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Applying for an I-20/DS-2019

One of the most important steps you need to complete prior to arriving at Georgia Southern is obtaining your student visa.  The Office of International Programs and Services is here to help you understand the student visa application process and the materials necessary for successfully obtaining your visa.  Please read this section thoroughly and carefully to make sure you understand your requirements.  A new I-20 or DS-2019 is required when changing level of study, and/or schools within the U.S. Remember! This process takes time to complete, so you should begin as soon as possible!

Deadline for students beginning Summer (May): April 15, 2018.
Deadline for students beginning Fall (August): July 15, 2018.

IMPORTANT: If it is near the deadline and you are still pending admission or pending a Graduate Assistantship offer, you should still submit all your documentation before the deadline.

Which type of visa do I need?

F-1 Visa

Students who wish to pursue a full degree and formally graduate from Georgia Southern University should apply for an F-1 (student) visa. Students who apply for an F-1 visa will need to be regularly admitted to Georgia Southern and will need to obtain a Form I-20 from the university. Students who plan to complete bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or study in the English Language Program should apply for an F-1 visa.

J-1 Visa

Students who would like to study at Georgia Southern University from a school that has an approved exchange agreement with GSU, or you have a government scholarship to study in the U.S. under an approved exchange or scholarship program, should apply for a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa. Exchange students and scholars who plan to study and/or conduct research at Georgia Southern for one semester or one academic year should apply for a J-1 visa and will need to obtain a DS-2019 from the university.

Students attending Georgia Southern on exchange are encouraged to visit the Exchange Student Information page for complete information on their application process.

How to apply for an I-20/DS-2019

Regardless of the type of visa you wish to obtain, you need to send GSU the following items:

1.)A copy of your passport photo identification page

2.) SEVIS Data Form

  • Please save this form to your computer.  You can then fill it out and print or email it.
  • If you already have F-1/J-1 visa status, you will also need to fill out the SEVIS Transfer Form.
  • If you are requesting a change of academic level here at GSU, please complete SEVIS Data Form for Change of Level.

3.) Bank Statement

  • Here is a sample SEVIS Financial Statement (pdf) that you may show your bank.
  • SEVIS Financial Documentation Requirements (pdf): This document states exactly how much funds are required.
  • We cannot accept electronic copies of financial documents unless it is sent directly from the bank.  Otherwise, we must have the physical, original document before an I-20/DS-2019 can be issued.

4.) SEVIS Financial Source Form

  • Please complete and sign this form to indicate what your source of funding will be.  If you are being supported by a guarantor, they must also complete and sign the form.

5.) SEVIS Dependent Information Form

  • This form is optional.  You’ll only need to complete it if you have a spouse or child who will be accompanying you in F-2 or J-2 status.

If you are requesting an I-20 (for an F-1 visa), you can mail all documents to Ms. Tanya Brakhage (

For USPS, first class, and air mail: For express mail (UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc):
Tanya Brakhage
P.O. Box 8106
Statesboro, GA 30460
Tanya Brakhage
5539 Forest Drive
Forest Dr. Bldg., Room #1322
Statesboro, GA 30458

If you are requesting a DS-2019 (for a J-1 visa), you can mail all documents to Ms. Danielle Smith (

For USPS, first class, and air mail: For express mail (UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc):
Ms. Danielle Smith
P.O. Box 8106
Statesboro, GA 30460
Ms. Danielle Smith
5539 Forest Drive
Forest Dr. Bldg., Room #1313C
Statesboro, GA 30458

Next Steps

  • Once you have been accepted and have submitted all of the SEVIS/visa documents, it will normally take 3-5 business days to prepare your I-20 or DS-2019.  Once prepared, you will receive an e-mail with thenext steps.  Please refer to the Study in the States website as a primary reference.
  • Please review all the information in the email to ensure that everything is correct.  When you’ve verified that it is correct, you will respond to the email with your choice of shipping method for the document.  You can choose airmail for free (which could take 6 weeks or longer in some rural areas), but we recommend using the express service.  Your document will reach you in a much shorter amount of time and will include a tracking number.  You’ll find details on both these options in the email.
  • Your e-mail message will also contain the information you need to pay the I-901 fee. This fee must be paid at least three days before your F-1/J-1 visa appointment or entry to the U.S. if a visa is not required.  When paying the fee online, print at least two receipts.  Take the receipt (Form I-797) with you to your visa appointment and keep it permanently with your I-20/DS-2019 forms.
  • You will need to make a visa appointment at the appropriate U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or Diplomatic Mission.  Consult the U.S. Department of State for valuable information on what you will need for your visa appointment.  Among other things, remember to take your I-20/DS-2019, letter of acceptance, I-901 payment receipt, and financial documentation with you.   An F-1/J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that you will need to demonstrate that you intend to return to your home country after your studies are complete.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last updated: 11/15/2017