How to receive the Form I-20

IMPORTANT: Students need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa or status. The following information carefully explains how to receive your Form I-20. Please read it and follow the directions completely to avoid delays in getting your I-20. If you have any questions, please contact Ann Robinson. 

What is the Form I-20 and why do I need it?

A Form I-20 is a government form that tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status. The Form I-20 certifies that:
1) You are or expect to be a student enrolled in a college or university
2) You meet admissions requirements
3) You will pursue a full time course of study
4) You proved to Daemen that you have enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or suffering from poverty.
5) You need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa or status, or to keep lawful F-1 status when transferring or changing schools with the U.S.

Does everybody need the Form I-20?

Not all international students’ need an I-20, read below to find out if your status requires an I-20.
1)  J-1 students need a Form DS-2019
2)  B Visitors and F-2 dependents must obtain an I-20 and apply for a change of status to F-1 student in order to pursue a course of study that is not vocational or recreational in nature.
3)  If you are maintaining another nonimmigrant status in the U.S., you do not have to have an I-20 and may attend school full-or part-time.
4)  Dependent children in E, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, or S status need to change status after their 21st birthday or if they marry.
5)  If you have no legal status, you may attend school but you are not eligible to change status and do not need an I-20.

How to obtain your Form I-20?

Please read the following directions step by step, you cannot complete this process without following them.
1)  First you must apply to Daemen College through the international admissions office.  Please make sure your application is submitted to the international admissions office and includes all required documents
2)  Once your application is complete then the admissions office will review your application and make a decision. 
3)  In order to receive an I-20 you need to be accepted as a full time student in a program of study.
4) Complete the proof of financial support form, along with financial documentation and submit all documents to the International Admissions Office.  The U.S. law requires that you must PROVE to Daemen that you can support the cost of living and studying in the U.S. for every year of your program of study in the U.S.   Sometimes, we may have to ask you to give us more evidence of your financial ability-perhaps more than once. The U.S. government requires that we are absolutely sure, to the best of our ability, that you will have enough financial support to cover the full costs of your stay in the U.S.
    Carefully view our schools “estimated annual financial requirements for international students”.  This is the amount that you MUST prove that you can support for every year in your program of study.  (Estimate a minimum of two years for an Associate’s degree; 2 years for a Master’s; four for a Bachelor’s; six for a Doctorate.)
    These requirements are NOT negotiable; they represent a modest average budget that does not include luxuries of any kind. We strongly recommend that you budget at least 10% more if possible. Too little money causes pain and distress. We insist that students and their families look closely at the costs of living and studying in the U.S. and make careful plans to be sure your needs will be met. 
    Expect Annual increases in tuition and living costs of approximately 5%.

5) If you are transferring to Daemen College from another college in the United States, you must also complete the international student transfer form.


Can I work in the U.S. while being a full time student?


1) In the past some international students have found on-campus employment, we need to stress that on-campus employment is limited and competitive.
2) Off-campus employment is strictly controlled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

How do I show financial support?

First you need to complete the financial support form provided by the international admissions office.  Along with the financial form you need to show financial documents. Your financial support can come from any combination of the following sources in the U.S. or abroad.
1)   Funds from sponsors (parents, relatives, friends, organizations). You may have as many sponsors as you need. Sponsors may provide you with support in the form of cash and/or room and board. Free room and board is when you live with someone and don’t have to pay for your room or food.
2) Personal funds that come from your own resources, not those of your relatives.

Recommendations when submitting your financial support

1)  It is highly recommended that at least part of your financial support come from your home country. This is important for getting your student visa!
2)  A sponsor should promise only as much money as he or she is able to give you. Some sponsors believe that the more money they promise to give the easier it will be to get your I-20. The most common reason for rejection of financial documents is that we do not believe the sponsor can afford to give as much as promised. A sponsor should promise only what he or she intends to give and only as much as can be afforded.
3)  Personal funds that come from your own resources, not those of your relatives. Unless you have enough cash to support yourself for your entire program of study or can prove other sources of personal income, you will need a sponsor with an income sufficient to support you.
4)  Funds from this school such as scholarship. Not all College support covers the entire program of study or all expenses, so you may need additional support to meet your minimum annual costs.

What Documents are required when submitting my financial support?

All documents submitted must be:
1)  Less than two months old.
2)  In English. (We cannot review documents that are not in English!)
3)  Photocopies or faxes, not originals. You will need the originals of all the documents you have sent us to take to the American Embassy or Consulate when we send you your I-20.
4)  Sponsor Affidavits must be notarized, which means, signed by the sponsor in the presence of a notary public, the notary public must sign, and the official seal of the notary public must be on the affidavit. There are notaries public at all U.S. embassies and consulates.  There are notaries in all countries, though the names for them may be different. There are officials licensed by the national or regional government to take sworn statements for courts of law or to witness contracts and property deeds.

Financial Evidence Required:

Sponsors of cash support:
1)   Financial Support Certificate.  This form may be photocopied for each sponsor. All questions must be answered. The form must be notarized.  We recommend that this form and all documents are submitted at the time you submit the admissions application, this will help you receive the I-20 faster.
2)  Proof of income      
Individual Sponsor (any of the following):
    •Income tax returns or receipts with most recent pay stub, or
    •Pay stubs for last six months, or
    •Bank/investment statements for the last six months
    Company Sponsor
    •Submit tax returns and business registration and licenses
3)  Bank statement in the name of the sponsor only. A monthly statement of balances and deposits.

Evidence required for sponsors of free room and board: Free room and board is when you live with someone and don’t have to pay for your room or food.
1)  Affidavit (notarized) of free room and board
2)  Proof of income (any of the following):
    •Income tax returns or receipts with most recent pay stub, or 
    •Pay stubs for last six months, or
    •Bank/investment statements for the last six months
3)  Photocopy of lease, deed, rent receipts, or phone bill
4)  Personal funds:  bank/asset statement in your name. A monthly statement of balances and deposits.
5)  School Funds:  Copy of your award letter or contract stating exactly what you will be receiving and for how long

Please Note requirements regarding proof of support:

1)  If there is no proof of income provided with bank statement, the statement balance will be totaled and divided by the number of years in your program of study to determine the amount available to you for each year.
2) The income of a company is not the income of the owner of the business and will not be accepted as proof of income. The owner/sponsor must still provide proof of income as well as the business registration and licenses.
3) If a bank statement is in the name of more than one person, each individual must submit an affidavit of support.
4) We cannot accept bank statements that do not specify monthly balances and deposits!
5)  If you are presently in the U.S., you must be living with the sponsor at the time of filing this application for this to be counted towards your means of support.

Now that you are planning to be a student, there are two things that you need to remember in order to stay “in status” and follow the legal requirements:

If you use a B visa to enter the U.S. you are saying “I’m here as a visitor” only. Since you contacted the school about study, this would be viewed as a “fraudulent entry” and could be refused permission to stay longer than six months or extend or change your status. Do not listen to people who say it is easy to enter the country as a visitor and change your status. It is not true! B visitors are prohibited by U.S. law from pursuing a course of study prior to obtaining a change of status to F-1 student.
If your study plans are not certain and you want to enter the U.S. to visit schools, you must explain this on your visa application and ask the visa officer for a B-2 visa with the words “Prospective student “ noted on it or have the words added to your B visa if you already have one.
2)   DO NOT ENTER THE U.S. WITHOUT A VISA (unless you are Canadian)
If you are from a country from which you can enter the U.S. as a visitor by showing a round trip airline ticket, do not do this. If you enter without a visa, you will be permitted to stay for only 90 days. You will not be given more time or allowed to change to student status.

(Reprinted with permission of IETS.















World of Opportunity Wizard

Wow! Daemen students & faculty travel abroad during the inter-semester break!

Faculty accompanied students to Mexico City and Cuernavaca for the January inter-semester term.

Start Your Journey Now Close

Student Profiles

Sarah Rodman

Sarah - Political Science/Pre-Law

Political Science
Minors in Pre-Law, Spanish, Theater Arts

Read Full Profile

Sarah has gained excellent real-world experience by completing internships at the American Bar Association in Washington D.C. and the Attorney General's Office in Buffalo. She was recently accepted into law school in New York!