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Prospective Students

Graduate and Undergraduate Students

We issue the Form I-20 or DS-2019 documents, which verify that you are an international student or exchange visitor. They also are necessary for you to receive a visa to enter the United States. Before you can apply for either of these documents, you must apply to and be accepted by Bentley. Once that is completed, follow the arrival process and requirements outlined below as you prepare to enter the United States.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you do not need to apply for the F or J visa; however, you must follow the rest of the procedures and enter the United States with a valid Form I-20 or DS 2019.

International Peer Advisers

You will be assigned an International Peer Adviser (IPA) soon after your I-20 or DS-2019 is issued and sent to you. Our IPAs can help you to adjust to life in the United States and to Bentley in particular. IPAs also assist with each semester's international student welcome program. 

Transfer Students

If you are an international student and wish to transfer to Bentley, you are considered a SEVIS transfer student if you meet any of the following conditions and have otherwise maintained your F-1 student status:

  • Currently in the United States and studying at a U.S. institution, and will transfer to Bentley
  • Have completed a program at a U.S. institution and will begin a new program at Bentley in the spring, summer, or fall semesters
  • Have attended a U.S. institution or completed a program in the United States and are currently outside the country, but plan on re-entering to attend Bentley
  • Have completed a program and are currently pursuing optional practical training (OPT) in the United States, but will start a new degree program at Bentley

Arrival Process and Requirements

Before Your Arrival

  1. Obtain a passport from your country of citizenship. You will not be permitted to enter the United States without a valid passport and an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp.*
  2. Once you have been admitted to Bentley and submitted your deposit, the Graduate or Undergraduate Admission Office or the Cronin Office of International Education will forward the paperwork to us so we may issue a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigration (F-1) Student, or a DS-2019. We will forward the I-20 or DS-2019 to you as soon as possible to allow you time to obtain an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor visa. Please allow three weeks to process and complete the I-20 and DS-2019 forms.
  3. Obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa from the U.S. consulate in your home country. At your appointment, you will present to the consular officer the SEVIS fee receipt (see below), all pages of your Form I-20 or DS-2019, and the original financial documents you submitted to Bentley with your application.
  4. Prior to your appointment, please pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Print and retain the paid receipt.
  5. Once you have received the F-1 or J-1 visa stamp on your passport, pick up your passport at the U.S. consulate in your home country. 
  6. Plan to arrive in the United States no more than 30 days prior to the start of your academic program. Before arriving at a U.S. airport or border facility, be sure to have your passport/F-1 or J-1 visa and your original Form I-20 or DS-2019. An immigration officer will review these documents and return them to you.

*Canadian citizens entering the United States with a valid Canadian passport do not require a visa. Please note the completion date that appears on your I-20, as you will be required to take action if your study takes you beyond that date.

Arrival at Bentley

You must report to our office upon arrival at Bentley and bring your passport and all U.S. immigration documents, such as forms I-20, DS-2019, I-797, if applicable. This check-in process is mandated by U.S. federal immigration law.

You also must attend a visa and general information session, normally scheduled a day or two after you check in with us. A complete schedule of programs will be provided to you when you check in. If you are living on campus, you will be able to move in after checking in with us on the appointed day. Our staff and international peer advisers will be available to assist you. 

Health Insurance and Vaccination Requirements

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that all students have appropriate health insurance coverage. Since most U.S. medical institutions will not accept non-U.S. insurance for payment, international students are required to purchase Bentley Student Health Insurance to comply with state law. (The insurance fee will be included on your invoice from Bentley.)

The state also requires that all students be fully immunized against various diseases. To verify compliance with state law, you must provide the Center for Health and Wellness with a completed Medical History Form and immunization certificate signed by a medical doctor before the start of classes. Additional information about health requirements is available through the center. Information will also be available in your MyBentley account.


On-Campus Housing

The Residential Center will inform you of the day on which you may move into your residence hall. Do not forget to complete all of the required paperwork indicated in your MyBentley account. Residential Center staff are available to answer any questions. Please note that first-year resident students are not allowed to register automobiles on campus during their first year of study.

Off-Campus Housing

Finding a place to live off-campus can be very challenging for any new student. We suggest that you arrive at least one week before Orientation to find a place to live. When renting a room or apartment:

  • Let landlords and real estate agents know what type of rental units you are looking for (such as studio or one-bedroom; furnished or unfurnished).
  • Do not rent a place that you have not seen.
  • Have any repairs or maintenance work agreed to in writing by the landlord before you sign a lease.
  • Be prepared to sign a lease (binding rental agreement) for one year.
  • Be prepared to pay first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit for your room or apartment before you are permitted to move in.