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DSOs: Read these Tips for Electronically Signing Forms I-20

April 22, 2020

Due to COVID-19, designated school officials (DSOs) can electronically send signed Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to students via email addresses listed in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) instead of physically mailing forms. In the case of a minor student, the email address may belong to their parent or legal guardian. Schools do not need to request permission from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) or report their plans to electronically send Forms I-20 as part of their COVID-19 procedural changes.

SEVP has identified the following methods to sign and send the Form I-20:

  • Email a scanned version of the physically signed Form I-20;
  • Email a digitally signed Form I-20 using electronic signature software; or
  • Email a digitally signed Form I-20 that contains a digitally reproduced copy of a physical signature.

Only approved principal designated school officials (PDSOs) and DSOs may physically sign or input their own digital signature to the Form I-20. Individuals who are not approved on the school’s Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” may not input a DSO’s signature— either digital or physical —to the Form I-20. 

Improper issuance of the Form I-20 in this manner may constitute grounds for withdrawal of SEVP certification. By signing the Form I-20 or inputting their digital signature, PDSOs and DSOs attest that they are the approved individuals issuing the Form I-20.

This guidance for electronically signing Forms I-20 can be referenced in the Frequently Asked Questions for SEVP Stakeholders about COVID-19

For more information and updates please refer to https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus.

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