Immigration I-20 Form Instructions

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The I-20 or DS-2019 is a government form that serves as the first step in obtaining an F-1 student visa. The form certifies the applicant will be a full-time student, and that the learning institution has accepted the student. In addition, the form certifies the applicant proved there is adequate financial support for him to study and live in the U.S. for the duration of his chosen course.

  • Valid foreign passport
  • Accepted academic application from a school or university
  • Documentary evidence of means of support
  • Authorization for the school to release records to U.S. immigration officials

1 Find a school with a relevant program

Find a school with a relevant program. Any program from an ESL (English as a Second Language) school, a vocational school, a graduate school or the regular courses of colleges and universities will require foreign nationals to have an approved I-20 form.

2 Download the I-20 from the school web site from the school web

Download the I-20 from the school web site or request it from the school or university by mail. The student must attend the school as specified in his visa.

3 Required in the spaces provided

Type or print in black ink the information required in the spaces provided. Do not use pencil. If a space is not large enough to answer an item, attach another sheet of paper with the answer properly labeled, including the name, date and address of the applicant, duly signed (Reference 2).

4 Make sure all questions

Make sure all questions are answered fully and accurately. Do not leave any blank spaces. Write N/A or "none" if the question is not applicable. Sign the student certification at the bottom of the page (Reference 3).

5 Make a photocopy of all documents

Make a photocopy of all documents, including the application form and any attachments submitted, for reference and follow-up purposes

6 Write

Write on the envelop the summary or title of the contents of the package. Submit the application form to the college or university’s international student services department. The university will mail the certificate of eligibility and immigration documents after the specified processing period.

Since 2008 Kaycee Whitney has been tutoring students in the areas of English and mathematics and has more recently started working as a copywriter in Florida. She is working on bachelor's degrees in elementary education and criminology from the University of Miami.