Incoming F-1 and J-1 Students
Congratulations on your admission to Boston College! We hope that you enjoy your stay here and that your studies at Boston College will be a memorable and meaningful experience. Many helpful resources are listed below to help make your transition to life at Boston College progress smoothly. The pre-arrival section contains all of the information you need to know before you leave your home country, while the post-arrival section contains information you will find helpful once you arrive on campus.
When you arrive at a U.S. port of entry, an immigration official will review your documents and stamp your passport. They should also write either "F-1 D/S" for F-1 visa holders or "J-1 D/S" for J-1 visa holders in this stamp. The immigration official will issue you an electronic I-94 number that corresponds with your admission to the United States. You can review your I-94 record online at any time. If you enter at a land border, instead of at an airport, a white I-94 card may be stapled to your passport.
NOTE: You must be especially aware with which visa status you are admitted into the U.S., especially if you have another visa stamp in your passport (such as a B-2 tourist visa) or if you are from a "visa waiver" country like Canada. Be sure to present your I-20 or DS-2019 to the immigration official.
How soon can I enter the U.S.?
You cannot enter the country more than 30 days prior to the start date on you I-20 or DS-2019.
What documents will I need to present? Do not pack these in your baggage!
- Passport with F-1 visa (or J-1 visa)
- Form I-20 (or Form DS-2019)
- Evidence of financial resources
A variety of transportation options are available to you as you explore Boston! Directions to Boston College are available online.
Boston Logan International Airport is the closest airport to Boston College. The university does not provide transporation to campus from the airport. The most common types of transportation used from the airport, are taxis, hotel shuttle and by the public transportation system called the “T”.
Taxis can be found at the ground transportation area outside each terminal. Fare to downtown Boston will be about $35, and to Boston College will be about $50, depending on traffic and the time of day. For good service, it is customary to tip about 15% in addition to the fare.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, operates Boston's mass transportation system. This system is the oldest in the U.S., and includes buses, trains, and subways lines known as the “T.” To get to campus for free, take the Silver Line to South Station, transfer to the Red Line to Park Street, and transfer again to the Boston College Green Line (also called the "B Line") outbound train. Stay on the "B Line" outbound train to the final station. For a faster route, you can pay for a Logan Express bus from the airport to Hynes Convention Center station. At Hynes, transfer to the Green Line B to Boston College Station. It will cost $2.75 for a one way trip on the “T.”
Shared Vans and Hotel Shuttles:
Many van companies offer shared van service to area hotels. Visit your hotel's website for more details. Although it may take you a little bit longer to arrive at your destination, it is typically much cheaper, especially if you are traveling on your own (around $15 per person). If you are staying in a hotel, call the hotel first to see if they provide a free shuttle or if there is a shuttle company that they recommend.
Massport operates regional airports, bridges and seaports in Massachusetts including Logan International Airport
International Student Housing Advisors:
During the month of August, two graduate international students work in the Office of Residential Life and serve as housing advisors. They have been in your situation before and are a great resource! You can reach them by phone, email, or online.
Important information about living off-campus, as well as a list of available apartments nearby, can be found on the off-campus housing website. You can create an account and place your name on a list of students looking for housing so that you can be contacted by someone who has an apartment or room available. International graduate students will also be available to assist with housing questions during the month of August. If you do not have a BC username or password yet, you can create a 'guest' account that will be reviewed by the Off-campus Housing Office.
Office of Residential Life - Maloney Hall, Suite 413
Front Desk: 617-552-3060
Academic year: Monday-Friday 9AM- 5PM
Summer: Monday-Thursday 9AM-5PM, Friday 9AM-3PM
International Student Orientation is designed to supplement orientations arranged by other offices on campus (Freshman, Exchange and Graduate Orientations). The program will allow you to meet both American and other international students, provide you with useful information about Boston College, and introduce information you should know as an international student in the United States.
Boston College is committed to helping students meet their healthcare needs. Univeristy Health Services, University Counseling Services, and the Office of Health Promotion all provide a variety of on-campus services while you are enrolled at the university, and can provide referrals to off-campus services if necessary.
Incoming Student Health Forms:
Massachusetts law requires all full-time students to provide proof of immunization against a variety of communicable diseases. All immunization forms should be submitted to Health Services PRIOR to the start of classes. Failure to submit your forms will result in a hold on student account, affect your ability to register for the next semester, and result in an administrative fee of $65. Forms are available through the University Health Services website.For more information about immunization requirements, please contact University Health Services.
Health Insurance for F-1 Students:
The U.S. government and the State of Massachusetts require all international students to have health insurance from a U.S.-based company. Foreign health insurance policies are not considered to be comparable and therefore are not acceptable. Students will automatically be billed for the Boston College student health insurance plan. Information about the BC health insurance plan is available on the Office of Student Services website. In order to ensure international students are covered by a plan that provides coverage which meets or exceeds the Student Health Insurance Plan, international students are not eligible to waive Boston College Student Health Insurance. Do not enroll in a foreign health insurance plan, as you will then have duplicate coverage and will not be able to receive a refund.
Note: If you are insured through a parent/guardian’s health insurance plan offered through a U.S. employer or a government sponsored program (for example Government of Kuwait/UAE or Government of Saudi Arabia) with coverage that meets or exceeds BC’s student health insurance plan, you may be eligible to waive coverage. Please contact Student Services or visit the Student Services website for more information.
Health Insurance for J-1 Exchange Visitor Students:
The Department of State requires that all J-1 exchange visitor students and their dependents obtain health insurance for the duration of their program which meets certain minimum criteria. The Boston College student health insurance plan, administered through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, meets these minimum requirements. Students will automatically be enrolled and billed for the Boston College medical insurance at their time of registration. Insured students have the option of enrolling their eligible dependents using forms available on the Student Services website. You may also enroll dependents online at the Gallagher and Koster website.
Any J-1 exchange visitor who fails to maintain the insurance coverage, or makes a material misrepresentation to Boston College concerning such coverage, will be in violation of his or her immigration status and subject to termination as a J-1 exchange visitor.
Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in New England, with a population of over 600,000. It is considered a “college city” with more than 100 colleges in the Greater Boston area and a student population of over 250,000 students in Boston and Cambridge alone. These students represent all areas of the United States and the world. Living in Boston will give you an excellent opportunity to experience one of the oldest cities in the United States, and to get a first-hand glimpse of American history. Many of the most important events of the American Revolution and the founding of this country took place in or around Boston, and historical monuments and museums can be found all throughout the city. There are museums, performances, restaurants, bars, clubs and sporting activities to suit every interest and taste.
City of Boston
The official City of Boston website offers a history of Boston and visitor information.
The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau website provides information on hotels, restaurants and attractions. The Boston Globe's Boston.com provides up to date news, classified ads, weather and visitor information.
“If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute, it will change!”
Weather in New England can be unpredictable and changeable. There are four seasons with distinct weather conditions: Autumn (also know as “fall”), winter, spring and summer. The most enjoyable weather is typically during the spring months of April through June when flowers bloom and temperatures are moderate and the early fall from September to early November. Summers can be very hot and humid and the coldest and snowiest months are January and February.
Average temperatures in Boston for each season are as follows:
|Autumn||46-60 degrees||8 - 15 degrees|
|Winter||0-37 degrees||-17 - 3 degrees|
|Spring||38-60 degrees||3 - 15 degrees|
|Summer||60-95 degrees||15 - 35 degrees|
Visa regulations require international students to report any change of address within 10 days of the change. To do so, simply update your local address in Agora. Your address information will be electronically transmitted to the OISS, and then to the Department of Homeland Security.
Please follow these step-by-step instructions if you need more assistance.
The Office of Student Services provides a variety of services for Boston College students and scholars. Commonly requested information includes academic calendars, current course offerings, and registration procedures and schedules. For a complete list of services, please visit the Student Services A-Z site.
Course schedules for semester- or year-long exchange students are arranged by the Office of International Programs. Please contact OIP for specific details.
The Eagle-One Card is a multi-purpose identification and debit account card which serves as the official ID card of Boston College faculty, staff, and students. The card provides access to facilities and services across the university. To obtain an ID card, visit the Office of Student Services located in Lyons Hall. Bring proof of identification.
Semester- and year-long exchange students will receive their Eagle-One cards at orientation. For details, contact the Office of International Programs.
Visa regulations require all new international students and scholars to complete an immigration check-in at OISS after arriving at Boston College. New international students must go to the OISS with all of their immigration documents NO LATER than Friday, September 8th, 2018. Failure to do so can jeopardize your immigration status.
Visa regulations strictly regulate employment opportunities for international students. All international students MUST receive permission from OISS before beginning any work.
On-campus employment and off-campus employment procedures differ. Visit the Career & Employment page for more details.
Please note: Undergraduate international students are not eligible to work on-campus until their SECOND semester at BC, unless they have transferred from another American university. Graduate international students with assistantships or who have attended an American university prior to coming to BC, are eligible to work on-campus in their first semester. All other graduate international students must obtain a letter from your academic department stating they are capable of handling work in addition to your academic requirements in addition to the requirements listed on the Career & Employment page.
By law, Social Security Numbers (SSN) are only issued to F-1 international students who have secured a job on-campus. Although many institutions such as banks, landlords, etc. may ask you for one, you are not required to have one. J-1 students and scholars may apply for an SSN before they have secured employment.
Note!!! You may have received correspondence from BC which states your “social security number” beginning with a “9”. This is NOT a social security number but rather a “dummy” number used for BC purposes only.
Each international student and scholar is given a unique username which is assigned when you first become a member of the BC community. You must enter your username and password to gain access to various computer services at BC, such as email and Agora. Students typically receive their usernames either by mail and/or in a letter or during orientation. If you do not know your username contact the Information Technology Services' Help Desk.