Form I-20 – What is the purpose of I-20 form and what is it used for?

Passport Frequently Asked Questions and AnswersQuestion:  What is Form I-20 used for? I think I might need one but I am not completely sure what its purpose is. Please assist me on more information about Form I-20.


Answer:  The recipient of Form I-20 will be a student enroll into a degree-granting program at a college or at a university. After receiving Form I-20, the student can proceed to use the form to apply for an F-1 Visa. When applying for the F-1 Visa, they will do so at their home country’s embassy or consulate. The main reason for the F-1 Visa is allowing the student to visit to the United States. Once here in the states, the individual can go to an academic institution he or she wants to attend.

When arriving in the United States, the student will have to submit their country’s passport to the Immigration officer. Within the passport there should be the F-1 visa, in addition to the I-20 form. After the passport is provided, the immigration officer will inspect the documents and may ask specific questions. These questions can be about the student’s field of study. If all goes well and the immigration officer is satisfy with the answers the student gave and with the documentations the student provided, then the immigration office will grant the student access into the Unites States on F-1 visa status. He or she will stamp the I-20, the foreign passport, and then issues an I-94 form.

The prospective student can request Form I-20 form the degree-granting institution he or she will be attending.