Requesting an I-20

Admitted students who wish to study with an F-1 visa status at Kennesaw State University must first obtain a Form I-20 from the International Student and Scholar Services Office. The I-20 is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security document that indicates the student’s eligibility to receive an F-1 visa and/or study in F-1 visa status. The student’s I-20 record, housed in the SEVIS system, contains certain biographical, educational, financial, and immigration information related to the student’s F-1 status. An I-20 is required to study on an F-1 status in the U.S.

Generally, there are three types of I-20s that can be requested upon admission. These depend on your current location and immigration status.

  • Students seeking an initial I-20 to attend KSU should submit:

    • Copy of passport identification page
    • Proof of funding, please see our Cost to Attend page for details   

    After admission, students will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their documents via the iStart online portal. Once the required documents are received and approved, an international student advisor will issue you an I-20 and provide you with mailing options. You must have the original I-20 when applying for your F-1 visa. For information about applying for your visa at the embassy, click here

  • Students seeking to transfer their I-20 to KSU should submit:

    • Copy of passport identification page
    • Proof of funding, please see our Cost to Attend page for details
    • Copies of F-1 visa status documents: visa, current I-20, and I-94
    • Transfer verification information completed online by current school

    After admission, students will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their documents via the iStart online portal. You should also contact your current school's international student advisor to discuss a date to transfer your I-20 to KSU. Please note that regulations require students to begin their studies within five months of their last day of class at their previous institution, or their last day of OPT. Once the I-20 is transferred, an advisor will update your I-20 with your new KSU information and provide you with mailing or pickup options.

    If you are intending to travel abroad before beginning your program at KSU, you must factor your I-20 transfer date into your travel plans. Transfer students must re-enter the U.S. with the I-20 from the school currently holding their SEVIS record. Discuss your travel plans with your international student advisor to determine the best time to transfer your I-20, and please ensure that you have a travel signature on the second page of your I-20 BEFORE leaving the United States.

    Transfer students are required by F-1 regulations to report to their new school within 15 days of the program start date.

  • Students who are in the U.S. with a valid non-immigrant status may be eligible to apply to USCIS to change their current status to F-1 from within the U.S. Students interested in changing their status from within the U.S. should read the considerations below and meet with an ISSSO advisor to review the requirements and determine the best course of action for their situation.

    • Consideration
      Apply for Visa at Embassy
      Apply for Change of Status in U.S.
    • Visa Restrictions
      Current B-1/B-2, C, or D visa holders may not begin studies until the F-1 status is approved.

      F-2 visa holders may only study part-time until the change of status is approved.

      K, M, and Visa Waiver holders may not apply for a Change of Status in the U.S.
    • Approval Wait Times
      Appointment dates can be scheduled on average within 30 days. Decisions are usually provided at appointment, unless the student is required to undergo further administrative processing.
      Approval is currently taking approximately 12 months.
    • Cost
      Student incurs expense of international travel. Please check your local embassy for visa application fees. The fees are typically less than $200.
      Please check the USCIS website for the current I-539 application and biometrics fees. 
    • Location
      Requires in-person interview at a U.S. embassy outside the U.S. An embassy in the student's home country is preferred.
      Student must apply to USCIS from within the U.S.
    • Visa Stamp
      Student receives F-1 visa stamp in passport to be used for entry into the U.S.
      Student receives status of an F-1 student and the corresponding benefits but does not receive the visa stamp. 
    • Travel
      Requires travel outside the U.S. to apply for visa. Once holding the visa, student may travel internationally provided the visa is valid and the student has not reached the permitted number of entries listed on the visa.
      Student must remain in the U.S. while the application is pending. Departing the U.S. could be considered abandonment of the visa application.

      Since no visa stamp is received upon approval, the student must apply for a visa at the embassy if they depart the U.S. and wish to re-enter.
    • Semester of Enrollment
      Prior to the I-20 program start date and entry into the U.S., a student may request a deferral to a later semester, if needed.
      Student must attend KSU full-time at the first available semester after the change of status approval. This is true even if the change of status is approved to begin in the summer semester. Please note that full-time in the summer is very rigorous.
    • Off-Campus Employment
      If applying for a visa in the middle of their studies, student should speak to an advisor about any impacts to CPT or OPT.
      Student should speak to an advisor about when they may qualify for CPT or OPT.
    • In Case of Denial
      Student must reapply for the visa.
      Student must depart the U.S. or continue in their current status (if applicable.)

    Also see our Change of Status handout here.


Receiving Your I-20

On the I-20 request e-Form in iStart, students may select their preferred method for receiving their I-20. The options are below for your reference.

  • This option may take up to 8 days. The I-20 will be sent by USPS mail to the address indicated on your application or to a designated friend or relative. There is NO tracking on this type of mail, but it is a good option for students abroad who wish for a family member or friend within the U.S. to expedite it to them overseas.

  • Students or a designated friend or relative may make an appointment to pick up an I-20 using this link. 

  • Students may arrange for courier service through e-Ship Global. With this service, students choose their preferred courier and make the payment through the website. Our office is then notified and the I-20 is prepared for pick-up. To request courier service, follow these steps:

    1. Log into iStart. Navigate to the Admissions tab and choose the Shipping Label e-form.
    2. Once you complete the e-form, you will be redirected to the eShip Global website to create and account and pay for your shipping.

    Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your I-20.

    If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for step-by-step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail