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Frequently Asked Questions about your I-20

What is an I-20?

The form I-20 is a “Certificate of Eligibility” for an F visa. While it allows you to apply for a visa, it is not a visa itself.

How do I get an I-20?

When you are accepted to a program at the BGSP, we will send you an application packet. Once we receive the requested information from you, we can issue you an I-20.

If the I-20 is not my visa, what is?

Your visa is the stamp in your passport. It is an entry permit that allows you to enter the US.

Do I still need the I-20 after I get a visa?

Yes, in order to re-enter the US you will need both a visa and an I-20. You will also need to make sure that all signatures on your I-20 are current (within 6 months), and that your visa has not expired.

What happens if the signatures are not current?

You will need current signatures on your I-20 in order to enter or re-enter the US. Come by the office before traveling so that we can update your signatures.

Can my I-20 expire?

Yes. If you allow your I-20 to expire, you will fall out of legal status, and may suffer serious immigration consequences.

How do I know if my I-20 is going to expire?

The program end date is on the first page of your I-20.

The date on my I-20 is going to expire before I finish my program.. What should I do?

You may request a program extension if you will not be done before the end date on your I-20. You may only request up to one year at a time.

I lost my I-20, what should I do?

To get a replacement I-20, fill out a request for a new one.

I’m not in Boston, but I need my I-20. Can you fax me an I-20 with updated signatures?

Unfortunately, faxing an I-20 is illegal. The only method we may use to get your I-20 to you is mail.

What else do I need to know about my I-20?

Page two of your I-20 contains information about maintaining legal status. Additionally, you may find our “Maintaining Your Status” page helpful.