F-1 Status Students
I-20 requirements and pre-arrival documents for new F-1 students.
F-1 Students are defined as individuals in the United States engaging in a full course of academic study in an accredited educational program that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security.
Step 1: Application and Admissions Decision
- Once you have successfully completed your admissions application and requirements and have received an official letter of acceptance you will be provided with the I-20 requirements packet from the Office of Admissions.
Step 2: I-20 Request and Requirements:
- Please complete all required forms and send them to the Office of International Admissions as soon as possible.
- We recommend starting this process 3 months in advance of your intended program start date.
Step 3: School’s Processing of the Request for I-20:
- The Office of International Student Services will evaluate your I-20 request and all materials provided .
- If additional information is required, the Office of International Student Services will contact student directly.
- The I-20 form will be issued once all conditions are met and mailed to you from the Office of International Admissions. You will be contacted once your I-20 is mailed.
- Request for I-20 Form
This form should be completed by the student and provide all accurate information of the student. Please include this form with your Request for F-1 status to the Office of International Admissions for new students and International Student Services for returning students to Adelphi.
Request Form for SEVIS I-20 (PDF)
- Photocopy of Passport Information Page
Please submit a photocopy of your valid passport.
- Affidavit of Support
This form must be completed and signed by financial sponsor. Must be notarized by notary or legal official This form must have an official signature. This form must indicate a minimum of one years cost of attendance (minus and other funding provided from alternate or outside sources, i.e. scholarship or loan funding).
- Proof of Income
Proof the sponsor is employed and receiving income: must be completed by financial sponsor’s employer on employer letterhead or stationery indicating employment of the sponsor
Income tax return from previous year
- Official Bank Document
Must show liquid funding matching one year financial expenses Document must be valid within 6 months No scanned, emailed or faxed copies accepted. Must be official bank statement. Must be in English.
- If sponsor is a business, an additional letter from company’s chief financial officer providing permission for the company to relinquish funds for students study is required
» Download the Pre-Arrival Document (PDF)
» I-20 and Visa Requirements for Prospective International Students (PDF)
Steps to Applying for an F-1 Visa
Step 1: Check for Errors:
Please check and verify all information listed on your Adelphi University I-20 is accurate and printed correctly. This includes your name as it appears in your passport, your program of study, the length of study, your previous schools name if you are a transfer student, country of birth, country of citizenship, date of birth and financial information. If anything is listed incorrectly please contact the Office of International Student Services immediately to make a correction.
Step 2: Sign your I-20:
After you review your I-20 for accuracy, sign and date the bottom of page one of your I-20 immediately.
Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee:
What is SEVIS?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information about foreign students. It is designed to help the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State better monitor school and exchange visitor programs and F, M and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F (academic) and M (vocational) visa categories, while the U.S. Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program. SEVP uses Web-based technology known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are legally enrolled in the U.S. education system.
SEVP collects, maintains and uses the information to ensure that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Each student or exchange visitor issued an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 is responsible for paying this fee to SEVP. The current fee is $200.00.
To pay online:
- Go to fmjfee.com
- Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment
- Complete the form and information using a valid Visa, Mastercard or American Express
- Print the receipt
Step 4: Schedule an Appointment for your Visa Application:
All non-immigrants coming to the United States for the purpose of studying will have to acquire an F-1 student visa. You can obtain the F-1 visa at the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate by presenting your Form I-20 (called Certificate of Eligibility) which will be issued by Adelphi University. You will also have to present your letter of acceptance, proof of SEVIS I-901 payment receipt, a certificate of finances and a bank letter (certifying that funds are available for your study in the U.S.) An F-1 visa is intended for your travel into the United States as an F-1 Student. (Note: Canadian students do not need a visa and may enter the U.S. simply by presenting a valid passport, Form I-20, SEVIS I-901 payment receipt and sufficient financial documentation.) For more information please visit the U.S. Department of State website.
Dependents of F-1 Students:
Dependents of an F-1 student will be issued an F-2 visa if they are accompanying or joining the F-1 student. You must be able to show that sufficient funds are available to cover the entire family’s living expenses. A visa will not be issued without evidence to this evidentiary proof.
Initial Status I-20 Students:
You will not be allowed to enter the United States earlier than 30 days prior to your program start date listed on page 1 section 5 of your form I-20. Therefore, please make your travel plans accordingly in the event that you plan to visit relatives or friends in the United States before you begin your studies at Adelphi University.
Transfer Pending Status I-20 Students:
If your I-20 was issued in transfer pending status, noted in section 3 on page 1 of your I-20, you can travel within the United States and enter the United States with no limitation prior to your program start date listed on your form I-20.
Upon entering the United States and before landing, airline cabin crews distribute instructions to passengers explaining the procedure for entering the United States as a foreign visitor. You will be requested to complete Form I-94, arrival/departure card.
When you arrive, you must have the following documents in your possession:
- Your passport (dated within 6 months in the future)
- Original Form I-20
- A valid F-1 Visa
- Copy of Adelphi letter of acceptance
- Copy of the Notarized Certificate of Finances and the bank statements
The immigration official must find all documents satisfactory. If not, you will be delayed and questioned. When everything is in order, the immigration official will stamp the arrival date on your I-94 and in your passport which will allow you to stay in the United States. Such permission to stay will be shown by the written entry D/S (Duration of Status) on your I-94. This form is also known as the: “Arrival-Departure Record.” Keep it in your passport. You must surrender it when you leave the country.
10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa*
- Ties to Your Home Country
Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Compelling Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country.
Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa issuance. If you have applied for the U.S. Green Card Lottery, you may be asked if you are intending to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was available but not with a specific intent to immigrate. If you overstayed your authorized stay in the United States previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation, if available.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches! If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
- Speak for Yourself
Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there is case there are questions, for example about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
- Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans
If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.
- Be Brief
Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.
- Additional Documentation
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you are lucky.
- Not All Countries are Equal
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.
Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
- Dependents Remaining at Home
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude
Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
*Adelphi University would like to credit NAFSA who credits Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and a former U.S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands; and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document. NAFSA also appreciates the input of the U.S. Department of State.