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Students: Learn How the Redesigned Form I-20 Affects You

August 20, 2015

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recently redesigned the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” By July 1, 2016, all F and M students and their dependents are required to have the redesigned Form I-20. 

As an F or M student, you may wonder how this change affects you. Read the questions and answers below to learn more.

Has the purpose of the Form I-20 changed? 

No, the Form I-20 is still one of the required forms you need to enter the United States. SEVP-certified schools will continue to issue Forms I-20 to all their accepted F and M students. You still need your Form I-20 to: 

   — Apply for a nonimmigrant student visa with the U.S. Department of State.
   — Pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee on
   — Enter the United States at a U.S. port of entry.
   — Apply for benefits in the United States, such as a Social Security number (SSN) or
       driver’s license.

When will I be required to have the redesigned Form I-20? 

By July 1, 2016, all F and M students and their dependents are required to have the redesigned Form I-20. If you want to apply for a benefit before July 1, 2016, you will need to use a redesigned Form I-20 for the application process. Speak with your DSO to obtain a redesigned Form I-20 prior to applying for any benefits. 

As SEVP recently deployed the redesigned Form I-20, not all government entities that issue benefits may be familiar with the new form. Therefore, we highly recommend that you read, print and bring the Redesigned Form I-20 Fact Sheet with you when you present your redesigned Form I-20 to any U.S. government entity, like a local Department of Motor Vehicle office or the Social Security Administration. 

How do I know if I have a redesigned Form I-20?

If you received a Form I-20 from your designated school official (DSO) after June 26, 2015, then you have the redesigned form. However, if you received your form prior to June 26, 2015, you must speak with your DSO to obtain the redesigned form and this must be done before July 1, 2016. 

Your DSO can answer any questions you may have about the Form I-20 and provide you with a redesigned form.

Have more questions about the redesigned Form I-20?

Talk to your DSO or contact the SEVP Response Center at

Did you find this post helpful? Do not forget to share this information with your international student peers using the share buttons at the top of the page.


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