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How to Apply for an I-20

What is a Form I-20?

Form I-20s is a “Certificates of Eligibility” for F visa status. This form shows the U.S. government that you are considered eligible to apply for a F-1 Student visa based on your documented funds and academic record. After receiving an I-20, you may schedule an appointment for a visa interview at your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Note: Georgia Southern issues the I-20, but does not issue the visa. 

Remember! The I-20 application process takes time to complete, so you should begin as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: If it is near the deadline to submit documents for your I-20 and you are still pending admission, Graduate Assistantship or a scholarship, you should still submit all your documentation before the deadline.


Who needs an F-1 student visa?

  • Students wishing to pursue a full degree and formally graduate from Georgia Southern University including
    • Bachelor’s degrees
    • Master’s degrees
    • Doctoral degrees
    • Studying in the English Language Program (ELP)
  • F-1 visa students will need to be regularly admitted to Georgia Southern and will need to obtain a Form I-20 from the university

Required documents for an I-20

F-1 visa applicants must submit the following items. All documents must be submitted through the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Portal.

  1. Undergraduate Student Calculator 2020-2021
  2. Graduate Student Calculator 2020-2021

After Requesting an I-20

  • It will normally take 1 week to prepare your I-20 once you have been accepted and have submitted all of the SEVIS/visa documents.  
  • When your I-20 is prepared, you will receive an email with the next steps on how to receive it, as well as the next steps in the visa process. Please refer to the Study in the States website as a primary reference.
  • Please review all the information in the email to ensure that everything is correct.  
  • Schedule your shipment through to our mailing service eShipGlobal. Here are additional instructions on how to use eShipGlobal.
  • Your email message will also contain the information you need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee must be paid at least three days before your F-1 visa appointment or entry to the U.S. if a visa is not required.  When paying the fee online, print at least two receipts.  Take the receipt (Form I-797) with you to your visa appointment and keep it permanently with your I-20 forms.
  • You will need to make a visa appointment at the appropriate U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or Diplomatic Mission.  Consult the U.S. Department of State for valuable information on what you will need for your visa appointment.  Among other things, remember to take your I-20, letter of acceptance, I-901 payment receipt, and financial documentation with you.   An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that you will need to demonstrate that you intend to return to your home country after your studies are complete. 

See more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about obtaining a visa.

Last updated: 6/9/2020