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Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS)

Bentley University offers a warm and inviting community for international students and scholars to learn, engage, and grow personally and professionally.

The Center for International Students & Scholars (CISS) serves as a resource for our international community through immigration advising, cross-cultural programming, and resource referral.

CISS Hybrid Operations

The CISS office is operating in a hybrid format.  We are located on the top floor of the Student Center, Suite 310. We are accepting drop-ins visits during our in-person advising hours during the academic year. Please see "Contact Us" section below for more details about our in-person and virtual advising schedule. You may also contact us by phone, email, or via Zoom.

In-Person Study Requirements

Do I need to take a full course load?  

Yes, new and returning international undergraduate students must remain enrolled in a full course load to maintain F-1 status. This means 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students.  Exceptions to this rule include students with pre-authorized reduced course loads and special student relief, and students in their final semester completing all remaining degree requirements. If you have remaining questions about your ability to take a full time course load, please contact the CISS at

Can I take online or hybrid classes? - Undergraduate Students

While undergraduate courses briefly shifted to an online format due to COVID-19, undergraduate courses are now in-person on campus. Accordingly, all international undergraduate students will be expected to attend in-person classes on Bentley's campus.

Can I take online or hybrid classes? - Graduate Students

While Bentley graduate classes are offered in a hybrid format (with in-person and online class sessions), new and returning international graduate students will be expected to attend the majority of their classes in-person to maintain F-1 status. This means that you can take your full course load fully in-person each semester OR, if you choose to do so, only one of your courses (3 credits) towards your full-time requirement may be taken fully online. We recommend that students in hybrid courses with optional in-person class sessions track their in-person attendance using an Attendance Verification Form.

Can I study remotely from my home country?  

No, you cannot study fully remotely from  your home country or the U.S. (e.g., from another state) and maintain F-1 status. While remote study was temporarily allowed for specific groups of students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bentley University has returned to normal operations and students are therefore expected to study on campus. If you are a new graduate student unable to travel to the U.S. due to personal, visa, or travel-related difficulties, please contact Graduate Admissions ( for more information on deferring your enrollment. Continuing students who are no longer to take classes in-person from the U.S. should review the process to take a temporary Leave of Absence from Bentley.  

Visa, Travel, and Vaccination Requirements for New & Returning Students

Consulate & Embassy Closures

Many U.S. consular posts suspended routine visa processing temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many consulates and embassies have since re-opened and resumed visa processing. Unfortunately, the CISS does not have detailed information about when individual U.S. embassies and consular posts will resume processing student visas. CISS will continue to issue and send I-20s to admitted students so that you are prepared to initiate your visa application as soon as the consular posts reopen. You should check your embassy or consulate’s website frequently for appointment availability. You can find more information about obtaining a visa to study in the U.S. on the Incoming Students section of our website.

What are the current quarantine, testing, and vaccination requirements? 

CDC's Amended Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic ceased to be in effect as of 12:01a.m. EDT on May 12, 2023. This means that noncitizen nonimmigrant air passengers no longer need to show proof of being fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to board a flight to the U.S. For more information, see the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

  1. Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers

The CISS continues to advise that students and scholars continue to travel cautiously. Remember to carry: 

  1. Valid unexpired F-1/J-1 visa in passport
  2. Passport (valid at least 6 months from date of re-entry)
  3. Most recent I-20/DS-2019 with travel signature signed within last 12 months for students (6 months for OPT/STEM OPT)
  4. OPT Applicants: EAD Card (or I-797 Receipt or Approval Notice

Bentley University Requirements: You can find Bentley’s updated information on testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements on the Back to Bentley website. Bentley University ended the university-wide COVID-19 vaccine and booster mandate on March 30th, 2023. New students will no longer be required to submit proof of vaccination. 

Travel Signatures & I-20 Reprint Requests

In order to re-enter the U.S., you must have a travel signature on page 2 of your form I-20 from the past 12 months. If you are on OPT, you must have a signature from the past 6 months. You can come to our office with your I-20 to request a travel signature, OR you can request for a new I-20 to be sent to you via email for you to PRINT and SIGN.

In-person travel signatures: Please come to the CISS office, Student Center Suite 310, Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm. During the summer months (May 22nd - August 11th), our office is open Monday - Thursday, 8:00am - 5:30pm. 

Requesting an I-20 with a travel signature via email: If you are unable to come to campus, the CISS can issue you a new I-20 for you to print, sign, and use for travel. To obtain an updated I-20 or travel signature, you can request a new I-20 on our website. Once it is sent to you via email, you should print and sign this I-20.

I Forgot to Get My I-20 Signed:

The CISS recommends that you come to our office for a signature or request a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature from our website at least 1-2 weeks prior to travel, keeping in mind office closures during major holiday breaks. We do not issue travel signatures during Bentley University administrative office closures.

If your travel plans do not allow enough time for you to receive a new document from the CISS, then you can choose to (a) change your anticipated return date or (b) return to the U.S. without a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.

If you choose to re-enter without a signature, a Customs and Border Protection officer at the Port of Entry (airport or land border) will issue you an I-515A form. You may also proactively request this form. This form allows you temporary admission to the U.S. for 30 days, during which time you must send updated documentation to the government to extend your status. On very rare occasions, you may be denied entry to the U.S. While this is not common, it is important that you understand this risk.

Immigration-Related Emergencies:

There are rare circumstances in which you may need immediate immigration assistance. These circumstances may include loss of your passport or other important visa documents, a visit by a government official at home or on campus, detainment at a U.S. port of entry, or threat of deportation or removal. Please note that forgetting to have your I-20 signed for travel is not considered an immigration emergency. If you are detained, you should refrain from signing any documents and request to call Bentley University. Bentley’s campus police is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, year-round, and will contact a CISS advisor if any immigration-related emergencies are reported.

Michael A. Callahan Police Station
Emergency Line: 781.891.3131
Business Phone: 781.891.2201

Open Advising Information

Spring 2024 Advising Schedule (begins January 22nd)


IN-PERSON OPEN ADVISING (Student Center 310)

           Mondays: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (EST)

           Wednesdays: 1:00pm - 3:00pm (EST)


           Fridays: 10:00am - 12:00pm (EST)

During open advising hours, an advisor will be on duty to answer your questions regarding your immigration status, travel, documents, and more! You do not need an appointment.  If you are unable to attend virtual advising hours or have a complex or personal situation that may not be able to be answered in a 10-15 minute open advising session with an advisor, please reach out to to request a personal appointment. 


Each Fall, Bentley celebrates the rich cultural fabric of our University through a week-long celebration. CultureFest includes activities, food, music and presentations all around campus.

Learn More


Graduate international students educate the Bentley community about their home country, culture, and traditions through the WorldView program. The goal is to increase awareness and intercultural sensitivity for everyone by encouraging dialogue and global citizenship.

Learn More


Degree Seeking International Students


Alumni on Post-Completion Work Authorization


Semester or Year-Long Exchange Students

CISS Staff

Contact Us

CISS Semester 2023-2024 Hours (August 14 - May 17): Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST)

Phone: 781-891-2829 | Fax: 781-891-2845 | Email:

Office Location: Student Center, Suite 310*

*Please see above "Open Advising" schedule