F-1 Visa and I-20 Information for International Students

F-1 and Form I-20 Information

This page provides information on how to apply for a Lesley Form I-20. The I-20 will allow you to apply for an F-1 student visa. Visit the US Department of State, Study in the States website for general information on the Form I-20 and F-1 compliance requirements.  

Please note that not all Lesley programs are I-20 eligible. Students must be accepted into a Lesley full-time, in-person program.  

The Lesley Admissions Counselor assists you with your application and academic related questions. Contact International Student Services at iss@lesley.edu with all F-1, I-20 and overall immigration questions. 

This page provides a general overview of the I-20 application process. The final review of I-20 eligibility happens after depositing and when the Lesley International Student Advisor reviews a completed I-20 request application.  

If you are currently in the US in a status other than F-1, please check with your immigration attorney to determine if your status allows you to study, work, or receive scholarship funds. You may also contact iss@lesley.edu for assistance. Simply being in the US may not necessarily mean that you are immediately eligible for an I-20.

The purpose of F-1 status is for “study in the US.” It is not for employment. F-1 regulations are extremely strict when it pertains to “any” off-campus activity including employment, internships, practicum, and fieldwork (paid or unpaid). All will require prior approval through issuance of a new I-20. Most of the Lesley internships are unpaid, and on-campus employment opportunities are limited. Additionally, the Lesley University I-20 does not permit study outside of Lesley, including any online programs.

After a student is accepted into a Lesley I-20 eligible program and pays their enrollment deposit, they include financial documentation with their I-20 request form. The Lesley acceptance packet will contain both the I-20 request process and the international student estimate of expenses specific to the accepted program.

  • Lesley Low-Residency Programs


    Low Residency programs require minimal physical presence on campus of 5-14 days per year. Students requesting F-1 status to participate in a low residency program will only be issued a short-term I-20 for each residency period. The Lesley F-1 low residency student departs the US after each residency. F-1 low-residency students will not be eligible for any F-1 related benefits, including on-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Additionally, any low-residency program internship, practicum or thesis and dissertation research can only be done from outside of the US. If you are currently in the US, please note that Lesley does not support a Change of Status I-20 or a Transfer between F-1 schools I-20 for low-residency programs. 

  • Graduate Certificate Programs

    Not all Lesley graduate certificate programs are Lesley I-20 eligible. Graduate certificate in-person course selection fluctuates on a per semester basis. For this reason, I-20 issuance is not a guarantee with a graduate certificate acceptance. The I-20 will only be issued to eligible students who will be able to fulfill the F-1 enrollment requirement for the requested I-20 program dates (of nine credits per semester, of which only 3 credits can be online). Please note that Lesley does not authorize Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training for graduate certificate programs. Post Completion Optional Practical Training (Post OPT) will only be considered for students who are eligible based on their previous F-1 immigration history. Lesley does not issue Change of Status or Reinstatement I-20s for graduate certificate programs. Contact iss@lesley.edu with any additional questions.

  • F-1 SEVIS Transfer Between Schools

    If you are already in the US, maintaining legal F-1 status, including OPT or STEM OPT, and wish to transfer to the Lesley I-20 sponsorship, please contact iss@lesley.edu to schedule a zoom meeting to discuss your case. There are strict timelines associated with an F-1 SEVIS transfer between schools. The Lesley International Student Advisor will review your case for SEVIS Transfer eligibility. This transfer option only applies for students accepted into a Lesley full-time in-person program. It does not apply to Low Residency programs. 

  • B-1/B-2 or WB/WT

    B-1/B-2 or WB/WT tourist or business statuses do not permit study in the US, including Low Residency programs. If you are currently in the US in one of these statuses and wish to change to F-1 status, we urge you to contact iss@lesley.edu to discuss your case. There are two types of change of status I-20s. One will allow you to depart the US and apply for the F-1 visa from outside of the US. The other will allow you to submit a change of status petition to the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) while you remain in the US. The latter option, however, does not allow you to study while you wait. The change of status option only applies to students accepted into a Lesley full-time in person program. Lesley does not issue Change of Status I-20s for Low-Residency programs. 

    Once you are accepted into an I-20 eligible Lesley program, and have paid your enrollment deposit, complete this form.   

  • Exchange Student I-20s

    Lesley has issued one-semester Exchange Student I-20s with its partner schools in the past. These exchange programs are currently on hold until further notice.

  • Request a Lesley I-20

    Once you are accepted into an I-20 eligible Lesley program and have paid your enrollment deposit, complete this form:

    Complete the Immigration and Financial Declaration Form to request an I-20. This form is automatically submitted to iss@lesley.edu upon completion for the official review of your Lesley I-20 request. Detailed information on the visa application and interview process will be provided with the I-20. As previously stated, students currently in the US wishing to transfer their F-1 SEVIS status to Lesley, should schedule a zoom meeting at iss@lesley.edu before completing this form.

Contact International Student Services