to come to Boston.

How do I get access to BU First Class?

Many of our new students should have received an e-mail from BU Global Programs (global@bu.edu) in early July inviting you to access the course.  If you have not received your invitation to BU First Class, please e-mail Kamelia Turcotte to request access.


Scholars & Employees

All arriving scholars and employees are required to check-in with the ISSO to obtain clearance to start their intended employment or activity at BU. The process may vary slightly depending on both immigration classification and the nature of the BU appointment or employment:

  • New J-1 Exchange Visitors: Review our appointment scheduling options for details on how to register for your mandatory New J-1 Scholar Check-in and Orientation session. Once you register, we will send more details and instructions about required documentation.
  • New BU Employee (receiving a BU salary):  Review our appointment scheduling options for details on how to set up your ISSO check-in and clearance and for more information about required documentation. You must complete a Form I-9 at the ISSO within three (3) days of your employment start date so schedule your appointment accordingly.
  • New Visiting Researcher or Visiting Student (or other uncompensated affiliates):  Please e-mail your ISSO Scholar Advisor your relevant immigration documents (i.e. passport, I-94 arrival record, EAD, I-797 approval notice, Form DS-2019 or Form I-20 etc.), your BU appointment letter (confirming the terms of your visiting appointment) and a completed Scholar & Employee Clearance Form.