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What is a Form I-20 and why do I need one?

A Form I-20 is a government form which certifies that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status. It proves to the U.S. government that you have met admissions requirements and have been accepted for a full course of study. It is the official document that certifies that you have proved to the Foreign Student Advisor/ DSO that you have enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or will suffer financial hardship.

You need Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa or status, or to keep lawful F-1 status when transferring schools within the U.S. Transfer students do not have to obtain our I-20 before coming to Kingsborough Community College unless traveling outside the U.S. before classes begin. Please see the Foreign Student Advisor no later than 15 days after the 1-st day of class.


Who needs to obtain the INS Form I-20?

No, some international students do not need I-20's. J-1 students need Form DS-2029 and should ask us for that application. If you are maintaining another non-immigrant status in the U.S., you do not have to obtain an I-20 and may attend school full or part-time. Dependent children in E, F, H, I, J, L, M,N,O,P,R, or S status need to change status after their 21st birthday or if they marry. If you have no legal status, you may attend school but you are not eligible to change status and can not obtain Form I-20.

Getting your FORM I-20


Below are the instructions for issuance of Form I-20 by Kingsborough Community College. Read and follow them carefully. At times, you may be asked to provide more evidence of your financial support.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS GOVERNING OF FORM I-20

  1. CAREFULLY REVIEW MINIMUM ANNUAL FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

    • These requirements are not negotiable. They represent a minimum budget, which does not allow for miscellanies expenses. You will want to have more money available if possible.
    • Expect annual increase in living costs of about 7%.

  2. U.S. LAW REQUIRES THAT YOU PROVE THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR MINIMUM ANNUAL COSTS FOR EVERY YEAR OF YOUR PROGRAM OF STUDY. YOU MUST PROVIDE DOCUMENTS THAT WILL CONVINCE THE U.S. CONSULAT OR USCIS THAT YOU HAVE:

    • cash to cover your first year in the U.S.;
    • sufficient and dependable financial resources to cover every additional year annual increase in living costs of about 7%.

    THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT CAN COME FROM ANY COMBINATION OF SOURCES EXPLAINED BELOW.

  3. DO NOT EXPECT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WORK TO HELP MEET YOUR MINIMUM ANNUAL COSTS! The USCIS strictly controls off- campus employment and on-campus employment is very limited.

  4. ALL DOCUMENTS YOU PROVIDE MUST BE DATED LESS THAN SIX MONTHS PRIOR 1 TO ISSUANCE OF THE I-20 AND MUST STATE AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO U.S. DOLLARS. SEND PHOTOCOPIES OR FAXES, NOT ORIGINALS. You will need to keep the originals of all the documents you have sent us. These documents will be submitted to the U.S. Embassy when applying for the F-1 visa.

  5. YOU MAY SUPPORT YOURSELF WITH YOUR OWN PERSONAL FUNDS. You must have enough cash to support yourself for your entire program of study. Proof of personal funds includes following documents:

    • Bank Statements must be in your name only, and state the date the account was opened, current balance in U.S. dollars, average deposits and average balances. We cannot accept statements that do not specify balances unless it is stated to be a "minimum of six figures in U.S. dollars." If your statement shows that your funds are "fixed", meaning that they do not produce substantial income, your balance will be divided by the number of years in your program of study, which will determine the amount you will have available to you for each year of study.

    • Statements of liquid investments only.

  6. YOU MAY SUPPORT YOURSELF WITH FUNDS FROM OTHER SPONSORS such as parents, relatives, or organizations. You may have as many sponsors as you need. It is highly recommended that at least part of your financial support come from your country for purposes of visa issuance. Sponsors may provide you with support in the form of cash and /or room and board.

  7. A SPONSOR SHOULD PROMISE ONLY AS MUCH MONEY AS HE OR SHE IS ABLE TO GIVE YOU. Some sponsors believe that the more money they promise to give the easier it will be to get your I-20.

  8. EACH SPONSOR PROVIDING CASH SUPPORT MUST PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS TO PROVE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. IF ALL THESE DOCUMENTS ARE NOT RECEIVED, YOUR SPONSOR'S SUPPORT WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

    • Affidavit of annual financial support. This form may be photocopied for each sponsor. All questions must be answered. Affidavits must be signed by the sponsor in the presence of a notary public. The notary public must sign, and the official seal of the notary public must be on the affidavit. There are notaries public at all U. S. embassies and consulates. In the U.S., most neighborhood pharmacists, lawyers and accountants are notaries. These are officials licensed by the national or regional government to take sworn statements for courts of law or to witness contracts and property deeds.

    • Proof of income. This must be on the employer's letterhead, or income tax returns or receipts, or estimated by a bank or private accountant when the sponsor is a self-employed businessperson. The income of a company is not the income of the owner of the business and will not be accepted as proof of income. You must provide an official statement of the salary paid to the owner/sponsor.


  9. A SPONSOR PROVIDING FREE ROOM AND BOARD (free room and board is when you live with someone who gives you your own room for no payment) PROOF IS REQUIRED OF THE FOLLOWING AS EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL ABILITY:

    • Affidavit of free room and board fully completed and signed in the presence of a notary public.

    • Photocopy of lease, deed or rent receipts in sponsor's name.

    • Proof of income. This must be on the employer's letterhead, on income tax returns or receipts, or estimated by a bank or private accountant when the sponsor is a self-employed businessperson.

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