The Form I-20 (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students) is a requirement for international students with an “M” or “F” class Visa.
Only institutions that are certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) can issue Form I-20. Upon accepting the offer of admission from an educational institution, the Designated School Official (DSO) will issue a Form I-20 to the student, and provides supporting information regarding the Visa status to complete the form.
An institution can acquire SEVP certification by filing Form I-17 with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (one-time process). It is important to remember that all dependents traveling to the United States with the student will need to file a Form I-20 as well.
The student must indicate to the DSO that he/she has dependents traveling with them. Once the student receives the Form I-20, they will need this form to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The Form I-20 may also be used to change their status to an F or M visa classification while attending school in the United States, or applying for benefits available to F and M students.
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