Most nonimmigrant students enter the United States with the legal status of an F-1 (student) visa and continue in that status throughout their period of study. To apply for an F-1 visa, a student needs a government document called a Certificate of Eligibility, or Form I-20, that is issued to the student by the college that the student will attend. A college must receive government permission to issue these I-20 forms.
Form I-20 & Verification
Before issuing an I-20, a college is required by law to verify that prospective students have:
- Academic ability
- English language proficiency
- Financial support for the intended program of study.
Carroll College issues an I-20 for a prospective F-1 student after the student has been accepted for studies and has provided evidence of full financial support for the expenses of living and studying here for the proposed period of time.
F-1 Visa Application Procedures
Prospective students who are outside the United States may use the I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Each prospective student should learn the details of the procedure by checking the Web site of the embassy or consulate where he or she will apply.
Filing Your I-20 Form
A student may receive I-20 forms from many colleges, but he or she may use only one of them to apply for a student visa. The student is then required to begin the studies at the college whose I-20 was used in the application for the visa.
U.S. Based Students & Transfer Students
Prospective students who are already inside the United States with a different valid legal status may be eligible to apply for a change from that status to F-1 status by action of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. That application will also require a Form I-20.
Prospective students who are already F-1 visa students at another U.S. school may be eligible for a legal procedure to transfer their student status from their current school to Carroll College without departing from the United States and without applying directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Each of these prospective transfer students receives detailed instructions and assistance from staff members of the Office of International Admission when the Carroll College I-20 is issued.