When students apply for a new F-1 visa, transfer schools, change academic levels, or change to an F-1 visa, they need to prove through a bank statement that they have enough money to afford the 1st year of studies for their program. On students’ I-20s, International Student Services reports a standard figure that we have calculated based on the average student’s stay. These numbers are based on tuition and fees, living expenses, and other costs (books, medical insurance, and personal costs). The actual number that is reported on the I-20 is not reflective of actual costs. Some students study in the summer, some are more frugal, others may live off campus, etc.
Please look at the Costs of Studying page to see estimates and explanations of program costs. Also on this page is the amount needed on your bank statement. Keep in mind that it should be greater if a student needs to bring F-2 dependents.
Please look at this document of what a good bank statement looks like. We do not need a list of transactions. We only need one final deposit number on a bank’s letterhead with a signature. The bank statement must be within 6 months of entry to the United States or within 6 months if you are transferring programs. Consular officials and/or Customs & Border Patrol will look at this bank statement if a student enters the United States on an initial or transfer I-20.
Many students cannot afford to study on their own funds. A bank statement from a family member or sponsor is perfectly normal. However, if the bank statement is not from an immediately family member, then that sponsor will also need to complete an affidavit of support in addition to the bank statement. It does not need to be notarized.