Everything About I-20 Form for International Students

Form I-20 is a mandatory document issued by the U.S. government-approved educational institution certifying that an international student has been admitted.

USA universities are well-known for their high standard of academic excellence, top-notch faculty members, good placement opportunities, and excellent ambiance for innovation and development. Moreover, in recent years, the number of Indian students going to the US for higher education has witnessed a continuous billow. As per the report, there has been a rise of 5.37% in Indian students traveling to the US to traverse educational opportunities. But all international students who want to move to the USA for higher education on a US visa need the I-20 form issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). It acts as a testimonial to prove that you are a legitimate student enrolled at an accredited college in the USA.

Hence, the in-depth understanding of Form I-20 assists students in experiencing a smooth onboarding process and visa approval procedures.  But while applying for Form I-20, there is a plethora that needs to get submitted. Due to lack of knowledge, many students end up proffering incomplete documents that lead to rejection. So in this article, we will cover detailed information about the I-20 Form, eligibility criteria, I-20 visa requirements, and Form I-20 Uses for your perusal. 

What is the I-20 Form

The I-20 Form for the US student visa is a form that international students can fill out when they want to enter the United States for higher education. It is related to the F-1 student visa. It mirrors your legitimacy to study in the USA and accountability to apply for other benefits. There are two kinds of I-20 structures given to international students, dependent on the sort of visa:

  • For Academic and Language Students - Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1)  
  • For Vocational Students - Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) 

Eligibility Criteria for I-20 Form

So the I-20 Form is exclusively implied for international students who want to study in the USA. All in all, it is beneficial for M1 and F1 visa understudies specifically. To get qualified for Form I-20, one should clear the accompanying reference standards.

  • You ought to have the genuine report to demonstrate you have conceded to a US SEVP-endorsed instructive organization. 
  • You need to qualify for the instructive prerequisite rules of the program that you will apply to. 
  • Since the US is an English-speaking country, one ought to have great English speaking and writing skills.
  • Finally, before applying for the F-1 or M-1 student visa, you are expected to pay off the I-901 SEVIS fee. After that, the DSO official of the respective university will send the I-20 form.

I-20 visa requirements

The following documents need to be submitted to fetch an I-20 visa:

  •  A valid passport
  • The non-immigrant visa application, Form DS-160
  • The SEVIS application fee payment receipt
  • Copy of appointment letter

Sometimes, students are often required to submit a financial affidavit that reflects a clear picture of the applicant’s financial status and credibility. Some of these documents are as follows:

  • Confirmation that you foresee a return to your country
  • Original proof of financial reserve
  • Verification of one’s relationship to the sponsor
  • Bank Statement
  • Loan Sanction Letters
  • Business sponsors (if any)

Form I-20 Uses

Some prominent uses of form I-20 are as follows:

  • You can use Form I-20 to apply for a non-immigrant visa in the future as it contains other important information and your stay in the USA.
  • It can be used as an entry pass for the USA. You will be asked to display Form I-20 in the presence of a U.S. officer and sign the document. 
  • With the help of this form, you can apply for other amenities offered by the USA, like a driver’s license and opening a U.S. bank account.

Structure of the I-20 form

 The I-20 form consists of two pages, and each page needs to be filled in along with documents. Here is the form sample structure for your reference- 

Page 1

1.     The SEVIS ID

2.     The student’s detailed information includes name, country of birth and citizenship, and date of birth.

3.     Class of admissions

4.     School Information

5.     Information about the academic course 

6.     Financial information for students

7.     School attestation by the DSO

8.     Student attestation sheet

 Page 2

1.     Employment authorization

2.     Information on change of status

3.     Event history in table format

4.     Other authorizations

5.     Travel initials 

Cost of Form I-20

This is one of the prime concerns of every student who is willing to study in the USA. Usually, the fee is $200 for F students and $180 for J students. It is the one-type payment for "Initial" I-20 or "Start new program" DS-2019. For Canadians, it is mandatory to pay the fees before taking entry into the U.S. Port of section. Failing to pay the fees on time will lead to immediate dismissal. 


So you are just a step away from studying at the best colleges in the USA. Follow all the steps diligently to ensure hassle-free approval of your VISA. At Pax Credit, we offer a pre-arrival US bank account and a credit card without a credit score. Happy onboarding!

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