Fletcher Connect


Please contact Reiko Ohmura, International Student Advisor at 617-627-3055, 2-3 weeks prior to traveling to ensure that your paperwork is in order. In most cases, it is necessary for the International Student Advisor to sign your visa document and/or provide some other type of required travel assistance. Please read the following in its entirety in order to prepare yourself fully for travel. If you still have questions after reading through this information, feel free to call Reiko Morris at the Fletcher Office of the Registrar (617-627-3055) for more details.
If You Need To Renew OR Obtain a New Visa Stamp While Outside the US

In order to re-enter the U.S. in proper status, you must ensure that you possess both a valid visa document and a corresponding valid visa stamp. All U.S. Embassies and Consulates require in-person interviews by appointment. Plan on at least 3-4 weeks to obtain a visa stamp. We advise that you contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you intend to visit to confirm their current policy prior to leaving the U.S. and plan your travel accordingly (http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html). Please note that the information on these websites may not always be current in terms of how to apply for non-immigrant visas. A telephone call is also advisable.

If you know that you will need to visit a U.S. Consulate or Embassy for the purpose of renewing your visa stamp or obtaining a new visa classification, you will be required to complete a visa application form (Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application). There is a reciprocity fee for this form which varies according to \your country of citizenship. Here is the link to find out what the reciprocity fee for your country would be, http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_1341.html. You may also be required to complete the following two forms: Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application and Form DS-158. Contract Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Application. DS-158 is geared more for J-1 scholars. You can obtain \the above-mentioned application forms from the Department of State website, http://www.usembassy.gov. You must have a passport valid at least six months beyond your requested stay in the U.S. You will need to present a recent photograph (1-1/2 inches square (37 x 37 mm.) with your usual signature on the reverse side.

The Department of State now requires a security clearance of males and females of certain countries who are between the ages of 16 and 45. To the best of our knowledge, these countries are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Department of State always reserves the right, however, to request a security clearance of anyone. The security clearance could take from 1-4 months to process.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) makes a distinction between two categories (Immigrants or Non-immigrants). Immigrants come to the United States with the intention of residing here permanently (they would enter the U.S. as permanent residents of the U.S.). Nonimmigrants come to the United States for a temporary period and intend to return to their country at the completion of their temporary non-immigrant stay. As a general rule, USCIS presumes that each alien applying for admission to the U.S. is an intending immigrant unless the applicant can convince them otherwise. The burden of proof rests with the applicant to demonstrate eligibility for a non-immigrant visa or entry. Further, most non-immigrants must also demonstrate that they have a residence in a country other than the U.S. which they do not intend to abandon. There are exceptions for some visa categories which have dual intent (such as H1-B). A Visa Stamp is not a guarantee for entry into the United States. The bearer of a visa is subject to inspection at the port of entry by U.S. Immigration officials who have the authority to deny admission. Please have in your possession the same documentation you presented to the U.S. Embassy when entering the U.S. since the Inspector at the Port of Entry may request to see it.

Applying for a US Non-Immigrant Visa Stamp at a US Embassy

The following steps are intended to prepare you for your visit to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy when requesting a new visa stamp or extension of an existing visa stamp. Be aware that you may be asked for additional information.

  • Visa fee charge. If you are charged a fee, it is approximately the same as that which is charged by your government to a United States citizen for a similar type visa. You can check this link for reciprocity rates: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/fees-reciprocity-tables.html
  • Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months longer than your intended period of stay in the United States.
  • You will need to fill out a Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form 156. A separate application is required for each traveler, regardless of age and whether or not more than one person is included in the same passport. You may also be asked to complete a Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form 157. Department of State now requires security clearances of males and females of certain countries who are between the age of 16 and 45. Security clearances will cause delays in the visa processing time. Apply as soon as possible so that you will be able to arrive at Fletcher on time. Security clearances are taking between 1 and 4 months to complete. The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to request a security clearance of anyone, prior to issuing a visa. You will also be required to pay the SEVIS FEE of $100.00 prior to your appointment with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy. Submit Form I901 and payment. You will need to present a receipt for the payment when application is made for the visa.
  • You will need a recent photograph 1-1/2 inches square (37 X 37 mm.) with your usual signature written on the REVERSE. See details here.
  • Financial Documentation. If you are responsible for financially sponsoring yourself, you will need to present a bank statement. IF your stay in the United States is going to be financed by a parent or by family funds, you will need a letter outlining their intent to support you, as well as an official bank statement verifying that the funds are available. If your financial sponsor is The Fletcher School, you will need to send a copy of your documentation to cover the difference between the amount of the award and the amount required to cover your educational living expenses for one academic year (10 months).

Nonimmigrants ONLY

As a rule, the law presumes that each alien applying for admission to the U.S. is intending to immigrate unless the applicant can establish that he or she is a bona fide nonimmigrant under one of the nonimmigrant categories (such as F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-1, H-4, TN etc.) The burden of proof rests with the alien applicant to demonstrate eligibility for a non-immigrant visa or entry. Nonimmigrants must demonstrate that they have a residence in a foreign country that they have no intention of abandoning and that they are coming to the United States temporarily for some specific purpose.

Inspection at the U.S. Port of Entry

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The bearer of the visa is subject to inspection at the port of entry by U.S. Immigration officials who have authority to deny admission. Therefore, students should carry evidence submitted to the consular officer when the visa was obtained for presentation to immigration inspectors at the port of entry into the U.S. Do not pack this documentation in your suitcase because you will not have access to it when needed.

SEVIS Tracking System

The tracking system is referred to as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). All U.S. academic institutions are required to use SEVIS. Students have been issued a student visa document that is linked to the USCIS datatbase. While a student you must maintain certain academic conditions in order to remain in legal status with USCIS. The International Student Advisor will advise you on these requirements when you arrive at Fletcher. Please also consult the SEVIS website for more information.

Registration and Monitoring of Certain Nonimmigrants

Certain international non-immigrants are required to make specific reports to USCIS. Please check the Special Registration page for detailed information.

What is the Visa Stamp in Your Passport

The visa stamp placed in your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate shows the period during which you may enter the United States. If the date on the visa stamp expires while you are in the U.S., it need not be renewed until after you leave the country and wish to return again, provided that you maintain your legal status throughout your entire stay in the U.S. This means that you must possess a valid visa document at all times (i.e. Form DS-2019, Form IAP-66, Form, Form I-20, TN Visa Stamp, Employment Authorization Document, etc.). The visa document is only valid if you remain in full-time student status.

The I-94 Card (Arrival/Departure form)

When you enter the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa status (J-1, F-1, H-1, O-1, TN, etc.) you are issued an I-94 card at the port of entry. This card is also known as the Arrival/Departure form. It is a small white card usually stapled to your passport. The card displays the port of entry, visa type, and date of arrival. The I-94 card will usually have “D/S” written on it, which stands for Duration of Status. The I-94 card may also have a date on it. The date usually corresponds to the expiration date of your visa document. On occasion, however, the Immigration Inspector at the Port of Entry may write a date shorter than your intended stay if he/she feels that you did not provide appropriate or complete visa documentation. Always review what is written on the I-94 card each time you enter the U.S. If a date other than D/S is written on the card, immediately contact Reiko Morris, International Student Advisor, at reiko.morris@tufts.edu or 617-627-3055. When you leave the U.S., you will need to give the I-94 card to the airport official. You will be given a new card upon re-entering. Please remember to provide the International Student Advisor with a copy of the card every time you re-enter the U.S. It is not necessary to relinquish your I-94 card if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico or any other contiguous territory for a period of less than 30 days.

Traveling to Contiguous Territories

“J” & “F” visa holders can travel to contiguous territories with an expired visa stamp provided that their valid visa document (DS-2019 or I-20) has been signed by the International Student Advisor within a four-to-six month period. An expired F or J visa stamp will be considered automatically revalidated for re-entry from Canada, Mexico or other contiguous territories if you:

  • Are planning to re-enter the U.S. within a 30-day period
  • Are re-entering the U.S. to continue in the same visa type and have maintained and intend to resume your “J” or “F” visa status
  • Present a recently signed DS-2019 or a signed I-20 Form
  • Have a valid passport, valid six months beyond your intended stay in the U.S. as stated on your visa document (i.e. DS-2019 or I-20)
  • Have a valid or expired “F” or “J” visa stamp in your passport

If you are a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea or Cuba, you are not eligible to obtain a new visa stamp in a contiguous territory nor will you be able to re-enter the U.S. with an expired visa stamp. If you have been made subject to special registration, it may be risky for you to try to obtain a U.S. visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy in a contiguous territory.

We are in the midst of constant USCIS changes relating to travel. Changes in traveling and re-entering to contiguous territory are expected. It is always advisable to check with the International Student Advisor prior to traveling outside of the U.S. including travel to contiguous territory.


Canada, Mexico and Adjacent Islands. Adjacent Islands are: Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Leeward Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts and The British Virgin Islands), Martinique, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Trinidad & Tobago, Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent), as well as other British, French or Dutch Territories or Possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

Documents Needed For Travel Pertaining To Your Particular Visa Category

If you are Studying at Fletcher in F-1 Status, you will need

  • Your I-20 form recently signed by the International Student Advisor (signed within the last six months);
  • A passport valid at least 6 months beyond the validity date of your Form I-20 (as listed on #5 of I-20);

If you are needing to extend or apply for a new visa stamp in your passport at a U.S. Embassy, you must also carry proof of financial documentation listed on the I-20 form. Be prepared for delays in scheduling an in-person interview.

If you are a J-1 Exchange Student, you will need

  • A recently signed Form DS-2019 (signed within the past 6 months)
  • A passport valid at least 6 months beyond the validity date of #3 of your Form DS-2019.

If you need to extend or apply for a new J-1 visa stamp in your passport at a U.S. Embassy, you must carry proof of the financial documentation listed on your Form DS-2019. Be prepared for delays in scheduling an in-person interview.

Traveling to Canada

Applying for a Visa to Enter Canada

Canadian Consulate General
Immigration Section
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1175
Phone: 212/596-1628
Fax: 212/596-1793
Email: cngny_td@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

To obtain a visitor visa for Canada, you must apply directly to the Canadian Consulate General in New York. Applications can be made by mail or in person. Visa applications should be made one month before departure. Applications made by mail will take 2-3 weeks to process, unless subject to special processing. Applications made in person could be processed the same day, if not subject to special review. Some countries require at least 3 weeks to process. Click here to learn what you must submit to obtain your Canadian visa.

If you are mailing your application, you must use overnight mail and include a pre-paid return envelope with your application. Check the Canadian web site for hours of operation to present your application in person.


U.S. Consulates in Canada: http://www.usembassycanada.gov

If you are a national from one of the following countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, then you are not eligible to get a new visa in a contiguous territory. You should only apply for a new visa in your home country.

Travel Warning for People With Pending Immigrant Applications (Green Card)
If you have already applied to adjust your status to permanent resident, you must obtain Advance Parole (Form I-131, Application for Travel Document). Advance Parole is a formal way of requesting travel permission from USCIS prior to departing the U.S. to ensure proper re-entry. If you fail to do this, you may risk being unable to re-enter the U.S. Please discuss any foreign travel plans with an immigration attorney.
US VISIT at Port of Entry/Exit
Transportation Information for Travel in the US

No visa or passport is needed to travel within the United States. However, you may need your passport as a form of official identification.

Visit the following links for more information on transportation

Amtrak - Travel across the U.S. by train! Discounts are available for students who are holders of a Student Advantage card.

Greyhound - Travel by bus; many destinations available. Discounts are available for students who are holders of a Student Advantage card.

Peter Pan - Travel by bus, many destinations and departure times available. Terminal in Boston is located in the South Station T-stop on the Red Line. 

For Travel to New York City

Cabrera Transportation - This van service can pick you up from anywhere on campus and drop you off anywhere in the Bronx or Manhattan. Vans depart daily at 5AM, 12PM, and 4PM. Reservations must be made in advance, and prices are about $25 one-way. For more information call: Boston (617) 889-5058 or NYC (718) 456-5166

Travelpack USA – This bus service offers low fares for travel to NYC. Buses depart almost every hour from Chinatown in Boston (42B Harrison Ave.) and arrive at Chinatown in NYC (97 Bowery St.). Same day roundtrip fare is $20 and other fares range from $10-$25 each way. For more information visit their website at www.travelpackusa.com or call toll-free: 1-(888)-881-0887

Fung Wah Transport Vans – This van service offers 14 departure times daily. Vans depart from Chinatown in Boston (68 Beach St.) and arrive at Chinatown in NYC (139 Canal St.). Same day roundtrip fare is $20, one way fare is $25, and roundtrip fare is $45. For more information call: Boston (617) 338-0007 or NYC (212) 925-8889

Hampton Jitney – Travel by ferry from Thursday through Monday. Several boarding locations available in New England and Long Island, including Copley Square in Boston. One way fare is $59 and roundtrip fare is $98. For more information or reservations visit their website at www.hamptonjitney.com or call: Boston (800) 327-0732 or Long Island (631) 283-4600