A number of official documents mandated by federal regulations are required for you to enter the United States and pursue your studies in a U.S. university.Your passport, I-20, and nonimmigrant visa are three of the most critical. You must make sure that these documents are accurate to your individual circumstances and remain valid throughout your stay in the United States.


A valid passport is a key immigration document. It should be valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond your period of stay in the U.S. You must have a valid passport to apply for an I-20 and a visa. If your name shown on your passport has changed for any reason, carry official name-change documentation with your passport. (For example, bring an original marriage certificate documenting a name change.)

Certificate of Eligibility: The DS-2019

The DS-2019 indicates that an international applicant has been accepted as a full-time, non-degree exchange student, with the required proficiency in the English language (documented by TOEFL test scores or their equivalent), with sufficient financial support (documented in the DCF form) to study at a U.S. academic institution.

Once you have been accepted to study at Northeastern University, the ISSI initiates the process of issuing your DS-2019. You must have this form before you can obtain your J-1 exchange visitor visa to attend a school in the U.S. It is also required in order to maintain lawful student status when transferring or changing schools within the U.S.

The Visa Application Process

To obtain a nonimmigrant student visa, you will apply at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country. As part of the application process, an interview is required. The waiting time for an interview appointment can vary so submitting your visa application early is strongly recommended. Visit  the U.S. Department of State website for a list of wait times for U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. Note: An ink-free digital fingerprint will be taken as part of the application process.

The following documents are required as part of your visa application:

  • DS-2019 SEVIS-generated form provided to you by Northeastern University
  • Nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160.
  • MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee
  • SEVIS fee receipt

Your passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least 6-months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.

  • Financial evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses during your studies.
  • One 2”x 2” color photograph

You should also be prepared to provide the following if needed:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
  • Scores from standardized tests (e.g. TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.)

GEO works with the International Student and Scholar Institute to assist with following visa portions of your acceptance to NU:

  • Obtaining your J-1 visa from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. An interview is required so request an appointment early. More information on the application process is available in this section of the site.
  • Understanding medical insurance requirements and health insurance coverage if you are not already covered by a policy that meets Massachusetts state requirements.
  • Determine how much money you will need for tuition, fees, and living costs. Plan how you will access funds while you are in Boston.

(Additionally GEO will work with you on…)

  • Make sure you received the NU Health Report Form in your admissions packet. Have your doctor sign the form and make sure you have received all of the immunizations listed on the form. If you have any questions, contact the University Health & Counseling Services (UHCS)
  • Make your travel arrangement with your program start date in mind. Then let us know your arrival plans.