Understanding the I-20 Form

Understanding the I-20 Form

The I-20 form, issued by the United States Government, is an important document and step an abroad student must complete before they are allowed to enter the United States in order to study abroad. An international student will receive the I-20 form usually from a school official. The I-20 form serves many purposes, but its main one is to certify that an international student has been admitted into a full-time study program and that they have the funds to study for one full year. That means that they have shown and proven that they have the financial resources to stay and study in the United States. The I-20 form is one of the many important aspects to understand in terms of the general abroad student loan basics.


What Purpose Does The Form Serve?

 The I-20 form serves many purposes. Some of these include:

  • Pay the I-90I SEVIS fee, which is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee,
  • Apply for a nonimmigrant visa,
  • Enter the United States,
  • Apply for benefits,
  • If you are already in the U.S. as another type of non-immigrant and you are applying to change your status to F or M.

Something that you need in order to receive an I-20 form is proof of financial sources. However, you cannot simply provide anything as proof; there are specific sources that you need to provide. Some of the sources may include:

  • Scholarships,
  • Personal loans,
  • Education loans (also known as student loans),
  • Proof of family or personal income.

Please note that these are not exclusive sources. The above sources are provided as a general example for abroad students. There are more available, please do your own research in order to figure out the most applicable to you and your situation. However, while there are many sources that can prove financial stability, there is number that will not. These include:

  • Property value,
  • Business value,
  • Credit card statements,
  • Most financial documents are older than six months.

Again, please remember that these are general guidelines. We suggest doing your own research to find out what is and what is not acceptable for an I-20 source. Many schools in the United States will have information on what they will accept for the I-20.

 What Does The I-20 Have to Do With School?

In order for an international student to get F-1 visa status, their prospective school needs to collect the necessary financial aid identification information. In turn, that information is submitted into SEVIS, which processes the information and makes it into a part of the I-20 form. The school’s Designated School Official (DSO) then provides the form to the student. Once the abroad student has the I-20 form, they can then apply for the F-1 visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate in their home country.

 What Does The Form Have to Do With Education Loans

Basically, in order to get your student visa, you need to have the I-20 form. The I-20 is usually released to you in conjunction with your full acceptance into a school or program. The form is one that is required by the United States government, and the school gives out the form. The school then uses this to verify that the student (you) potentially has enough funding and/or financial sources to afford to go to that school for a full year. In turn, to get the form, you need to prove that you can finance your studies in the United States. For many international students, attaining an abroad student loan served as a proof of their finances. However, to get approved for some loans, you need to be fully accepted into a program. Some lenders may sanction a conditional “proof of funds” before school admission that an international student may be able to use as proof of funds. Some lenders, on the other hand, may require that you have been accepted into a school before you can get the international student loan. It depends on the lender. Some schools may grant conditional admission, with the contingency being the proof that you can pay for said program. Once your school has granted the I-20, the lender will then take this form, give it a final approval, and then start the loan disbursement process. Again, it all depends on the school, lender, and potential loan, so each situation differs from case to case. Please do your own research and understand the situation fully.

Below is a simple flow chart to help illustrate the process above with the different options that may be available to you through your school and/or lender. Please remember to check with your school and lender for the conditions that will relate specifically to your situation.

What Does the United States Require?

Most United States educational institutions require a valid student visa in order to receive an abroad student loan. This may seem confusing, but if you cannot provide financial support, then you may not be eligible for an international student loan. This, however, does not mean that you cannot get an international student loan. We strongly suggest speaking with your lender and discussing the I-20 form and how it relates to your financial situation.

If you cannot secure a loan from a United States lender, we strongly suggest taking a look at the options available in your home country. Depending upon your home country, domestic lenders may provide conditional approval that you may use. For example, if you live in India, there may be some Indian lenders that offer this.

Nomad Credit Can Help You Find Education Loan Options

Understanding the I-20 form can be tough, but getting an international student loan can be even tougher. Nomad Credit is happy to help you navigate the difficult process and help you find the international student loan that you need.

Nomad Credit can help you find your funding options. Please visit us at Nomad Credit to search for your student loan (also known as education loan) options including international student loans. Please don’t hesitate to email us at help@nomadcredit.com if you have any questions about interest rates, international student loans, or anything else.

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