By: concordrusam | May 08, 2018

Getting admission in an American University or a business school of your choice is certainly a big achievement in itself! After months-long hard work you’ve successfully applied and are found eligible for the academic course; you definitely deserve a pat on the back for staying out of all the admission’s related issues. At this phase, it would be beneficial to know how an international student can apply for a non-immigrant visa for his/her smooth arrival in the USA.

You will be issued with an ‘I-20 form’ once the USA University or school confirms your eligibility. What is the relevance of I 20 applications for international students? What is the actual definition of I-20? Why and when is it needed? What are the uses of I 20 application for international students? How does the I-20 form play a part in the student visa application process? All these and many more queries keep bothering applicants like you. Let’s explore them one by one.

What is a I 20 Application Form?

A I 20 application is essential for all foreign students who are on their way to join academic programs in the United States with or without a core academic curriculum (F1visa or M1 Visa). It allows them a “Certificate of Eligibility for Non immigrant Student Status.”

Once an applicant is accepted into a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified university or institution in the USA, he or she will receive an I-20 application from their DSO (designated school official). This form is related to his or her student visa application process; containing exclusive details like the University, course, duration, fees, living expenses and above all his or her SEVIS number.

A foreign student may need to apply with an individual I 20 form in order to bring any of his or her eligible dependents to the United States with him or her. According to the kind of student program (i.e., Academic and Language students (F1) vs. Vocational Students (M1)) mentioned on the I-20 application form, the school issues you will be granted the specific student visa by the U.S. Department of State and the status to be maintained throughout the study. 

Uses of I-20 Application for International Students

The I-20 application form is a vital document that international students should carry while going to attend their visa interview at the local consulate, they also require it when its time to:

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

  • While planning and preparing to attend an enrolled program in the USA university or school, the international students receive the I-20 form from it. And the information given in the I-20 can be used to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee which is obligatory and must be paid before the applicant enters the United States. 
  • Apply for a non immigrant student visa
  • The I-20 form lists the academic program start date, a month before which the applicant can enter the United States. Both the F-1 and M-1 student visas can be obtained up to 120 days ahead of the starting date of the study program. The kind of non immigrant student visa must match with what is mentioned on I-20 form the applicant has (e.g., F-1 or M-1) receives. The DSO sent a digital copy of the I-20 form is used by the applicant for attending the visa interview.
  • Entry into the United States
  • The international student will have to submit the original copy of his or her I-20 application with ink signature to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. Otherwise, he or she may be denied entry into the USA.
  • Change Visa status to F or M while in the USA
  • A I-20 form can help the applicant to apply to USCIS to modify his or her status to F or M when he or she is already in the United States on any other kind of non immigrant status.
  • Apply for F or M Student benefits
  • A I-20 form proves the legal enrollment of the applicant in a USA study program. Therefore, without it, he or she even can’t apply for the F and M students’ benefits. Eligibility for a social security number or driver’s license also demands submission of I 20 application by international students. Concord Rusam is itself Certified and Approved by the SEVIS School and shaping up the career of many international students every year. Reach it at or email it at . with your query today!


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