An admit letter from a prestigious university is the first step towards your US higher education dreams. However, the process of getting a US student visa stands incomplete without an I-20 F1 visa form. The I-20 form is one of the mandatory documents you need to present during the visa interview, without which your application would be rejected. 

If you are still confused about the term F1 visa I-20 form, here are some details regarding the document.

What is an I-20 Form?

The I-20 form is an important document issued by government approved universities in the US to their international students. It is a certificate of eligibility, as it certifies that you’re a legitimate student admitted to a full-time study program. Hence, you won’t be able to schedule appointments with the consulate or apply for the F1/M1 student visa without this document. Besides, once you receive the form, make sure you keep it somewhere safe, as you’ll be asked to present it every time you enter the country(US). 

Depending on the type of US student visa, the designated school official (DSO) issues two types of I-20 forms — Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status for the academic and language students, and for vocational students.

What Details are Included in the Form?

Your I-20 F1 document includes details like the name of the school, address, prospective course, etc. Apart from that, you can also find the details regarding your financials such as the tuition costs, your funding source, living expenditure etc., that’ll prove that you can cover the expenses during your stay in the US. Having said that, you can also find your employment authorization and the changes in the visa status (if any) in the document. Besides, the form also includes your basic identification details — name, DOB, country of birth, citizenship, etc — which is why it is pivotal to keep this form safe during your stay in the US as an international student. 

How to Obtain the I-20 for an F1 Visa?

To obtain form I-20, first, you must apply to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved US university. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be added to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The designated school official (DSO) will then issue an i20 student visa USA form, after which you can pay the SEVIS I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Fee and apply for a student visa. 

Some universities may also ask you to upload relevant documents to prove the source of funds, such as bank certifications, income certificates, sponsorship certification etc. In such a case, you may receive the I-20 form only after the schools accept the documents. 

Why Do You Need the I-20 Form?

To sum up, there are several instances where you may need the I-20 form, such as:

  • To apply for an F1 or M1 visa
  • To enter the United States
  • To pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • To apply for student benefits

We hope this article gave you an overview of why you need the I-20 form for your F1 visa. Besides, without an I-20 form, you will neither be able to apply for a student visa nor will you be able to continue staying in the US. Hence, make sure you keep it safe!

To learn more about GRE preparation and the various courses available you can visit the CareerLabs website. 


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