TN 27 (12-16)

RM 10211.275 Reviewing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) issued Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status)

A. Explanation of SEVIS issued Form I-20 process

Schools approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can issue Forms I-20 via SEVIS in order to accept foreign students to their institutions. The Department of State (DoS) uses the I-20 data as part of the student’s visa application process. Upon admission to the United States (U.S.), a DHS official at the port of entry examines the I-20 along with the student’s other documents to determine whether to grant entry to the U.S.

All F-1 (academic) and M-1 (vocational) students enrolled in a DHS-approved school must have a SEVIS issued Form I-20. A completed I-20 is evidence that the student is maintaining status while in the U.S. and is the primary DHS document for F-1 students who do not have an I-766 (Employment Authorization Document) issued by DHS.

The I-20 is a white, 3-page computer-generated form. The information provided on page 1 and 2 are used for enumeration purposes.

B. Description of blocks on page 1 of the I-20

The I-20 has a square block in the upper right corner of the first page indicating class of admission.

The following provides detailed information listed on the form:

  • First Block – contains identifying information about the student.

  • Second Block – contains school information.

  • Third Block – contains information about the program of study.

  • Fourth Block – contains detailed information of the student’s means of support.

  • Fifth Block – contains a Remarks field.

  • Sixth Block – must contain DSO’s signature and date (school attestation).

  • Seventh Block – must contain student’s signature.

C. Description of the Designated School Official (DSO)

The DSO is an employee(s):

  • at the school where the F-1 or M-1 student is enrolled and attending classes;

  • who is responsible under DHS regulations for entering and updating information about a foreign student in SEVIS; and

  • who completes the I-20 and issues an updated (new) I-20 to the foreign student when certain reportable events occur. For information on reportable events, see RM 10211.275E in this section.

D. Description of Page 2 completed for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization

For CPT, page 2 reflects the Duration of Employment beginning and end dates and other information regarding the employment. Consider a foreign student to be in a current employment status if employment will begin within 30 days, in the future, from the date of the SS5 (Application for a Social Security Card).

For additional information on completion of Page 2 for CPT, see RM 10211.255.

E. New I-20 based on reportable action or event

A “reportable event” is a DHS term for a change in a foreign student’s status that requires an update to the student’s record in SEVIS. Reportable events include:

  • extension of status,

  • change of address,

  • change in course load,

  • transfer to another school, and

  • request for employment authorization.

When a reportable event occurs, the DSO may generate a new I-20. DHS will not stamp a new I-20 generated after the student entered the U.S.; however, it must have a date and DSO's original signature. When a student transfers to a new school, he or she must submit the I-20 that the new school issued.

F. References

  • RM 10212.001 Defining the Legal Name for an SSN

  • RM 10211.135 Evidence of Non-immigrant Status for an SSN Card

  • RM 10211.280 Verifying SEVIS Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) and Evidence of Employment Status

  • RM 10211.300 Exhibits of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS