I-20 Document

When the student’s admission file is complete, the student will be issued an acceptance letter and an I-20 from UPIKE.

Next, the student will receive a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students.” The I-20 is a multi-purpose document issued by a government-approved, U.S. educational institution certifying that a student has been admitted to a full-time study program and the student has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S.

  1. The additional step is that the student apply for an F-1 Visa with the U.S. Embassy in their home country.
  2. Any questions about the Form I-20 should be directed to the Designated School Official (DSOs) that issued the I-20.

After a Student is accepted to UPIKE, what is the next step?

  • Students advised to check with the international student and scholars service before purchasing an airline ticket or making travel arrangements.
  • The ISS issues an I-20 and sends it to the student in their home country (student pays for mailing through eshipglobal)
  • Next, Student applies for an F-1 Student Visa to the United States Embassy (separate visa fee may be required)
  • Student pays the SEVIS fee of $200. All initial F-1 students MUST pay the SEVIS fee prior to their Visa interview and prints the receipt to take to the embassy or consulate. The SEVIS fee can be paid online at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/
  • Complete Form DS-160: Application for F-1 Student Visa. Student applies and schedules a meeting with the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
  • The student embassy brings to the embassy or consulate interview the following documents: Form I-20, documentation of Financial support, bank statements, UPIKE admission letter, SEVIS fee receipt, completed form DS-160, and evidence that the student intends to return to their home country at the conclusion of their studies.
  • After the Embassy interview, study should notify UPIKE International Student & Scholar Services to finalize travel arrangements.
  • F-1 student are not allowed to Travel to a U.S. port of entry 30 days before the program start date of semester classes.
  • When the student travels to a U.S. port of entry, several documents are required:  See:  http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/#


The I-20 is a multi-purpose document issued by a U.S. government-approved educational institution certifying that a student has been admitted to a full-time study program and that the student has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. School Attestation and Student Attestation.  The student show the required financial information to the school and to the US Embassy.

Effective June 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has introduced an updated version of the Form I-20. All F-1 international students must obtain their new I-20 from the UPIKE's Office of International Students and Scholar Services before July 1, 2016. If you do not have the new I-20, you may be denied entry after this time.
There are two options available for the mailing of your UPIKE acceptance letter and I-20 which are as follows:
  1. Send by Regular Overseas Mail - Overseas mail takes four-six weeks. International student and scholar services strongly recommends using e-ship Global Express Mail.
  2. Send by Express Mail – University of Pikeville (UPIKE) uses an express mail service that will allow you to receive your acceptance letter and I-20 through FedEx or UPS in three-five days. Requesting your immigration documents through express mail is at your expense and your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover cards only) will be charged upon requesting the service. To request express mailing of your documents, go to the following website (Works best with Internet Explorer & Mozilla Firefox browsers): https://study.eshipglobal.com

You must use the website provided above – do not go through FedEx or UPS website directly. If you choose this option, all communication about the mailing will go through the eshipglobal service, who will notify us that you are requesting your I-20 to be sent by express mail.

If you use this service, you will be required to create your own user name and password in order to create an account. To request shipment, you will need your name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number and credit card information.

Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your I-20.

If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail support@eshipglobal.com.

*Please note, all of the above options regarding the mailing of your acceptance letter and I-20 are also available to students arriving on a F1 visa.

Do all students need I-20s?
No. If a student is maintaining a status other than F-1 in the U.S., an 1-20 is not needed. Some students in visa status must change status after their twenty-first birthday.

How is an I-20 created?
After a school completes the admissions process, the school collects necessary financial support and identification documentation for admitted international students requesting F-1 status. Those student names and biographic information are entered into a U.S. government database called SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The SEVIS database processes the information and produces an I-20. The school official (called the Designated School Official or DSO) prints and signs the I-20 and delivers it to the student. If a student needs to update or change information on the I-20, the DSO makes these requests through SEVIS to produce a new document.

How is the I-20 used?
Outside the U.S.: After receiving an I-20 from a school, an international student must make an appointment to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate (the visa is needed to be allowed entry into the U.S. in F-1 status). Students must present both the F-1 visa and the I-20 to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival at the U.S. port-of-entry.
Inside the U.S.: Once a student has arrived in the U.S. and passes through the border inspections process (either at an airport, seaport or land border), the I-20 is used as identification and proof of legal and academic status. Typically, students must show their I-20 at government agencies to request a driver’s license for example.

Do I need the I-20 for travel?
If traveling abroad, students must take their I-20 with them. The I-20 is required to reapply for a visa (if needed) and for re-entering the U.S. Before departure from the U.S., students should verify that they have a valid travel endorsement on page two of the I-20 from the DSO at the UPIKE Office of International Students and Scholar Services. This signature is valid for one year for multiple visits outside the U.S. Students should plan ahead and get their travel endorsement several weeks before departing the U.S.

What is the I-20 completion date?
The “completion date” is entered on item #5 of the I-20 based on a student's particular major and degree level. This is an estimate of time the university feels it may take to fulfill all degree requirements. However, if a student is not able to finish the program on that date, an extension must be requested from the UPIKE Office of International Students and Scholar Services at least one month before the completion date expires.

According to U.S. immigration regulations, the “completion date” is defined as the day final degree requirements are completed. The actual completion date may not necessarily be the day of the graduation ceremony or the date on the I-20. In fact, many students actually finish degree requirements before the completion date on the I-20.

Undergraduate Students:
The completion date is considered to be the last day of final exams of the semester degree requirements are fulfilled.

Graduate Students:
The completion date is the day on which all degree requirements are fulfilled the completion date would be the last day of final exams of the semester degree requirements are fulfilled. 

The 60-day Grace Period
When students complete a study program, they are allowed a 60-day grace period to either 1) depart the U.S., 2) request a school transfer, or 3) change visa status.

Note: Students who are interested in working in the U.S. following their program completion must apply for Optional Practical Training work authorization before the expiration of the 60-day grace period.
What happens if I lose my I-20?
Please contact the UPIKE Office of International Students and Scholar Services immediately for a replacement I-20. Please note that if you are outside the U.S., you must obtain the replacement I-20 before entering the U.S. to resume your studies. Allow sufficient time for processing and mail delivery. Do not attempt to enter the U.S. without an I-20.

Should I keep all copies of my I-20s?
Yes. You may obtain several different versions of your I-20s while you are in the U.S. if there are changes to your program or other information. Keep all copies for future reference. Always use the most recently issued I-20 for travel, work or other purposes.

Do my family members need I-20s?
If you will be accompanied by your spouse and children, they will each need their own I-20 to obtain the F-2 dependent visas and to remain in the U.S. during your program and for travel purposes. Contact the UPIKE Office of International Students and Scholar Services as soon as possible about these arrangements.

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