What is an I-20 and how do I get one?

The I-20 is a multi-purpose document issued by a government approved, U.S. educational institution certifying that you have been admitted to a full-time study program and that you have demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. You can obtain an I-20 from a SEVP-certified school in the United States that has applied for and received certification to enroll F and/or M nonimmigrant students.

Can I apply for F1 from outside the USA?

Yes, you can apply for F1 at your country of residence. In that case, you have to contact the U.S. based SEVP certified school, obtain the I-20, and follow the instructions of the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to schedule an interview.


If I am in the U.S. as a tourist, when is the right time to apply for the change of status to student?

You must apply for a change of status to F1 before your authorized stay expires. In some specific cases, it is possible to apply for a change of status after your status expired. If that is your case, contact us so we may analyze your specific case and check your eligibility for change of status.

How much do I need in cash or financial assets to qualify for a student visa?

The exact amount depends on the program you choose and the size of your family. You must prove that you can cover your tuition and living expenses for you and your family without your or your spouse working. The school will require proof that you can afford your program and living expenses for you and your family before issuing the I-20.

How can I prove that I meet the financial requirement?

You may prove that you have the funds necessary to pay for school and support yourself and your family by presenting your bank statements, bank statements of members of your relatives, copies of income statement, etc. If other people are supporting you, you must present evidence of their financial assets and USCIS Form I-134.

Do I have to take the TOEFL or GRE exams to qualify for a student visa?

Taking the TOEFL or GRE is not a requirement to obtain a student visa. However, depending on the program you intend to enroll in, the school may require an exam to demonstrate English proficiency before issuing the I-20.

Can I change my university/school after I obtain my F1 visa (in the U.S. or abroad)?

Yes, if you don’t like the school or university that issued your I-20, you may change to another school or university. It is important that you start your studies at the school listed on your I-20. Then, you must obtain a new I-20 with the new school. Be sure to maintain valid student status at all times.

Can I travel abroad if I changed my status to F1/F2?

If you changed your status to F1/F2 while in the United States, you cannot travel abroad and re-enter the country. If you want to travel abroad, you will have to obtain the F1/F2 visa sticker on your passport at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country.

What type of proof can I present to show that I will come back to my home country? 

Student status is temporary, so it is relevant to prove that you intend to return to your home country after finishing your studies. Some examples of evidence that your stay will be temporary are home title, documents of a business belonging to you in your home country, copies of birth certificates (if your children stayed in your home country), copies of bank statements, etc.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. It applies to students enrolled in a U.S educational institution under an F-1 visa. They must be completing a university or college degree such as Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree.