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I-20 Procedures

To study as an F student in the United States you need a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status." Do you know what it is and why it is important?

After officials notify you of acceptance to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, a designated school official (DSO) at that school will give you one of two different types of this form:

  • F Students: If you receive acceptance into an academic or language school and will attend school in F-1 status, you will receive the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students.

You will need the Form I-20 for any of the following:

  • Paying your I-901 SEVIS Fee: You will receive a Form I-20 from a DSO from every school that accepts you. Use the Form I-20 from the school you decide to attend to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
    Applying for your nonimmigrant visa at your U.S. Embassy or Consulate: Read the embassy or consulate’s website for more specific instructions. You need to apply 120 days before the date listed on your Form I-20. Make sure the type of visa you receive matches the I-20 type you have (F or M).
  • Entering the United States: Bring your Form I-20 with you when you enter the United States. You will present it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the port of entry when you arrive. You may arrive up to 30 days before the start date listed on your Form I-20.

Submit the following:

  • Copy of your passport identification page. If you are currently in the United States on F-1 or J-1 status, you must also submit a copy of your current F-1/J-1 visa or change of status approval notice, I-20/DS-2019, I-94, in addition to your passport identification page. If you are currently in the United States on a visa other than F-1, you must also submit a copy of your current visa and I-94. If dependents (spouse and/or children) will accompany you, you must include a copy of their passport identification page. If your country of citizenship is different from that of your country of legal residence, please submit a copy of the appropriate identification.
  • Financial Documentation: Bank statements or a Bank Certification Letter. The letter must include all of the following: On original bank letterhead – bank’s contact information including telephone number and address; Account number and the date account was opened; Current and average amount in account; Bank official original signature; Bank official printed name. If your financial documentation will come from a sponsor, please also have your sponsor complete the Affidavit of Support or write a letter of recommendation that includes the following: Your full name; the relationship between you and the sponsor; the amount and duration of the support; the sponsor’s original signature, full name, telephone number, and address. The Sponsor Commitment Form or sponsor letter must be submitted together with original bank certification letters.


Transfer Students

If you are transferring from another U.S. college or university, your SEVIS record must be transferred to Boston School of Modern Languages through SEVIS before BSML can issue a BSML I-20 document. Contact your current international advisor or your campus “DSO” (Designated School Official) about that process.


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Boston School of Modern Languages
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Boston, MA 02131 USA





BSML was one of the earliest developers of language teaching
in America. Our history includes working with the pioneers in Second Language Acquisition.

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