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Understanding I-20 Form for the USA

You must become familiar with the I-20 form if you intend to study abroad in the United States. The Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) has recognized schools and universities that issue the I-20, also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. It indicates that you've been admitted to a college or university in the United States and have fulfilled the conditions for a student visa.

Understanding I-20 Form for the USA
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The I-20 Form: What Is It?

The I-20 form, a certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status, is given by a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP). It certifies that the student has been admitted to a full-time program and has shown they have the financial means to remain in the country. A Form I-20 is given to students by their Designated School Official (DSO). Depending on whether the school you intend to attend is in F-1 or M-1 status, the relevant I-20 Form will be given. After the student's payment for the I-20 form, an I-20 form will be sent to each school that accepts you.

According to the I-20 visa form:

  • You satisfy all criteria for admission set out by the relevant university.

  • You will attend the institution full-time to pursue a specific study plan.

  • You've shown that you have the financial resources to pay for your studies at the relevant college or university without needing to work illegally.

The following may be required before an institution provides you with the I-20 document:

  • Before giving you a form I-20, a non-refundable payment guarantees your entrance.

  • A bank statement or a financial institution's liquidity certificate for your I-20 paperwork attesting to your capacity to pay for your education. The authorities can cross-check any of these two financial I-20 paperwork.

Who is required to fill out an I-20 form?

Students from overseas who wish to pursue higher education in the United States of America must submit an I-20 Form. It demonstrates that you are a legitimate student with the resources to support yourself in the US and have been accepted into a study program. All holders of F and M visas are required to have it.

General Guidelines


  • Without the required I-20 Form, no international student may be given a visa in the US.


  • Upon admittance into a school with a SEVP certification, you will get one of the following:

  • For Academic and Language Students- Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - is the first document you need.

  • For Vocational Students- The I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status ".


  • It is given in the US for academic courses.


  • It is given in the US for nonacademic or vocational courses.

Different Uses of I-20 Form

  • It serves as your credential and evidence in court.

  • This form requires your social security number and a US driver's license.

  • Your I-20 paperwork must be carried out if you are leaving the US to travel to another nation while still in the US.

  • Relying on a visa and reentering the US is required.

How Do You Apply for an I-20 Form?

There are 5 steps involved in the application procedure for the I-20 form.

Step 1: The selected institution or university gathers financial and identity data following the admissions procedure.

Step 2: After a student has completed the admissions process, their personal information is entered into the United States government's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database.

Step 3: SEVIS analyses the data after that and creates an I-20 form.

Step 4: Involves the DSO signing and stamping the I-20 paperwork once it has been retrieved from the government database and forwarded to the applicant.

Step 5: After receiving the I-20 form, you can contact the DSO to seek any necessary information revisions. A new I-20 form is created when the DSO has been modified through SEVIS.


Ensure that all information on your I-20 paperwork, including the program's start date, program, and sponsorship details, is accurate before applying for an F-1 or M-1 Visa because it is one of the first stages of obtaining a student visa.

Contact the university adviser immediately and ask for a correction if there is any inconsistency in the information supplied on your I-20 form.


For anyone looking to study in the US, knowing about the I-20 form is crucial. This record is an essential part of the application for a student visa and contains vital details on the student's qualifications and enrollment in a U.S. educational institution. To successfully negotiate the complexity of the U.S. immigration system and ensure a seamless transition to their academic pursuits in the United States, prospective students should be aware of the purpose, contents, and relevance of the I-20 form.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach us at Hello Study Global.

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