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How to Apply for an I-20

What is a Form I-20?

Form I-20s are “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 be aware of the process and start collecting information/documents as soon as possible!

F-1 students transferring to Georgia Southern: Your current school will need a campus code in order to transfer your SEVIS record. See the codes below:

  • GS Statesboro campus: ATL214F00440000
  • GS Armstrong campus: ATL214F00440002

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
  • 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 in order to obtain an F-1 visa

Required documents for an I-20

F-1 visa applicants must submit the following items. All documents must be submitted through the ISAP Portal. Note: While ISAP suggests starting to collect information and documents you will need for the I-20 as soon as you apply, you will not be able to submit the I-20 Request form in the ISAP Portal unless/until you have received an official admissions offer to Georgia Southern. You must have a Georgia Southern student account (GSU username and password) to use the ISAP Portal.

Use these Financial Calculators to determine the amount of funding you need to document:

After Requesting an I-20

  • It will typically take up to 2-3 business days to prepare your I-20 once you have submitted all of the required SEVIS/visa documents upon being admitted to Georgia Southern.  
  • Once your I-20 is created, you will receive an electronic copy by email.
    • Please review all the information in the email and on your I-20 to ensure that everything is correct. Be sure to print and hand sign your I-20.
  • 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: 8/9/2023