Obtaining an I-20
Most international students at Boston Conservatory at Berklee enter the United States with an F-1 student visa. Before applying for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, students must obtain a form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
When new international students are accepted to the Conservatory, they receive an acceptance letter via email that includes a link to information, instructions, and forms that explain in detail the requirements for receiving an I-20.
- Payment of the tuition deposit
- Completed International Student Information Form with attached photocopies of the passport information page(s) and any previous U.S. visas
- Financial documentation demonstrating that the student has access to adequate funds to meet the full estimated cost of one year as a student at Boston Conservatory, including tuition and fees, room and board, and incidental expenses
Transferring Your I-20
If you have been accepted to Boston Conservatory at Berklee and are currently an F-1 student attending another school in the United States, you may be able to transfer* your immigration, or SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), record from your previous school to Boston Conservatory. This will allow you to maintain continuous F-1 status and provide you with the following benefits:
- You will not have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again when receiving your new I-20 from Boston Conservatory, because you are maintaining the same SEVIS ID number.
- You may become eligible sooner for certain F-1 benefits, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). In order to be eligible for these benefits, students must be in continuous F-1 status for at least one year. By transferring your active SEVIS record from your previous school to Boston Conservatory, you will maintain the continuity of your status and be able to use the time spent at your previous school when determining eligibility for benefits.
The transfer process works like this:
- Once admitted to Boston Conservatory, you will receive an electronic acceptance letter that includes a link to special information and forms for international students. One of those forms is called the International Student Information Form, which includes a section in which you must select the statement that best applies to your situation. By selecting the option “I currently hold an F-1 student visa because I am currently studying at a U.S. institution,” you will notify the Office of International Student Affairs of your intention to transfer your existing SEVIS record to Boston Conservatory. Complete the entire form and attach the required documentation as per instructions as soon as possible.
- The Office of International Student Affairs will then confirm that you are eligible for a SEVIS transfer and send you a Transfer Release form via email. You will need to bring that form to the international student advisor at your previous school to request the transfer. The advisor will work with you to determine the best date to transfer your record (release date) before signing the form and either returning it to you or sending it directly to Boston Conservatory. The advisor will then schedule the transfer of your record in SEVIS for the appropriate date.
- Once your release date has passed and you have submitted all required forms and documents, the director of international student affairs will issue you a “transfer pending” I-20 to indicate that you are in the process of moving from one U.S. school to another.
- Once you are enrolled as a full-time student at Boston Conservatory, AND within 15 days of the start of classes, the director of international student affairs will complete your transfer and issue you a new “continued attendance” I-20.
IMPORTANT: Please save all I-20s issued to you. You will need to present them if you apply for practical training or if you change to another visa category in the future.
*Although Boston Conservatory at Berklee may not consider you a “transfer student,” you are still considered a transfer student for immigration purposes if we transfer your SEVIS record from your previous school to the Conservatory.