Financial Support Requirements
The Department of Homeland Security requires that all F-1 applicants have financial resources that will adequately cover expenses while in the United States.
To receive a SEVIS Form I-20, you must submit, along with your application, an original bank statement and letter of sponsorship that shows proof of sufficient funding to cover tuition, housing and other estimated personal expenses while in the United States.
Financial statements must:
- Cover the full amount for the period of time enrolled in the program; and
- Be current within the last 6 months.
||Tuition + Fees
If you will be sponsored by a company, organization or government agency, you must include a letter from the sponsor listing which costs and expense the sponsor will pay. The letter must be written on official letterhead and it must be included with your ELI application.
If you plan to bring a spouse or children as dependents, you must provide evidence of additional financial support for each person. Please provide copies of the passport for each dependent with your ELI application.
After you receive a SEVIS Form I-20, check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country to find out what is needed to apply for an F-1 Student Visa.
Other Important Documents
All international students are required to have certain documents. Students in F-1 status are required to have the following:
Your passport is the basic travel document issued by your government. While you are in the U.S., your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future.
Passports can be renewed at your government's embassy in Washington, D.C. It must be valid if you plan to leave and re-enter the U.S.
The SEVIS Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant (F-1) student status. The document is issued by academic institutions and used by students to:
- Obtain F-1 visas abroad;
- Re-enter the U.S.; and
- Transfer from one school to another.
Your signature on the SEVIS Form I-20 means you understand and accept the DHS regulations. Keep this with your passport.
Your SEVIS Form I-20 is valid for the time period indicated on the form only if you maintain status. It becomes invalid despite the expiration date if you are out of status.
Transfers & Extensions
In the case of transfers or extensions, the school will give you the student copy of your new I-20 and update your DHS record in SEVIS.
Your visa is either a red, white and blue stamp on a page in your passport or a computerized visa form affixed to your passport.
- Visa Classification (F-1, J-1, etc.)
- Place and Date of Issue
- Expiration Date
- Number of Times You are Permitted to Enter the U.S. (S = single entry, M = multiple entries)
Once you have entered the U.S., the expiration date on your F-1 visa is no longer important for initial entry purposes.
For students entering the U.S. prior to May, 2013, the I-94 was a small white arrival/departure card which a DHS officer put into your passport when you arrived.
- DHS Admission Number
- Birth Date
- Date and Point of Entry into the U.S.
- Visa Classification
- Length of Time You Can Remain in the U.S.
What is D/S?
D/S means 'duration of status' and indicates that you can remain in the U.S. for as long as you are studying full-time in educational institutions and maintaining status. Students with F-1 visas have "D/S" written on their I-94's.
For students who entered the U.S. after May, 2013, the I-94 is no longer in card form. Instead the passport is stamped with arrival and length of stay (D/S).