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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


One of the most important steps you need to complete prior to arriving at Georgia Southern is obtaining your student visa.  Georgia Southern does not issue the visa, but it does issue the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 – which are “Certificates of Eligibility” for F or J status.  This form shows the U.S. government that based on your documented funds and academic record, you are considered eligible to apply for a F-1 Student visa or J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and make an appointment for an interview at your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Remember! This 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 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 GSOU, 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.

Required Documents

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

3.) Bank Statement

4.) 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.

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 document to be prepared.

Where to Mail your Documents

If you are requesting an I-20 (for an F-1 visa), you can mail all documents to Ms. Tanya Brakhage (Statesboro) or Ms. Sara Nobles (Armstrong): You can contact our office at



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


If you are requesting a DS-2019(for a J-1 visa), you can mail all documents to Dr, Dorothee Mertz-Weigel (

For USPS, first class, and air mail: For express mail (UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc):
Dr. Dorothee Mertz-Weigel
P.O. Box 8106
Statesboro, GA 30460
Dr. Dorothee Mertz-Weigel
261 Forest Drive
Veazey Hall, Ste. 2021
Statesboro, GA 30458

After Requesting an I-20/DS-2019

  • Once you have been accepted and have submitted all of the SEVIS/visa documents, it will normally take 1 week to prepare your I-20 or DS-2019.  Once prepared, you will receive an e-mail with the next 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.

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

Last updated: 12/4/2018