Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Students
Form I-20 is issued to a student who has been admitted to a degree-granting program at a college or university. At UNH, an I-20 is issued by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) after the student has been formally admitted and has provided all the necessary financial documentation required by federal regulations. The I-20 contains information about the student and indicates the planned program of study, the school to which the student must report and is valid only for the dates listed on the document in section 5.
The student uses the I-20 to apply for an F-1 Student Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his/her home country. The F-1 visa permits the student to enter the U.S. in F-1 student status and proceed to the academic institution which issued the form.
On entry to the U.S., the student presents a valid foreign passport containing the F-1 visa and the I-20 to an Immigration Officer. The officer will examine the documents and may ask specific questions related to the course of study. If satisfied with the documentation presented and the response to the questions, the officer will admit the student to the U.S. in F-1 "immigration status", will stamp the I-20, the foreign passport, and issue Form I-94.
International Students in F-1 "immigration status" are issued I-94 forms which do not contain an actual date of departure. Instead, the I-94 is noted D/S which stands for "Duration of Status". This means that an F-1 student can remain in the U.S. as long as the I-20 is valid and the student is in compliance with the F-1 regulations.