Information for International Students

Office of Global Services

405 Ell Hall
617.373.8788 (fax)

The Office of Global Services (OGS) offers a vast array of programs and services to more than 14,000 international students and scholars who represent approximately 144 nations. 

OGS also works to promote meaningful interaction and intercultural understanding among citizens of other countries and their peers from the United States, providing educational and cultural enrichment opportunities for all members of Northeastern and the community at large. OGS advances the international community of Northeastern through ensuring immigration compliance while providing transformational academic services and cultural experiences for student satisfaction and successful graduation.

OGS maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at Northeastern, as mandated by the U.S. federal government, in order to ensure compliance with regulations and procedures affecting those international students and scholars in specified nonimmigrant visa classifications. 

Affiliation with OGS begins with admission to the academic program and continues through such initiatives as OGS’s cultural festival in February and March, “OGS Carnevale,” which celebrates the cultural diversity of the entire university community. For a list of OGS services and programs, visit the OGS website.

International students must maintain full-time status at Northeastern to be in compliance with immigration and SEVIS regulations. Also, they must not engage in any type of employment unless authorized by OGS. Note that timely registration for courses is especially important so that they may remain in compliance with current federal regulations. They should consult with OGS if they have questions about their individual status.

Coming to Northeastern

Preparing to study at Northeastern University is exciting, and students have many things to do in preparation.  Here are some of the key items students should do to prepare.

  • Obtain F-1 or J-1 visa from the U.S. embassy or consulate in the home country to be eligible to study in the United States. An international student may attend Northeastern in a nonimmigrant status other than F-1 or J-1 only if U.S. immigration regulations allow for study in the United States under that specific nonimmigrant visa classification. Some international students must apply and be approved for a change of status (e.g., from B-2 to F-1) before beginning the program at Northeastern. For detailed information/instructions specific to a student's current nonimmigrant status, eligibility to participate in co-op or other forms of experiential learning, contact OGS.
  • Acquire Student Health Insurance: Since September 1989, Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c.15A, § 18) has required every full-time and part-time student enrolled in a certificate, diploma, or degree-granting program in a Massachusetts institution of higher learning to participate in a Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage. The Student Health Program defines a part-time student as a student enrolled in at least 75 percent of the full-time curriculum. (College of Professional Studies graduate students—7 credits, part-time graduate students—6 credits).
  • Complete Health report: Prior to entering Northeastern, all enrolled students must complete and submit a health report to University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS). It must be completed and returned by the stated deadline. The required record of immunity section is necessary for compliance with the Massachusetts immunization requirements for college-age students. Failure to meet the requirement will prevent future course registration. Additionally, further documentation of immunity is mandatory for students in Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Visit the UHCS webpage to access the health report online.

Planning Information

New international students are expected to arrive by the start date of the program stated on the I-20 issued by Northeastern or on the DS-2019 issued by Northeastern or by the sponsoring agency/government.

When making travel arrangements students should seek admission to the United States no more than 30 days prior to the report date on the I-20 or DS-2019, and students should not arrive after the report date on the I-20 or DS-2019.

All international students will need to attend the mandatory international student orientation program and complete the international student online immigration clearance. For further details on the OGS international student orientation and online immigration clearance process, and for other information pertinent to international students, check the OGS website

SEVIS Compliance

The OGS is required to comply with immigration regulations governing student status and must report information every semester as required by the Department of Homeland Security.

The OGS advises students on the complexities of immigration compliance and interfaces with various U.S. government agencies. The OGS maintains and updates the SEVIS system and advises students on relevant issues related to nonimmigrant student status by individual appointments or through workshops and information sessions. Contact OGS with questions relating to nonimmigrant student status or any aspect of SEVIS compliance.