Important I-20 Information
The I-20 is a multi-purpose document issued by a government approved, U.S. educational institution certifying that you have been admitted to a full-time study program and that you have demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. The I-20 is officially titled the Certificate of Eligibility because with it you are “eligible” to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Your spouse or children will also each need their own I-20 to obtain F-2 dependent status, if desired.
Getting the I-20 from a U.S. school is not enough to become a legal F-1 student; you must also be allowed entry to the U.S. as an F-1, or be approved for a change of status from another type of nonimmigrant visa
How the I-20 is created
After a school completes their admissions process, the admitted students’ names and other biographic information are entered into a U.S. government database called SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).
The SEVIS database processes the information and produces a “PDF” file of the I-20 that is sent back to the school via the internet.
The school official (called the Designated School Official or DSO) prints and signs the I-20 and then delivers it to the student. If a student needs to update or change information on the I-20, the DSO makes these requests through SEVIS and the document can be easily reproduced