Office of Global Services

617.373.8788 (fax)

The Office of Global Services offers a vast array of programs and services to more than 18,000 international students and scholars who represent approximately 146 nations. 

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

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

OGS serves as a "home away from home" for all international students. Affiliation with OGS begins with admission to the academic program and continues throughout the student life cycle at Northeastern and beyond for alumni who apply for Optional Practical Training. OGS offers academic support services; cultural acclimation support; and events and initiatives, including the cultural festival “Carnevale”  in the spring, 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 regulations. Also, they must not engage in any type of employment unless timely authorized by OGS. Note that timely registration for courses is especially important so that students 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 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, as long as U.S. immigration regulations allow for study in the United States under that specific 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 or in a health benefit plan with comparable coverage. The Student Health Insurance Program defines a part-time student as a student enrolled in at least 75% 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. 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 program start date 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, international students should not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019, and international students should not arrive after the program start 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 Immigration Clearance E-Form. For further details on the OGS international student orientation and the immigration clearance process, and for other information pertinent to international students, check the OGS website

International Student Orientation and Cultural Events

OGS organizes a mandatory orientation for all F-1 or J-1 international students. International students will receive an overview of the F-1 or J-1 immigration compliance requirements along with information and resources to support academic success, student life, campus safety, and cultural adjustment.

F-1 or J-1 international students should plan to arrive on campus no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019, in order to attend the international student orientation and complete the mandatory Immigration Clearance E-Form. International orientation dates will be listed on the OGS website.

Throughout the year, OGS hosts cocurricular events that celebrate culture and the rich diversity of the campus. These events are encouraged as a way to gain familiarity with Northeastern in a cross-cultural context while also facilitating the formation of friendships across cultures.

U.S. citizens, who have been living abroad, are not required to complete OGS orientation sessions but are welcome to participate in cocurricular events. For more information and to register, check the schedule of events on the OGS website.

SEVIS Compliance

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.

OGS: Your Resource for SEVIS Advice and Assistance

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