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International Students

Holi celebration on campus

S​EVIS

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an online database that allows United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to track all F-1 and J-1 visa holders. Authorized international student and scholar advisors use the SEVIS database to issue I-20/DS-2019 documents and update students' reported information.

Passport

Your passport is your primary form of identification outside your home county. Your passport is issued by the government you hold citizenship with. You should maintain a valid passport at all times. Make sure to renew your passport at least six months prior to the expiration date. Your passport can be renewed within the United States at your country's consulate or embassy. Information on your country's Consulate/Embassy is available at http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

I-20/DS-2019

I-20/DS-2019 documents are issued by BSU and utilized by students and scholars when requesting a F-1/J-1 visa. Your I-20/DS-2019 form expires on the date you complete your studies/program. This cannot be extended once you have graduated/completed your program. F-1 students who have applied and been approved for Optional Practical Training (OPT) will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will show the dates of validity. F-1 students are permitted to remain in the U.S. for 60 days after completing their program of study. J-1 students/scholars can remain in the U.S. for 30 days after completing their program of study.

If you lose your I-20/DS-2019, or it is stolen or damaged, you must inform ISSS immediately and request a replacement by submitting a completed Request for New I-20/DS2-019 form.

I-901

When you are admitted to BSU and you send in all required documents, BSU will issue a form  I-20 (Certificate of eligibility for F-1 non-immigran​t students) or DS-2019 (Certificate of eligibility for J-1 non-immigrant students/scholars) and send it to you. You should note the SEVIS number on the top of the form. This is your SEVIS ID number.

Students/scholars should visit www.fmjfee.com and pay the SEVIS fee (I-901) prior to making an appointment at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in their home country. Once you have paid the fee you should print three copies of the I-901 receipt. Keep one for your records, bring one to your visa interview, and bring one to international student orientation or when you arrive at BSU. ISSS staff will collect it and add it to your student file.​​

Visa

Information on visa applications and procedures is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html If you will be attending BSU as a degree seeking student and have been issued an I-20 document you will need to apply for a F-1 student visa. If you will be attending BSU as a non-degree student/scholar and have been issued a DS-2019 document you will need to apply for a J-1 exchange visitor visa.

A Visa is a stamp or sticker placed in your passport at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S. A visa is only a permit to enter the United States. Once you are in the U.S. your I-20 or DS-2019 becomes the relevant document that helps you to maintain legal immigration status. You must make sure that your visa is valid for your entry or re-entry to the U.S. An expired visa must be renewed at a U.S. consulate/embassy outside of the U.S. prior to re-entry. Information on visa applications, related fees, and U.S. embassies is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html​.

 
Continuing students who plan to travel outside the U.S. and need to renew their F-1 visa must do the following: 
  •    Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in their home country for appointments, required documents and processing times.
  •     Request ISSS for a travel signature on page 2 of their I-20.
  •     Pay applicable fees.
  •     Make inquiries and follow through regarding visas and documents if traveling to other countries.

I-94

The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record that is created electronically when you enter the U.S. Each traveler will receive an admission stamp in their passport documenting the date of admission, class of admission and admitted until date. An annotation of D/S means “Duration of Study”. It covers the period of time for the completion of your course of study plus any periods of authorized practical training, and a 60 day grace period to prepare for your departure from the United States. J-1 students/scholars will have a 30 day grace period to prepare to depart from the U.S. upon completion of their program. The electronic arrival/departure record can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home​​.

If you will be entering the U.S. via a land border with Canada or Mexico you will need to apply for your I-94 before you travel. Your I-94 for a land border crossing can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/apply-document​. You will need to print off the new I-94 receipt and bring it with you when you cross the land border.

Bear ID and E-mail

You should have already received your "Bear ID". This is an 8-digit number (usually starting with '00') and will be your student number at Bridgewater State University. Please write down this number in a safe place - you will need it constantly during your time here at BSU.

Once you have been formally accepted and admitted to BSU (either as an exchange student or a full degree-seeking student), BSU Information Technology (IT) will automatically generate your BSU user ID and BSU email.  Be on the lookout for an email directly from them with this information, it will come from BSUAccounts@bridgew.edu.  Follow all instructions in this email.   Your BSU email will be your primary form of communication at the university, and should be checked regularly. Many departments and professors will only communicate with you via this e-mail address.

In order to access your email account you will need to visit the Bridgewater State University homepage. Under the "Quicklinks" tab you will find the "My BSU" section. From here you can access your email. Your e-mail address will be in the format of the first letter of your first (given) name, plus your last (family) name, plus @student.bridgew.edu.

The part in front of the "@" will be your username for logging in to various applications and BSU computers, and will use the same password as your e-mail. For example if your name is John Doe, your email address will most likely be 'jdoe@student.bridgew.edu' and your username is 'jdoe'. (There may be a number between the 'j' and the 'doe').

Housing

Non-partnership students may choose to live on campus or off campus, partnership students are required to live on campus. You are responsible for ensuring that all arrangements for housing have been made prior to arrival and for all arrangements, payments, etc.  Housing on the BSU campus may differ from what you are used to in your home country/home campus.  Many of the Residence Halls house male, female and transgendered students; they are allowed to visit each other on floors and often times in their rooms.  BSU Residence Life & Housing also allows residents to have overnight guests.  This may be a different policy than you are used to, but is acceptable in US culture.

Many of the facilities are shared - bathrooms may be in a suite or on the floor and you will likely share them with suitemates and floormates; kitchen spaces are also another shared space in the Residence Halls.   Within the US students are also permitted to have medically approved animals in their residence halls and rooms; if you have any allergies or concerns about living with small animals (such as: dogs, cats, ferrets, lizards, etc.) then please let Residence Life & Housing know immediately (on your MyHousing application as well).  ISSS will discuss ways to successfully navigate living with others during orientation and throughout your time at BSU.

For information on applying to live on campus please contact Residence Life and Housing at ResLife@bridgew.edu. Be aware of application and deposit deadlines so that you are able to secure on-campus housing in a timely manner. For information on off-campus housing please contact Shelly Keniston at OffCampus@bridgew.edu.

Linens

All resident students are required to bring their own bed linen and towels. We recommend that you bring at least top and bottom bed sheets (US size: "Twin X-Long" (39 x 80 inches or 99 x 203 cm)) and a towel. We will take you on a shopping trip during the Arrival/Orientation week in order to purchase necessities, but having at least bed sheets and a bath towel will make your first few nights more comfortable.

If you prefer, you may purchase linens online and ship them to campus. Please utilize the following information when completing the shipping information:

 
(Your Name)
Attn: Mail Services
45 School St.
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA 02325
U.S.A.

 

Once your package arrives Mail Services will email you through your BSU email. You will have 7 days to pick up your package or respond to Mail Services and request more time.​ Please note that Mail Services is ONLY open Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm, so plan accordingly when shipping things to yourself in advance.

 

Packing

There are several suggested types of items you should plan on packing to bring with you while in Bridgewater / the United States. Please note that the United States may run on a different electrical current so you should bring the correct adapter (if needed) for your electrics (laptop, phone, etc.). It can get very cold during winter months. As such you should plan on packing winter coats, sweaters, and thermal under clothes to keep you warm, particularly if you’ve never experienced winter weather. If you want to purchase while in the States, please plan and budget accordingly. Please plan on packing basic personal items/toiletries such as shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush, feminine products, etc.

 

Registering for Classes

All new students will be able to register for classes after they have been advised and cleared for registration. Graduate students should meet with their academic advisor to develop a schedule of courses prior to registering. Undergraduate first-year students will be advised through the Academic Achievement Center and should look for advising emails coming from, academicachievement@bridgew.edu Undergraduate transfer students will receive a registration PIN after completing the Transfer Advising Workshop. Exchange students must submit a signed Exchange Advising Agreement prior to course registration. ISSS staff will assist exchange students in course registration.

For more information on registering for classes please visit, https://www.bridgew.edu/office/registrar/how-to-register 

 

Making Payments

Students can pay their bill directly though their eBill. Payment plans are available and for more information please visit, https://www.bridgew.edu/office/studentaccounts/payment-plan

Bridgewater State University is pleased to partner with Western Union Business Solutions for international wire payments.

Benefits include:

  • Payments in home currency or in the currency of your choice direct from your mobile, tablet or desktop device
  • Pay online using local payment options or by bank transfer
  • Exchange rate is competitive when compared to most banks' retail rates
  • There are NO transaction charges from BSU for foreign currency
  • Your payment will include reference information to ensure that it reaches your student account quickly
  • Track your payment with status updates by text or email

How to make a payment:

  • Log into eBill
  • Choose Bank Wires for domestic or international payments
  • Select where you're paying from and who is paying
  • Obtain payment instructions
  • Complete your student payment online or in-person with your financial institution

If you have any questions about your statement or charges, please contact Student Accounts at sao@bridgew.edu 

Bridgewater State University does not accept overpayment on student accounts. Please transfer only the amount due on your student account to avoid payment delays.

Book and send your flight information

We will provide airport pick-up at Boston Logan, Terminal E, before classes begin each semester. Stay tuned for email communications regarding arrival date, airport pick up services and the date which students are permitted to move into the residence halls. Please plan your flights so you arrive at Boston Logan Airport​ on the date that ISSS will provide airport pick-up. Email your flight information to Jennifer Currie who will coordinate the airport pick up.

 

Get to campus

If you will not be utilizing the ISSS provided airport pick up or if you miss the assigned pick up times you will be responsible for making your own travel arrangements to Bridgewater. You have the following options available to you:

The best option is the MBTA commuter train, which can be boarded at South Station in Boston. To get to South Station you can get the Silver Line route SL1 (Logan Airport - South Station via Waterfront) bus rapid transit service, available at Logan Airport, is your best direct connection from the Airport to South Station. With drop off and pick up in front of Logan terminals, it is the most convenient option. There are no shuttle transfers and plenty of room to store your baggage.

    The Silver Line SL1 runs from approximately 5:30AM to 12:30AM every day of the week. When you arrive at South Station you can board an outbound commuter train to Bridgewater (Middleborough/Lakeville line). Travel time is 45 minutes from South Station to Bridgewater and a ticket costs approximately $10.00 one way.

    ​​Taxis are also available from Logan Airport to Bridgewater State University. However, they are more expensive than the train. Please visit http://www.boston-cabs.com/ for more information.

Please try to schedule your arrival in Boston during regular business hours (M-F 9am-5pm) so that our Residence Life staff will be on campus to greet you

 

Proof of immunization

BSU requires certain health information and immunization records from all incoming students. Once you are registered and have your BSU email and password please use that information to log in to the BSU Patient Portal and complete the steps listed on the Home screen. https://bridgew.medicatconnect.com.  You cannot upload documents until after you are registered for classes, and you have 30 days to complete this.  While you are in your home country it is helpful to gather all these documents prior to arrival in the US – documents must be in English.  You are required to show proof of Tdap, MMR, HepB, Varicella, Meningococcal A (or waiver) TB screening, COVID vaccine and COVID attestation.  Any questions can be directed to wellnesscenter@bridgew.edu.  

International Orientation Leaders are current BSU students who commit their time and energy to helping new international students adjust and transition to life in the United States and at BSU. They help ISSS with organizing and conducting International Student Orientation and other events, help new international students settle into the residence halls, obtain a Connect Card, etc., and acquire important leadership skills in the process.

 

Meet Current Orientation Leaders

ISSS and Bridgewater State University provide you with information pertaining to banking, cellphones, apps, etc. We do not endorse or encourage​ one particular service or resource over any other.

Please visit the links below for more information:

BANKING

TRANSPORTATION

FOOD

CELL PHONES

SOCIAL MEDIA

HELPFUL APPS

DRIVER'S LICENSE

WEATHER

BOOKS

RENTERS INSURANCE

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Always consult with ISSS before starting any employment. It is extremely important to keep in mind that it is your responsibility to engage only in employment authorized as permissible for F-1/J-1 students. F-1/J-1 students are non-immigrants. Therefore, they are not eligible for Financial Aid. International students are permitted to work on campus. Employment is not guaranteed. Students are hired based on merit and experience. Students may work part-time (up to 20 hours) during the semester and full-time (20+ hours) during summer and winter vacations. You must be enrolled full time and making academic progress in order to be eligible to work. Please refer to the employment categories listed in this guide for details, requirements, and limitations. 

Please visit the links below for more information:

ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

OFF-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

INCOME TAX

INFORMATION FOR SUPERVISORS

International students must always submit completed forms when making requests for documents.  These forms are available here for easy access.  Please read each form and make sure that all fields have been completed before you submit them to ISSS.  Remember that submitting incomplete forms is likely to result in delays in processing your request.
 
If you have any questions regarding any of the forms included in this page, please don't hesitate to contact the ISSS office either via email at isss@bridgew.edu or via phone at 508.531.2730.

General

1. Health and Immunizations​​​
2. Letter Request
3. Travel Signature Request

SEVIS

1. Request for New I-20/DS-2019​
2. SEVIS Record Transfer Out Request​
3. Change of Status​
4. Reinstatement Information
5. Economic Hardship Information

Affidavits

1. F-2 Dependent Affidavit​​ 
2. F-1 Graduate Affidavit
3. F-1 Undergraduate Affidavit
3. J-1 Exchange Student Affidavit
 

Employment

1. Verification of On-Campus Employment- Application for Social Security Number​
2. Verification of On-Campus Employment (SODEXO)- Application for Social Security Number
3. Verification of On-Campus Employment (eFollet) - Application for Social Security Number​
4. On-Campus Employment Authorization

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

1. CPT vs. OPT
2. CPT Faculty Recommendation
3. CPT Sample Employment Letter

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

1. OPT Application Packet Checklist
2. OPT Request
3. OPT Update Form

OPT Extension

1. OPT Extension Application Checklist
2. Request for OPT Extension

International Student Orientation

Contact Us

International Student and Scholar Services

Dr. Edward Minnock Institute for Global Engagement
25 Park Terrace
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA 02325
United States