Form I-20 Law and Legal Definition

Form I-20 is a U.S. government form that provides supporting information for the issuance of a student visa. This form tells the U.S. government that the applicant is eligible for F-1 Student Status and certifies that the applicant: is or expect to be a "bona fide" student; meets admissions requirements; will pursue a full course of study; has enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or suffering from poverty.

A student needs Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa or status, or to keep lawful F-l status when transferring or changing schools within the U.S. After the introduction of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the form also includes the student tracking number (SEVIS number) for the student and program. Students must notify their current institution to transfer their SEVIS record to TCNJ prior to the I-20 or DS-2019 issuance.

The following is an excerpt from a federal regulation referring to Form I-20: 8 CFR 214.2 Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status.

(f) Students in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, elementary schools, other academic institutions, and in language training programs -- (1) Admission of student -- (i) Eligibility for admission. A nonimmigrant student may be admitted into the United States in nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(F) of the Act, if:

(A) The student presents a SEVIS Form I-20 issued in his or her own name by a school approved by the Service for attendance by F-1 foreign students. (In the alternative, for a student seeking admission prior to August 1, 2003, the student may present a currently-valid Form I-20A-B/I-20ID, if that form was issued by the school prior to January 30, 2003);

(B) The student has documentary evidence of financial support in the amount indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20 (or the Form I-20A-B/I-20ID);

(C) For students seeking initial admission only, the student intends to attend the school specified in the student's visa (or, where the student is exempt from the requirement for a visa, the school indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20 (or the Form I-20A-B/I-20ID)); and

(D) In the case of a student who intends to study at a public secondary school, the student has demonstrated that he or she has reimbursed the local educational agency that administers the school for the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education at the school for the period of the student's attendance.

(ii) Disposition of Form I-20 A-B/I-20 ID. Form I-20 A-B/I-20 ID contains two copies, the I-20 School Copy and the I-20 ID (Student) Copy. For purposes of clarity, the entire Form I-20 A-B/I-20 ID shall be referred to as Form I-20 A-B and the I-20 ID (Student) Copy shall be referred to as the I-20 ID. When an F-1 student applies for admission with a complete Form I-20 A-B, the inspecting officer shall:

(A) Transcribe the student's admission number from Form I-94 onto his or her Form I-20 A-B (for students seeking initial admission only);

(B) Endorse all copies of the Form I-20 A-B;

(C) Return the I-20 ID to the student; and

(D) Forward the I-20 School Copy to the Service's processing center for data entry. (The school copy of Form I-20 A-B will be sent back to the school as a notice of the student's admission after data entry.)