I-20 Process for New Students

This outline is designed to give international students a basic understanding of the I-20 preparation process. Please read this document in its entirety as it will answer many of the common questions you may have.  It is important to follow the process outlined below as this will expedite the I-20 preparation.  Multiple phone and email inquiries and deviations from the established procedure greatly delay the I-20 preparation time frame.  We appreciate your patience and attention to the procedure outlined below.

The I-20 Preparation Process:

The International Student Services unit is responsible for processing the Form I-20. Students applying for the F-1 student visa need the Form I-20.  ISS will process an I-20 only for students who have been officially admitted by the university and will begin the I-20 process only after the student has been admitted.  Students with pending applications will be referred to the academic department or to the Office of Admissions.

Step 1- Notification of Admission 

  • Graduate International Students:
    Once your application for admission is approved and the admission is posted in the University of Florida student records system, your academic department will request an I-20 for you in the Graduate Information Management System (GIMS).  ISS will receive the I-20 request electronically.  When ISS receives the I-20 request, your International Student Advisor (ISA) will contact you, via email, with a detailed explanation about what is needed for the I-20.  Please read the email communication in its entirety.  After reading the information provided, you may respond to your ISA with any questions.
  • Undergraduate International Students:
    Once your application for admission is approved and the admission is posted in the University of Florida student records system, the Office of Admissions will notify ISS of your admission via a weekly electronic list.  When ISS receives the notification of admission, your International Student Advisor (ISA) will contact you, via email, with a detailed explanation about what is needed for the I-20.  Please read the email communication in its entirety.  After reading the information provided, you may respond to your ISA with any questions.

Step 2 - Request for Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) & Proof of Funds

The first email communication from your ISA will request that you submit the Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) and proof of funds. You should only submit the CFR if your ISA has requested it from you.  Submissions of the CFR that were not requested by your ISA will not be accepted.  This policy will be strictly adhered to; it is important that you follow these instructions. 

Instructions for completing and submitting the CFR are noted on the CFR form.  Be sure to read all the instructions provided before attempting to contact your ISA with questions. The CFR along with the applicable proof of funds should only be sent by email (jpg or pdf).  Only ONE submission is required. Please note that it is mandatory for all students to submit the CFR form regardless of the source of funding.  When your ISA receives the CFR and proof of funds, the documents will be reviewed for accuracy.

  • Acceptable Proof of Funds:
    • Savings/Checking: Bank Letter, Bank Statement, or Bank Stamp on CFR
    • Certificates of Deposit, Stock Portfolios Investment, Education Loans: Bank or Financial Institution Letter
    • Scholarships: Award Letter
    • Assistantship/Fellowship: No Letter Required
    • Government Awards: Award Letter
    • Linkages: Award Letter
  • Not Acceptable Proof of Funds
    • Salary
    • Credit Cards
    • Insurance Policies
    • Property
    • Machinery

Upon completion of this review, you will receive a second email detailing the next step. Due to the high volume of requests, email or phone call inquiries asking for confirmation that the CFR was received cannot be answered. If you send an email and receive an automatic email response, please do not respond to the automatic email.

Step 3 - Request for I-20 Application

The second email communication from your ISA will request that you complete the I-20 Application. The I-20 Application contains the biographical information, the physical address and the mailing address for you and any accompanying dependents that is needed to generate the form I-20. The mailing address provided will be used to send the I-20.

You should only submit the I-20 Application if your ISA has requested it from you. Submissions of I-20 Applications that were not requested by your ISA will not be accepted. This policy will be strictly adhered to. Instructions for completing and submitting the I-20 Application are noted in the email communication. Be sure to read all the instructions provided before attempting to contact your ISA with questions. Please only submit the I-20 Application once. 

The I-20 Application will be reviewed for accuracy. Upon completion of this review, the student will receive an email when the I-20 is being issued. I-20s are sent by express mail for students present outside the United States and by regular postal mail for students residing in the United States, if the department has not requested to pick it up. Due to the high volume of requests, email or phone call inquiries asking for confirmation that the I-20 Application was received cannot be answered. If you send an email and receive an automatic email response, please do not respond to the automatic email.

Step 4 - Issuing and mailing of the I-20

The I-20 will be generated once your ISA has verified all of the following:  Admission in the university records system, receipt of I-20 request from the academic department, receipt of CFR, proof of funds and receipt of the I-20 Application.  You will receive an email when the I-20 is being processed.  Once the I-20 is ready for shipping, you will receive an email giving the express mail tracking number (only if you are outside of the United States).  You can generally expect to receive the I-20 within 3 to 5 business days from the receipt of the tracking number. Once you have the admission letter and I-20, you may then schedule an appointment to apply for your F-1 visa.

Please note that ISS does not mail admission letters. The admission letter will be mailed to you directly from either the academic department (graduate students) or the Office of Admissions (undergraduate students). 

F-1 SEVIS Transfer Students

If you are already present in the United States, either attending another institution in the United States or on a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT), and wish to study at the University of Florida you will need to arrange for the transfer of your SEVIS record from your previous school to the University of Florida.  For more information click here.

Important things to consider:

As stated in the outline above, you are notified by email at each step in the process.  Therefore, we are unable to answer email and phone inquiries about the “status of my I-20” or “when will I get my I-20”. We understand that the visa process is lengthy and are taking steps to make sure the I-20 process runs quickly and efficiently.  During peak times, when we are processing hundreds of I-20 requests, we are unable to provide immediate answers to questions.  This should be expected and please do not feel that your questions are ignored because you do not receive an immediate response.

We understand that some students may be in an unusual situation.  In such cases, we will review the inquiry from the student, make the determination as to the degree of urgency, and respond as necessary.