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How to Apply for an I-20/DS-2019


Students do not need to wait until they are admitted to submit the information required to obtain the Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Deadlines for Requesting an I-20/DS-2019:
Students beginning in the Spring (January): December 1
Students beginning in the Summer (May): April 15

Students beginning in the Fall (August): July 1


What is a Form I-20/DS-2019?

Form I-20’s and Form DS-2019’s are “Certificates of Eligibility” for F or J status. These forms show the U.S. government that you are considered eligible to apply for a F-1 Student visa or J-1 Exchange Visitor visa based on your documented funds and academic record. After receiving an I-20/Ds-2019, you may schedule an appointment for a visa interview at your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Note: Georgia Southern issues the I-20/DS-2019, but does not issue the visa. 

Remember! The I-20/DS-2019 application process takes time to complete, so you should begin as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: If it is near the deadline to submit documents for your I-20 and you are still pending admission, Graduate Assistantship or a scholarship, you should still submit all your documentation before the deadline.


Determining Your Visa Category

F-1 (Student) Visa

  • Students wishing to pursue a full degree and formally graduate from Georgia Southern University including…
    • Bachelor’s degrees
    • Master’s degrees
    • Doctoral degrees
    • Studying in the English Language Program (ELP)
  • F-1 visa students will need to be regularly admitted to Georgia Southern and will need to obtain a Form I-20 from the university

J-1 (Exchange Visitor) Visa

  • Students from a school with an approved exchange agreement with Georgia Southern
  • Students with government scholarships to study in the U.S. under an approved exchange or scholarship program
  • Exchange students/scholars who plan to study and/or conduct research at Georgia Southern for one semester or one academic year
  • J-1 visa students will need to obtain a DS-2019 from the university.
  • Exchange Students MUST visit the Exchange Student Information page for information on their DS-2019 application process.

Required Documents for I-20

F-1 visa applicants must send the following items:

1.) A copy of your passport photo identification page

2.) I-20 Request Form

3.)Original Bank Statement

4.) SEVIS Transfer In Form: If you already have F-1/J-1 visa status.

5.) Dependent I-20 Request Form: If you have a spouse or child who will be accompanying you in F-2 status
6.) Change of Level Form: If you are requesting a change of academic level here at Georgia Southern

Tips on Applying for an I-20/DS-2019

  • Mail all your paperwork together.  Sending separate documents may cause a delay in your processing.
  • In order to prioritize your paperwork and ensure timely deliver, mail your documents well before the deadline.
  • Utilize a tracking service to ensure delivery.  Time we spend confirming the receipt of your documents may delay your processing.
  • Do NOT put our office number in your tracking information.  Due to the volume of paperwork we receive, we cannot track your individual package.
  • Please allow up to 1 week for your I-20/DS-2019 to be prepared after all documents are received.

Where to Mail your Documents

I-20 (F-1 Visa)

You can mail all documents to Ms. Audrey Faulkner (Statesboro) or Ms. Sara Nobles (Armstrong): You can contact our office at international@georgiasouthern.edu.

StatesboroStatesboroArmstrong
For USPS, first class, and air mail:For express mail (UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc):For all mail:
Audrey Faulkner
P.O. Box 8106
Statesboro, GA 30460
Audrey Faulkner
261 Forest Drive
Veazey Hall, Ste. 2021
Statesboro, GA 30458
Sara Nobles
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31419

DS-2019 (J-1 Visa)

If you are requesting a DS-2019(for a J-1 visa), you can mail all documents to Ms. Kristin R. Karam (kkaram@georgiasouthern.edu):

For USPS, first class, and air mail:For express mail (UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc):
Ms. Kristin R. Karam
P.O. Box 8106
Statesboro, GA 30460
Ms. Kristin R. Karam
261 Forest Drive
Veazey Hall, Ste. 2021
Statesboro, GA 30458

After Requesting an I-20/DS-2019

  • It will normally take 1 week to prepare your I-20 or DS-2019 once you have been accepted and have submitted all of the SEVIS/visa documents.  When your I-20 is prepared, you will receive an e-mail with the next steps on how to receive it, as well as the next steps in the visa process. 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 email 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. 

See more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about obtaining a visa.

Last updated: 6/25/2019