I-20 and F-1 Visa Information

The following information is for accepted international students coming to Berklee's Boston or NYC campuses. If you are spending your first year on the campus in Valencia, Spain, please see First Year Abroad visa information.

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Studying in the U.S.

International students who wish to study at Berklee will need to obtain an I-20 from Berklee and an F-1 visa from the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.* Both an I-20 and F-1 visa are required to enter the U.S. and begin studying at Berklee.

What is an I-20?

Officially called a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” the I-20 is a document issued by Berklee to show that you have been admitted to a full-time program at Berklee, and that you have sufficient financial resources to cover your educational and living expenses. Your I-20 will be issued once you submit a complete I-20 Request Packet and an advisor creates a record for you in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) database. 

Your I-20 is not a visa. You need an I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa and enter the U.S. as an F-1 student. The I-20 is issued by your school, and visas are issued only by U.S. embassies and consulates outside the U.S. 

You will need your I-20 along with your F-1 visa and passport to enter the U.S. You will also need your I-20 for other official purposes such as applying for a U.S. Social Security number or driver’s license, or to complete employment verification paperwork for on- or off-campus employment.

Applying for an I-20 and F-1 visa will take several weeks. It is very important to send in your I-20 request forms and supporting financial documents as early as possible. You will not be able to begin your studies at Berklee until you have obtained both a Berklee I-20 and an F-1 visa.

*Canadian and Bermudian citizens: note that you are not required to apply for an F-1 visa. However, you will need to present your passport, I-20, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, and supporting financial documentation at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.

How to Request an I-20

If you have been accepted and have paid your tuition deposit for one of Berklee's undergraduate programs, graduate programs, or the Music and English Intensive Program (MEIP), follow the important steps and submission deadlines below to request your 1-20. 

Submit your I-20 request packet and supporting documents to Berklee by the following deadlines:

Fall Undergraduate Program

July 1

Spring Undergraduate Program 

December 1

Summer Undergraduate Program

April 1
 

Music and English Intensive Program (MEIP)

June 1

Once completing steps 1–4, students must then apply for an F-1 student visa, which is a requirement for attending Berklee if you are not from the United States.
 

How to Apply For an F-1 Student Visa

You may apply for an F-1 student visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country after you receive your I-20 and pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. 

Applying for an F-1 visa will take several weeks. Although applicants for F-1 visas are given priority for visa interview appointments, you must consider the time it will take to process your visa and return your passport to you. Check the visa appointment wait times for each U.S. embassy/consulate.

Canadian and Bermudian citizens: note that you are not required to apply for an F-1 visa. However, you will need to present your passport, I-20, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, and supporting financial documentation at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.


 

Traveling to the U.S. 


 

Questions?

Contact the International Student Services (ISS) Team at iss@berklee.edu or +1 617-747-6600. 

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