The I-20 is also known as a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”  It is not a student visa.  Students use the I-20 to pay their SEVIS fee, apply for a student visa, enter the United States, and apply for certain government applications like social security numbers.

The I-20 is as powerful as a student visa and maybe even more powerful.  Students can stay in the United States on an expired visa if they have a good I-20.  In this case, they just couldn’t enter the United States on an expired visa.

In order for ISS to issue an initial or transfer I-20 to a student, we need 3 things:

If the student currently has an active SEVIS record, they will need to transfer their SEVIS file to ISS.  Please look at the transfer page for more information.

If the student is currently on a different visa and would like to or needs to change their visa status, please look at the change of status page.