What is a Form I-20 and why is it important?

Form I-20, also called a “Certificate of Eligibility”, is an official document telling the U.S. government that an international student has been admitted to a school in the U.S. and is eligible for F-1 student status.

It certifies that a student is expected to meet admission requirements that they have enough money to study and live in the U.S.

Form I-20 is important because international students need it in order to obtain an F-1 student visa from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate or in order to keep their F-1 status when transferring between schools within the U.S.

Form I-20 is issued to the student by the DSO at the school where the student intends to study. To keep the Form I-20 valid, and to remain in lawful status, international students must study full-time after they enter the U.S.

International students should be aware that the Department of Homeland Security requires all beginning students to enter the United Sates 30 days or less in advance of the start date shown on the Form I-20. Students should consider this date carefully when making travel plans to the United Sates.