Close Search

These pages direct you to regulations and information for visas most commonly used by international students, scholars and faculty at Tufts.

We also offer information about other visa categories. Please not that the information we provide for B-1/B-2, O-1, TN, E-3 visas is only a brief summary of other non-immigrant classifications available at Tufts and should be used for informational purposes only. If you will be coming to Tufts, you must first be in touch with your host school or department and the International Center to ensure that you enter the U.S. in the proper status.

F-1 Visa

About the F-1 at Tufts

Most Tufts University degree seeking students hold F-1 status. This is a classification that allows students to remain in the United States for the duration of their status as long as they remain a properly registered, full-time student.

Application Instructions

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the student visa.

To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  1. Your Tufts University Form I-20
  2. The I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt
  3. A copy of your financial support documents, i.e. evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at Tufts (e.g. bank statement)

In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:

  1. A valid passport
  2. Passport-size photographs
  3. Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites.)
  4. An application fee and an interview will also be required.

There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process. Before you apply, be sure to check the Consulate's website.

F-2 Dependent Status

Dependents of F-1 visa holders include spouses and children under the age of 21. These dependents are able to enter the United States either with you, or to join you at a later time.

In much the same way you obtained your F-1 or J-1 visa by documenting that you were accepted to Tufts and you had sufficient funds to study and live here, your spouse will have to do the same.

If you wish to bring your spouse to the United States, you need to provide the International Center with the following information:

  1. Current Bank Statement (within 2 months) with your full name on it, indicating you have at least $5,000 U.S. to sponsor your spouse and $3,000 U.S. for each dependent child.
  2. Letter of Sponsorship, dated and signed, attesting to your relationship to your spouse and your willingness to provide him/her at least $5,000 for living expenses.
  3. Copy of passport identification page for each dependent and approximate arrival date in the United States.

Processing time to issue your spouse's and/or children's immigration documents is approximately 2 to 3 weeks. Please note, F-2 dependents are not required to pay a SEVIS receipt fee (I-901).

Paying the I-901 SEVIS fee

SEVIS Visa Application Fee (to be paid at U.S. Embassy/Consulate)

International Visitors applying for visas at U.S. consulates pay two fees:

1. I-901 SEVIS fee (US Department of Homeland Security)

The fee is $350 for F-1 visas. You must pay this fee PRIOR to obtaining your visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. (F-2s are exempt from this fee.) Please note: you will not be able to pay for it in person at the time of the visa application.

Learn more about the I-901 SEVIS fee

2. Visa fee (US Department of State)

All visa applicants must pay a visa fee to the US Department of State. For information on this fee, please visit this page:

Learn more about the visa fee

J-1 Students

About the J-1 Students at Tufts

J-1 student status will allow you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program at Tufts. The J-1 student category is almost never used by undergraduate students at Tufts. Students in a graduate degree program can request a J-1 student visa after consulting with an I-Center advisor. Graduate students must have a substantial portion of their funding from a source other than personal funds to become eligible for the visa. The spouse and dependent children of a J-1 student hold J-2 status and can usually obtain permission from to work in the U.S.

Exchange students must obtain a J-1 student visa in the non-degree category to come to Tufts. Application instructions are invididually sent to students once they have been formally admitted to an exchange program by the Office of Programs Abroad.

Application Instructions

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the student visa.

To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  1. Your Tufts University Form DS-2019
  2. The SEVIS Fee receipt
  3. A copy of your financial support documents, i.e. evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at Tufts (e.g. bank statement)

In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:

  1. A valid passport
  2. Passport-size photographs
  3. Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites.)
  4. An application fee and an interview will also be required.

There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process. Before you apply, be sure to check the Consulate's website.

J-2 Dependents

J-2 Dependents

The spouse and dependent children of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 status and may use this status to accompany the J-1 individual to the U.S. To be eligible for J-2 child must not be over 21. No other family members are eligible for J-2 status. You must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources their support.

Applying for J-2 Status

Each person in J-2 status must have his or her own DS-2019. If the spouse and/or dependent child will accompany the J-1 scholar this information must be received by the International Center at the time of requesting the initial DS-2019 form. If the spouse and/or dependent child will join the scholar in the U.S. after their arrival, the scholar will request the DS-2019 from the International Center.

With the DS-2019 the J-2 dependent may apply for a J-2 visa at the U.S. Consulate.

To learn about the process for applying for J-2 employment authorization visit the Employment Authorization page.

Paying the SEVIS fee - Using Forms DS-2019

Paying the SEVIS fee - Using Forms DS-2019 

All new J-1 Students using DS-2019 must pay the SEVIS fee ($220 USD) prior to applying for a U.S. visa.

When should you pay the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee must be paid at least three days prior to submitting the application for a U.S. visa. Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the visa requirement, must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days prior to applying for admission to the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry

How do you pay the SEVIS fee?

You may pay this fee with a credit card through an internet connection or by mail in the form of a check or money order to DHS. Third party payment is permitted. The International Center recommends that you pay this fee online. To pay the fee online, go to www.fmjfee.com. Complete the form supplying the necessary information. Be certain that your name appears exactly as it appears on the DS-2019 form. 

  • The SEVIS ID# is the number which begins with N00 located in the upper right hand corner of the DS-2019 form. 
  • The Exchange Visitor Program Number begins with P-xx-xxxxx.
  • The Exchange Visitor Category can be found on the DS-2019 form in section 4.

On the second screen you will provide the payment information. If you pay by credit card, you will immediately receive a receipt of the payment. Print out the receipt (the print button is at the bottom of the receipt page.) If you are paying by mail, you will print out the I-901 form and send it to the address indicated with a check or money order in U.S. dollars for $220.

You will need to present the fee receipt with your application for a visa.

Learn more about the SEVIS fee

J-1 Scholars

About J-1 Scholars at Tufts

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program allows academic institutions and other educational exchange programs to sponsor foreign nationals to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States. Tufts University has been approved by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to serve as the visa sponsor for international visitors to participate in research, teaching, and training.

Eligibility

Exchange Visitors can obtain a non-immigrant visa for the purpose of teaching and research in the categories of J-1 Research Scholar and J-1 Professor.

The J-1 visa cannot be used for tenure-track faculty.

To qualify for the J-1 visa prospective exchange visitors must meet the following criteria:

  • Appropriate academic credentials
  • English language proficiency
  • Demonstrate sufficient financial resources throughout the length of the appointment
  • Secure Health Insurance throughout the length of the appointment

The process to obtain a J-1 visa document (DS-2019) must be initiated by the sponsoring department.  

Sponsor Department review the process for requesting a J-1 scholar visa

Categories

Research Scholar/Professor

J-1 visa holders in the Research Scholar or Professor category may remain in the United States for up to five years on the J-1 visa. There are some restrictions to this category. (See "12- and 24-month bars" below.)

Paid employment for J-1 research scholars or professors is permitted only if it is described on the Form DS-2019 issued to the J-1 visa holder. In most cases, it is not possible for a J-1 visa holder to accept paid employment outside of Tufts. There are, however, occasional exceptions. Please ask the International Center for more information regarding the possibility of employment outside of Tufts.

Short-Term Scholar

A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills may remain in the United States for up to six months. No extensions are permitted beyond six months. Paid employment for J-1 short-term scholars is permitted only if it is described on the Form DS-2019 issued to the J-1 visa holder.

Application Instructions

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the student visa.

To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  1. Your Tufts University Form DS-2019
  2. The SEVIS Fee receipt

A copy of your financial support documents. This may include but is not limited to: 

  1. An offer letter from Tufts indicating salary
  2. Stipend or grant from home university or government
  3. Personal bank statement

In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:

  1. A valid passport
  2. Passport-size photographs
  3. Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites.)
  4. An application fee and an interview will also be required.

There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process. Before you apply, be sure to check the Consulate's website.

J-2 Dependents

J-2 Dependents

The spouse and dependent children of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 status and may use this status to accompany the J-1 individual to the U.S. To be eligible for J-2 child must not be over 21. No other family members are eligible for J-2 status. You must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources their support.

For information about working in the U.S. as a J-2 Dependent, please review the section J-2 Employment of the Employment Authorization page.

Applying for J-2 Status

Each person in J-2 status must have his or her own DS-2019. If the spouse and/or dependent child will accompany the J-1 scholar this information must be received by the International Center at the time of requesting the initial DS-2019 form. If the spouse and/or dependent child will join the scholar in the U.S. after their arrival, the scholar will request the DS-2019 from the International Center.

With the DS-2019 the J-2 dependent may apply for a J-2 visa at the U.S. Consulate.

Paying the SEVIS fee - Using Forms DS-2019

When should you pay the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee  of $220 must be paid at least three days prior to submitting the application for a U.S. visa. Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the visa requirement, must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days prior to applying for admission to the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry. Exchange Visitors funded by the Federal Government and J-2s are exempt from this fee.

How do you pay the SEVIS fee?

You may pay this fee with a credit card through an internet connection or by mail in the form of a check or money order to DHS. Third party payment is permitted. The International Center recommends that you pay this fee online. To pay the fee online, go to www.fmjfee.com. Complete the form supplying the necessary information. Be certain that your name appears exactly as it appears on the DS-2019 form.

  • The SEVIS ID# is the number which begins with N00 located in the upper right hand corner of the DS-2019 form.
  • The Exchange Visitor Program Number is: P-1-00829
  • The Exchange Visitor Category can be found on the DS-2019 form in section 4.

On the second screen you will provide the payment information. If you pay by credit card, you will immediately receive a receipt of the payment. Print out the receipt (the print button is at the bottom of the receipt page.) If you are paying by mail, you will print out the I-901 form and send it to the address indicated with a check or money order in U.S. dollars for $220.

You will need to present the fee receipt with your application for a visa.

Learn more about the SEVIS fee

H-1B Faculty and Staff

About the H-1B

An H-1B temporary worker is defined as a person who will perform services in a specialty occupation. The H-1B classification is appropriate for those occupations that require "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty or its equivalent as a minimum entry into the occupation in the United States."

Not everyone is eligible for sponsorship in this category. For more information, please review the information below and contact the International Center if you have further questions. 

Application Instructions

The International Center, in conjunction with the Tufts sponsoring department, process the necessary documentation for an H-1B Petition. An H-1B visa holder will only be authorized to work for the specific job outlined in the H-1B Petition. An H-1B employee may be admitted into the United States for an initial maximum period of up to three years. However, the maximum total stay in H-1B status is six years. Employment outside of Tufts University is not allowed under the Tufts H-1B Petition application. It is possible to work for more than one employer, but you must secure separate H-1B Petition approvals for each additional employer. All prospective H-1B holders should complete the H1-B Questionnaire.

Sponsor Department review the process for requesting an H-1B visa

Immigration processing times vary drastically. Current processing times are always changing so please check with your International Center advisor for the most up-to-date information regarding processing times.

Once the H-1B petition is complete, the I-Center advisor will send the petition to the USCIS Service Center.

In approximately two weeks, the I-Center should receive an official receipt notice providing a case number. At that time, the beneficiary may contact the I-Center advisor handling their case to request the case number so that they may monitor their case online.

H-4 Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of H-1B visa holders are considered dependents and are eligible for H-4 status. H-4 visa holders are only eligible to stay in the United States while their H-1B spouse or parents are in the United States maintaining the terms and conditions of their H-1B visa status.

H-4 visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States and are not eligible to obtain Social Security Numbers.

H-4 visa holders may study in the United States, full-time or part-time, for the duration of the H-1B's period of stay.

H-4 visa holders cannot be issued H-4 visas if the H-1B visa holder does not have an H-1B visa in his or her passport. If the H-1B visa holder obtained a change of status in the United States and has not traveled abroad to obtain the H-1 visa, dependents will not be eligible for H-4 visas at a U.S. consulate.

To apply for H-4 status you must complete a Form I-539 and submit supporting documentation. This documentation can either be submitted to the International Center to process at the same time as your H-1B petition, or you can choose to wait for a receipt notice and file after we have a receipt number. For more information about H-4 processing, please contact your International Center Advisor.

Trade NAFTA (TN) Visa

About the TN Visa

Overview

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), developed a temporary employment classification to facilitate entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the U.S. to engage in professional business activities. The employment must constitute "pre-arranged" professional activity for a U.S. entity within one of the professions listed in 9.B.9 Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of the NAFTA.

The TN classification is granted in increments of up to three years and is not subject to a maximum period of stay and thus may seek multiple re-admissions or extensions, provided their intended professional activity continues and they remain otherwise eligible. The TN is to be used for temporary employment. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for tenure-track positions.

The TN category does not hold dual intent.  The TN application process varies slightly for Canada and Mexico.

Individuals must apply to International Center for permission to work at Tufts on a TN visa status.  The sponsoring department must complete a request form along with submitting the individual’s credentials.

Application Instructions

The International Center will work with the sponsoring department to determine if a prospective or current employee qualifies for a TN visa. Upon confirmation of eligibility, the sponsoring department will submit a request to the I-Center for an official employment letter to be used by the TN applicant.

Sponsor Department review the process for requesting a TN visa

The prospective TN visa applicant must follow these steps:

  1. Collaborate with the host Department at Tufts to complete the TN Visa Application Form. Once the Department has submitted the form to the I-Center, the applicant will receive a letter for the TN visa/status application. 
  2. Gather documents required for the visa/status:

Required Documents:

  1. Tufts Employment Letter
  2. Passport valid for travel to the United States. It must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States
  3. Documentation proving that you meet the minimum education and/or work experience requirement. Acceptable evidence of education:
    • Diplomas, Certificates
    • Professional licenses
    • Membership in professional organization
    • CV
Entry to the U.S. in TN Status Sponsored by Tufts University

While any port of entry recognized by the regulations may be used, CBP has designated 14 Port of Entries (including 4 pre-flight inspection stations) for optimized processing of first-time Canadian applicants for admission in the TN category.

Learn more about optimized processing

Canadian citizens must establish eligibility for TN status at the time of seeking admission to the United States, by presenting required documentation to a CBP officer at the port of entry or pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station. You must present the following documents:

  1. Proof of Canadian citizenship (Passport is highly recommended)
  2. Documentation establishing eligibility for TN classification
  3. Tufts employment letter
  4. CV, degree credentials, diploma, license or certificate:
    • Any credentials obtained outside the U.S., Canada or Mexico should be accompanied by a credentials evaluation and certified English language translation if the credentials are in a language other than English.
    • DOS and DHS have may request to see these documents in original form or certified copies. Be prepared to provide such forms.
    • $50 application fee, in U.S. dollars

TN Visa applicants should be able to articulate the temporary nature of the employment. If you unsure about this requirement, consult with your international scholar advisor.

TN Visa Holders (Dependents of TN's)

TD visa holders will be admitted for the duration of the TN principal alien's stay. They may attend school in the U.S. but are not eligible to work or receive any form of compensation, tuition, research assistantship, etc.

Dependents of a Canadian TN professional who are citizens of Canada are exempt of the visa requirement. Mexican citizens dependents of a TN professional must apply for the TD visa.

Exception to visa waiver for Canadian professional and family members

A Canadian without TN nonimmigrant status, who resides in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or children and who plans to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional at the same time as the family members, will need a TN visa in order for the family members to be eligible to apply for derivative TD nonimmigrant visa(s).

Other Visa Categories: B-1/B-2, O-1, TN, E-3

About these other visas

The list below is only a brief summary of other non-immigrant classifications available at Tufts and should be used for informational purposes only. If you will be coming to Tufts, you must first be in touch with your host school or department, and the International Center to ensure that you enter the U.S. in the proper status.

B-1/B-2: Visitor/Tourist

The B1/B2 visitor visa is most often used for individuals who come to campus to give a lecture or to participate in a seminar or colloquium. While most short-term academic appointments use the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa, which is relatively quick and easy to obtain, on rare occasions it may be possible for an individual to use the Visitor Visa (either the B-1 Visa obtained from a U.S. consulate or the Visa Waiver for Business.) These visitor visas are not “sponsored” by Tufts and their success and ease of use are less predictable.

Countries eligible for "Visa Waiver" WB or WT visas

Nationals of the following countries are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a visa stamp to enter the United States in either the B-1 or B-2 categories. The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of certain countries to apply for admission to the U.S. for 90 days or less for the purpose of visitors for short-term business or for pleasure. Visitors entering on the Visa Waiver program cannot involve in employment in the United States or enroll in an academic study program. Visitors entering in the Visa Waiver program will not be permitted to change to another visa category within the United States, nor will they be allowed to extend their stay beyond the ninety day period.

O-1: Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

O-1 Visa Classification

Is available for those to work within their field who have demonstrated they have extraordinary ability. The O-1 visa classification includes aliens having sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics, or aliens having a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries. This category requires considerable documentation and is best reserved for the most highly qualified guest professors, researchers, and artists with a high level of expertise.

O-1 Petition

The initial period can be up to three years with one-year extensions allowed. There is no limit on the time an O-1 can remain in the U.S. as long as he/she continues the same work. If the employer terminates the employment early, the employer is responsible for reasonable costs of returning the alien to his or her last place of residence before the alien's entry to the U.S.

E-3: Specialty Occupations for Australian Citizens

The E-3 Nonimmigrant Classification allows for the admission of a temporary worker who is a citizen of Australia and is entering the U.S. to perform services in a "specialty occupation." The prospective applicant must have a Bachelor's degree or higher in the field for which he or she is applying to work in.

The International Center will guide the Tufts sponsoring department on the E-3 application process. It will be necessary for us to demonstrate that the position meets prevailing wage as per the Department of Labor (through an approved Labor Condition Application).

The E-3 category is initially granted for a period of no more than two years. Extensions of stay may be granted indefinitely in increments not to exceed two years.

There is an annual cap of 10,500 for "new" E-3 applicants. The cap does not apply to people extending their E-3 status. Visas for spouses and children do not count against this number.

Dependents of the E-3 category may apply to receive work authorization.

The E-3 category does not have dual intent. Anyone in the U.S. holding a permanent position or one with permanent intent, such as a tenure-track position should not be on E-3 status. An H-1B would be more appropriate as it does allow for immigrant intent.

More information about the E-3 category