What is Form I-20? Everything about Form I-20 to study in the USA

Overseas students  require the Form I-20 to study in the USA.  Colleges certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) issue this. It demonstrates that you are a legitimate student enrolled in an accredited college. An I-20 form will not only allow you to utilise services like applying for your nonimmigrant visa in your US but also pay your I-901 SEVIS fee.

Form I-20 to study in the USA

What is an I-20 Form?

The Form I-20 works as a Certificate of Eligibility for international students on an F-1 or M-1 student visa. SEVIS approved colleges issue the document to students. Students who enroll in a full-time programme with adequate financial resources receive this. It contains the SEVIS ID, the programme of study, school information, and financial details

The following details also get documented in the SEVIS when you receive your Form I-20 to study in the USA:

  • SEVIS ID number
  • Intended programme of study
  • Academic programme dates
  • Tuition fee
  • Funding sources
  • Other personal information

Who needs an Form I-20 to study in the USA?

It is a multi-purpose document for international students who plan to study in the USA. Non-immigrants who have never attended a school or a university in the United States will require the form. People who are planning to change their current visa status to an F-1 visa will also need the form.

What are the different benefits of Form I-20?

After receiving the form, a student can apply for an I-20 student visa in the USA. In addition to getting a visa, the I-20 will be beneficial in the following ways given below:

  1. You can apply for a social security number and a driving license.
  2. When visiting a country outside the US
  3. When re-entering the USA or reapplying for a visa, I-20 is necessary.

Requirements to receive the document

  1. Meet all necessary admission requirements of the university you are applying to.
  2. Non-refundable deposit payment to confirm the admission.
  3. Proof of financial capability to fund the education 

The application process for Form I-20 to study in the USA

Receiving the document is an easy process. Your information then gets updated on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS then process the data and generate an I-20 form. The form is signed and stamped by the DSO and sent to the student. However, in case of any changes required by the student, a new form can also get generated.
Settling the I -1901 SEVIS fee is the next step. All international students must pay this fee before entering the United States. For all F & M visa applicants, the I-901 SEVIS fee is $350.

What is the validity of Form I-20 to study in the USA?

The validity of your form depends on the duration of your programme of study. The university also estimates the time that you might need to fulfil all the degree requirements. However, if you are unable to finish your programme on the said date, you can also request an extension. You can do this from the university’s international office and you should do this one month before the completion date

The role of the Grace Period

A grace period of 60 days is provided to the students upon the completion of studies for the conditions mentioned below:

  • Leave the United States
  • Enrol on a new program of study
  • Apply for a change of visa status

The DHS regulations provide a 60-Day Grace Period to only those F-1 students who finish a program of study. The calculation starts from the date of completion. For students with Optional Practical Training, it begins when the OPT expires. 

Applying for the Form I-20 to study in the USA is one of the earliest stages to get a student visa. Moreover, ensuring that all details such as your course start date, program and financial information are correct on the I-20 document before applying for your F-1 or M-1 Visa will also help save time and effort. 

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