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Questions from DSOs: When Can I Use the Form I-20 Issuance Exemption?

January 15, 2020

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released policy guidance titled, “Form I-20 Issuance and School Use of Recruiters,” in June 2019, stating designated school officials (DSOs) must issue the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” directly to F-1 students, their parent or legal guardian. At no time should the Form I-20 be issued to a third party.

SEVP will only grant exemptions from this policy in specific instances where circumstances prevent direct issuance. DSOs may use the Form I-20 exemption for:

  • Students who are in countries where U.S. courier services do not operate.
  • Students who are in areas with inadequate infrastructure or services that make deliveries generally difficult or would result in them being unsecured.

To request an exemption from this policy:

  • Contact the SEVP Response Center (SRC) in writing with the individual student’s name and the circumstances warranting an exemption.
  • Identify the individual who will be receiving the Form I-20 on the student’s behalf and the person’s relationship to the student.

If a school has multiple students in the same situation, such as more than one student from the same country where courier services do not operate, DSOs may submit requests for those students at one time but must identify each student individually. DSOs should retain in the student’s record the request for specific exemptions for the issuance of the Form I-20.

SEVP will not grant exemption requests submitted by any other individual or entity.

For questions or to submit an exemption request, contact the SRC at 703-603-3400 or 800-892-4829 or by email at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, except on federal holidays.

 

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