Understanding Form I 20

Achieving the dream university offer is a strenuous and time-consuming process. Students might assume that their job in completing the admission is over. But no, it is not yet done. Post the hustle and bustle of getting the desired university offer, there is something else that a student must possess to enter the university or the country. It is to have the I-20 form or the Certificate of Eligibility. 

What is I-20?

I-20 is a document given by SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) schools that prove the student’s F or M status. F is the status for students’ academic and language courses. M is the status for non-academic or vocational courses for students. It is also termed the Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant students. This I-20 card gives authorization for a student to enter the United States, mentioning that he/she has provided all the documents and financial reports. These include university fee payment, funds that the student possesses to stay in the US, and the mode of payment proof he wishes to do if he is under a loan.

When to apply for I-20?

Once the student receives the university’s confirmation status, he/she has to apply for an I-20 from the same university. According to the university guidelines, the university sends the I-20 form physically through post only after the student finishes partial or full-fee payment. Students are required to pay fees for shipping the I-20 form from the university to their hometown.

During Covid-19

Since the Corona Virus and lockdown onset, universities have started sending e-I-20 forms online through e-mail. The same soft copy should be shown when the student is asked for permission to enter the country. Students need not pay the shipping fee until they receive the request for the physical I-20 form.

Why do you need I-20?

An I-20 is needed to prove that the student is officially eligible to study a full two-year program in the US. The I-20 is also essential during the time of the Visa interview. The university mentioned in the I-20 form should be the same university that the student will study. 

What to do after possessing the I-20 form?

Once the onboarding formalities have been taken care of, the student can fly to the country. There, the officials might ask for the I-20 form along with the passport to be sure. 

The I-20 is also an identity for international students and can be used for the same in other eligibility prerequisites in the country. These might include internships, part-time facilities, application for a driving license, etc. 

PS: Having an I-20 does not guarantee a student Visa. Visa depends on the interview process, documentation check, and student performance in the same. If all the required documents are available, and the interviewer thinks that the student is good enough to go, they are offered the H-1 Visa or M-1 visa.

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