What is an I-20 Form?
HOFT Institute (previously known as the House of Tutors) is authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status Form I-20 – the first step needed for an international student to attend school in the United States. For information and assistance about obtaining I-20 Forms, call our Designated School Official (DSO) at (512) 472-6996
In order to obtain a student visa to attend an ESL institute, you must obtain a signed I-20 Form from the school you will be attending (HOFT Institute, for example). The I-20s are issued only by schools certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). There are two different variants of the form, depending on whether you are an F-Student or M-Student. HOFT Institute only issues I-20s for the F-Student nonimmigrant visa category.
The I-20 Form is a prerequisite to paying your I-901 SEVIS fee and applying for a non-immigrant visa at your local American Embassy or Consulate. Procedures differ slightly from country to country; so contact them in advance before starting your Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160).
You will also need to present the I-20 to the Customs and Border Protection agents when you arrive in the U.S. And, if you intend to apply for a Social Security number or drivers license during your visit, you may be required to show your I-20 Form to demonstrate that you are enrolled in an approved program at an ESL institute or American university or college.
The SEVP and SEVIS I-20 Forms
SEVP is the central U.S. Government coordinating hub for the multiple agencies that have responsibilities pertaining to non-immigrant student visitors. It is part of the Homeland Security Department’s National Security Investigations Division. Other Government departments involved with student visas include the Department of State (DoS), which manages Exchange Visitor Programs covering non-immigrant exchange visitors receiving J Visas (and their dependents).
The SEVP and DoS both utilize the Web-based Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) https://www.ice.gov/sevis to manage non-immigrant visitors while they are attending American colleges and Universities. SEVP-certified schools use SEVIS to issue I-20 Forms, fulfill their reporting responsibilities and communicate student records (address, employment, enrollment, courses, etc.) to other cognizant organizations.
Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20 Information Requirements
Before issuing I-20 forms, a SEVP-certified school must accept you for admission and determine that you have the financial means to live and study here. The form will include your SEVIS ID#, Class (F-1 or M-1), your complete name, date of birth, country of citizenship, and reason for issuance.
Your I-20 form also contains fields for information about the school, your intended program of study, start and end dates, and estimated financial costs during the period of your visit. So you will need to provide us with all of the above information before they can complete and issue the I-20 form to you.
After Receiving Your I-20
Upon receiving Form I-20 you can pay the SEVIS fee using Form I-901. This can be completed and submitted online, or via mail or Western Union.
After your SEVIS fee has been paid, you are eligible to apply for a student visa. This begins with the completion of Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) online, including uploading a recent photo of yourself. Then you can contact a local U.S. Embassy and schedule a visa interview. There may be costs associated with obtaining a visa – including an application and issuance fees. Ask the Embassy about these when you call to schedule your interview.
HOFT helps prospective students with I-20 Forms and obtaining student visas. We look forward to having you in our ESL classes and helping you plan your visit to the United States. Contact us to begin the process of applying for admission and learning English in the USA!
HOFT Institute – Austin TX 78705
(512) 472-6996 English@hoft.edu