Documents Indispensable for Studying at American Universities: I-20

Keep it as important as your passport

I-20 is a document that must be issued by an international student in order to attend an American university. I-20 is issued by the United States Department of National Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) accredited students to students who have received admission. Please keep this I-20 with you as it is an essential document along with your passport during your study abroad period.

The I-20 has an ID number from the Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a database of the United States Immigration Bureau that manages information about students studying in the United States, and each student is assigned an ID number. First of all, when you receive the I-20, the SEVIS cost using this ID number to the online payment Te to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, to begin the procedure for the acquisition of the F-1 visa (student visa). If you are interviewed at the US Embassy and your F-1 visa is issued successfully, you will be ready to travel to the United States to study abroad at an American university.

The I-20 shows the date you can enter the United States as a student with an F-1 visa. You can enter Japan 30 days before the university starts, but problems will occur before that, so be sure to check the date carefully before entering Japan. If you wish to change your admission to the next semester instead of the date on which the I-20 is listed, the university will reissue the I-20 with the new date. If there is a change in the admission semester, please be sure to contact the university and reissue.


Be careful when leaving Japan for homecoming or traveling

The SEVIS ID number will be transferred between universities even if the university is changed due to transfer, etc., so basically the same ID number will be maintained. However, if you stay outside the United States for more than 5 months, the situation will change. You will need to get a new I-20 issued and you will have to pay SEVIS fees using your new ID number. If you plan to stay outside the United States for more than 5 months, be sure to consult with the international student office at the university (Caution: Due to the new coronavirus, the US Department of Immigration regulations may change).

If you want to go back to Japan for a long vacation such as summer vacation, or if you want to travel abroad such as going to Canada on the weekend, you need to sign the International Student Advisor (DSO) on page 2 of I-20. .. Be sure to have your I-20 with your passport and signature handy when you re-enter the United States.


What happens when it expires?

One of the questions that students often ask is, "Is my F-1 visa expired, can I still be in the US?" If your F-1 visa expires, as long as you stay as a student in the United States, it's fine to have a valid I-20. You don't have to return to Japan immediately and you don't have to reapply immediately, but when you go out of the United States, it's a different story. When you re-enter the United States, you cannot enter without a valid F-1 visa. Therefore, if your F-1 visa has expired, you will need to reapply when you return to Japan temporarily.

Conversely, if your I-20 is disabled, you will not be able to stay in the United States even if your F-1 visa is valid. At the university where the I-20 was issued, attend classes as a full-time student, be sure to attend classes, get leave from the university before the beginning of the semester when you are on vacation, and work off campus. No, you must follow the rules of the United States Immigration Service. Failure to comply with that policy will result in the I-20 being canceled and void.

An F-1 visa is issued to study in the United States. If you follow the rules and concentrate on studying hard as a student, you can live a study abroad life with peace of mind.