What is I-20 Form?

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what is i-20 form?

The I-20 form for a study visa in the United States is a Certification of Eligibility given by authorised institutions or universities in the United States to foreign students on an F-1 or M-1 visa. The I-20 form establishes that you are a bonafide currently studying in the United States and is a necessary step in obtaining your student visa. Once you obtain your visa, you can apply for a driver’s licence and a Social Security number. (pending visa or employment status), and you will be able to work on or off campus, based on the type of student visa you have in the United States.

Two Types of I-20 forms

Depending on the type of visa, international students are issued one of two types of I-20 forms:

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

What Information is Present in I-20 Form?

The two I-20 forms contain the same information, despite the fact that they are for distinct sorts of academic programmes. When you receive your I-20, the following information will be registered in the SEVIS:

  • SEVIS ID number
  • Funding sources
  • Academic program start and end dates
  • Cost of attendance at your school of choice
  • Intended program of study
  • Other personal information

I-20 Form Requirements 

You must fulfil the minimum I-20 visa requirements in order to acquire the I-20 visa application form:

  • Acceptance to a recognised institution or university—First and foremost, the college or university to which you applied must accept your application. SEVP certification is required for the institution.
  • Check that your information is accurate and up at date college or university that you intend to attend must affirm that your personal details are correct and that you have the finances to cover your expenses throughout your stay in the United States.

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I-20 Form Uses

The I-20 Form is an essential document you must keep safe as it is required throughout the student life cycle of majorly international students. 

Paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee

You are required to receive the I-20 form from a DSo at the school you plan to attend before paying the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee. The I-901 SEVIS or Student and Exchange Visitors Information System fee is mandatory for all students and must be paid before entering the United States. To pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, you (prospective F and M students) are required to provide the following. 

  • Name, address, date of birth and email address.
  • School Code as listed on the Form I-20 “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.
  • ”Country of birth and country of citizenship.
  • SEVIS Identification Number as listed on the I-20 form.

Applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa

The I-20 form list the starting date of the program which is 30 days before you are allowed to enter the United States of America. F-1, as well as an M-1 student visa, are issued up to 120 days from the commencement of your course of study starting date. Your student visa type must match the form I-20 you have (e.g., F-1 or M-1). You must have the original I-20 form at the Visa interview. The consular officer accepts a copy of the I-20 form in limited circumstances that warrant a visa is issued before receiving the original Form I-20.

Entering the United States

When entering the USA you are highly expected to sign the I-20 form on hand when you enter the country. You must remember not to pack it away in the suitcase. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer is responsible to instruct you for presenting your I-20 form at entry. 

Changing Status to F or M While in the United States

You are required to have an I-20 form when you are already in the US as a new type of non-immigrant and thus you need to apply to USCIS to change the status of F or M.

Applying for Benefits

One major benefit of having an I-20 form is that proves you are legally enrolled at a university in a program of study in the United States. Thus it is required when applying for benefits that are available to F and M students. For example, if you are eligible for issuing a driving license or a social security number you must bring your I-20 form with you.

When to Get a New Form I-20?

After receiving the acceptance for the I-20 form you may also receive a new I-20 form from your respective DSO under the following circumstances.

  • If the physical copy of the form is destroyed or misplaced.
  • When the student’s SEVIS status changes (e.g., from Initial to Active)
  • For travel endorsement.
  • When there is any substantive change in the student information, such as changes in the program of study, student’s personal information, optional practical training, etc.

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Ques. What is the use of the I-20 form?

Ans. The I-20 form is an essential document that enables international students to pay their mandatory I-901 SEVIS fees for applying for a non-immigrant visa at the nearest embassy and travelling to the United States. For almost all international students who want to pursue studies in the USA or a student visa in the USA then the I-20 student visa form is an essential document. 

Ques. What is the difference between I-20 and a visa?

Ans. The I-20 form is crucial for applying for a visa in place of an F-1 student visa itself. The I-20 form is necessary for entrance admissions provided by several educational institutions granted by the government of the USA. 

Ques. How can I get the I-20 form in the USA?

Ans. To apply for the I-20 form then first you are required to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States of America. After this SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment and you are registered for SEVIS then you are required to pay SAVIS I-901 fees and then SEVP -the approved school issues you an I-20 form. 

That was all about the I-20 form for a study visa in the United States. We encourage you to realise your study abroad dreams and ambitions in the prestigious universities of the United States of America. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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