Immigration Status

Whether you’re a student, a postdoctoral researcher, a faculty member, or a visiting researcher, you will need the appropriate immigration classification to fulfill your primary purpose at BU. It’s important that you understand your immigration documents and records as well as the necessary steps to maintain your lawful status in the U.S. throughout your time at BU.

Determining Your Classification

Once the ISSO has been notified of either your admission to a program of study or your established academic or employment affiliation with BU, we will determine the appropriate immigration classification to support your stay.

If you’re a student or scholar holding a BU-sponsored F-1, J-1, or H-1B immigration classification, the ISSO will provide you with a handout outlining the specific rights and responsibilities associated with those classifications upon your arrival. This information can also be accessed on individual classification pages.


To be considered a student, you must be enrolled part-time or full-time in a degree or non-degree program and your primary activity at BU is to study. Students may hold F-1 or J-1 visas; most undergraduate students are designated F-1.


To be considered a scholar, your primary activity at BU is to conduct research, teach, or work. Scholars typically hold J-1 or H-1B visas, depending on their type of BU affiliation—but other classifications may be used.

If you are in a different immigration classification, we recommend that you review the Immigration Overview carefully and speak with an ISSO advisor to confirm that your classification will allow you pursue your desired BU affiliation, and that you understand your corresponding rights and responsibilities.