You are considered a returning student if you have completed at least one semester of undergraduate study at Berklee College of Music or Boston Conservatory at Berklee and were then away from the institution for at least one fall or spring semester. Returning to the College or the Conservatory is easy. You do not need to reapply for admission, and you may return at any time.
Note: F-1 students who are returning to the U.S. to regain F-1 status and complete their final semester of study (12 or fewer required credits* remaining) are not eligible for curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT).
*Required credits are credits that fulfill graduation requirements of your enrolled program.
Returning Student Process
Step 1: Inform Berklee or the Conservatory of Your Intent to Return
For Berklee College of Music Students:
- Students must complete the Returning Student Intent Form if you are currently on leave of absence and wish to return.
- Visit the Returning Student Information page for more details.
For Boston Conservatory at Berklee Students:
Step 2: Request a New I-20
Download the International Student I-20 Request Packet:
Returning in summer 2023:FileI-20 Request Packet (586.36 KB)
Returning in fall 2023, spring 2024, or summer 2024:File2023-2024 I-20 Request Packet (525.74 KB)
Read the packet carefully. Follow the instructions and checklist on page 1. Complete all required pages and compile your supporting documents.
Submit your completed packet and supporting documents via the submission form:
Step 3: Review, Print, and Sign Your I-20
Once your I-20 request packet has been approved, we will email your I-20 within 10 business days to the email address that you provided on the I-20 Request Packet Submission Form. Review, print, and sign your I-20, then present it at your visa interview and at the U.S. port of entry. A digital copy on your phone or other device is not acceptable for visa or travel purposes; you must provide a hard copy.
Step 4: Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee Online
After you receive your Berklee I-20, you will use the information on your I-20 to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. This $350 USD fee is paid directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is used to cover the costs of operating the SEVIS system. Instructions for how to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee will be included in the email with your I-20.
If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa: you must pay the SEVIS fee before scheduling your visa interview appointment. We recommend that you pay it at least three days prior to your visa interview. Do not attempt to pay the fee until you receive your I-20.
For Canadian and Bermudian citizens: you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee even though you do not need to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. The I-901 SEVIS fee payment is verified at the U.S. port of entry. We recommend that you pay the I-901 SEVIS fee at least three days prior to entering the U.S. You will need to present your passport, I-20, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, and supporting financial documentation at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.
Make sure you keep a copy of your fee payment receipt.
Step 5: Check the F-1 Visa in Your Passport
You may use your current F-1 visa if:
- You have a valid F-1 visa in your passport that you previously used to enter the U.S. in F-1 status. You may use your current valid visa to enter the U.S. even if you have been outside the U.S. for more than five months, and/or if it shows a different school name or SEVIS ID number. Make sure the visa expiration date is after the date you plan to enter the U.S.
- You are a Canadian or Bermudian passport holder. Although you do not need to apply for an F-1 visa at your local U.S. embassy or consulate, you must present your I-20, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, passport, and supporting financial documentation at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.
You must apply for a new F-1 visa if:
- The F-1 visa in your passport has expired or will expire before the date you plan to enter the U.S.
- The F-1 visa in your passport is valid but you never used it to enter the U.S. in F-1 status.
- The F-1 visa in your passport was canceled or revoked (in most cases, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at the airport crossed it out or stamped it with "revoked" or "canceled").
- Read the F-1 visa application instructions on the Accepted Undergraduate Students page.
Step 6: Register for Classes
The Office of the Registrar will contact you with access to course registration after they receive your notification that you intend to return. Course registration is available only during the registration period.
View course registration information:
Travel and Check-In Information
Traveling to the U.S.
Earliest Entry Date
The earliest date you can enter the U.S. as an F-1 student is printed under the “Earliest Admission Date'' in the Program of Study section on page 1 of your I-20. Use your I-20 and F-1 visa to enter the U.S. only when you are ready to stay in Boston for the semester. Immigration regulations do not allow F-1 students to use their I-20 and F-1 visa to enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to their program start date. Do not enter the U.S. on a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or using the ESTA. You will not be permitted to study.
Items 1 and 2 listed below are required; an immigration officer may request to see items 3, 4, or 5. Keep all of the following documents in your carry-on bag:
- Printed copy of your new Berklee I-20, signed on page 1
- Passport with valid F-1 visa*
- I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
- Printouts of the financial documents you used to request your I-20
- Confirmation of your return to Berklee (printout of your class schedule, paid tuition receipt, or email correspondence)
*Canadian and Bermudian citizens: note that you are not required to apply for an F-1 visa. However, you will need to present your passport, I-20, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, and supporting financial documentation at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.
Read additional travel information on the Travel, I-20, and F-1 Visa page.
Semester Check-In Information and Deadlines
You must complete all check-in requirements by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the published check-in period. All returning international students must also complete the international student check-in requirements.
View check-in instructions:
- Questions about returning to Berklee or the Conservatory: contact email@example.com.
- Questions about your I-20, F-1 visa or F-1 status: contact firstname.lastname@example.org.