What is an I-20 Form? What is its Utility in the US Student Visa?

    Updated on: 12 Sep 2023 8 min read


    International students who want to study in universities in the US will need an I-20 form for their student visas. It is a very important document, and students must know all the details related to the issuance, requirements, additional documentation, and all other relevant information. The I-20 is issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to the universities that are recognised in the US. The I-20 form helps authorities ascertain that the individual seeking the student visa is admitted to a recognised university in the US and is a legitimate student.

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    Cost of the I-20 Form

    Students have to pay for the SEVIS fee, and it costs $200. It is a one-time fee and applicable to students seeking F1 or M1 student visas. Students can apply for it only after the SEVIS fee is paid, for which one needs the I-20 Form. 

    Redesigned I-20 Form

    The USCIS has redesigned the new form for students seeking F1 and M1 visas. The new form doesn’t have the barcode which used to be there in the earlier forms. Students can also ask for a new I-20 form in the following case:

    • If the original copy is destroyed, lost or stolen. 
    • For travel related needs. 
    • If the SEVIS status has changed from initial to active.
    • If the student has enrolled in a new program or switched the field of study. 

    For the issuance of the new I-20 Form, the students have to talk to the DSO. The students must note that the DSO can only reprint the I-20 Form when the status is active or initial. 

    Getting admission to a top university is a great opportunity for students to change the course of their lives. The US is certainly a top location for students seeking world-class education and great employment opportunities. The I-20 Form is a crucial document, and students must take all the precautions to fill the university application form carefully as any mistake will delay the entire admission process or even the admissibility to the university. So, one must refer to the sample I-20 Form before proceeding with entering the details in the university application form.

Written by Aishwarya Bhatt

A bookworm who transforms into a web-usability evangelist, when her favorite blend of coffee is flowing in her veins. Happiest in a bookstore and when she is painting with words on paper!

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Reviewed by Aman Jain

Aman Jain graduated from IIT Kanpur, and currently functions as the CMO at GyanDhan. He is deeply passionate about creating equality in higher education and has directly interacted with 2 Lakh students in his 8-year-long journey.

Specializes in:
Education loan , Study Abroad Admissions

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