How to Obtain the Form I-20: Your Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status

Please follow the directions completely to avoid delays in receiving your I-20. After receiving all necessary documents, Hiram issues the Form I-20 and sends it to the student by courier for use in the visa application and interview process.

Addressing Correspondence and Questions:

Nicole Gatrell
Director, International Student Services
Hiram College
Office for International Student Services
11715 Garfield Rd./P.O. Box 67
Hiram, OH 44234 U.S.A.
Phone: +1-330.569.5388
Fax: +1-330.569.5183
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Now that you are planning to be a student, there are things you cannot do:

  • Do not enter the U.S. for study with a B-1, B-2 or B-1/2 Visa. If you use a B visa to enter the U.S. you are saying "I'm here as a visitor" only. Since you have applied to our school for study, this would be viewed as a "fraudulent entry" and you could be refused permission to stay longer than six months or to extend or change your status. Do not listen to people who say it is easy to enter the country as a visitor and change your status. It is not true! B visitors are prohibited by U.S. law from pursuing a course of study prior to obtaining a change of status to F-1 student.
  • If your study plans are not certain and you want to enter the U.S. to visit schools, you must explain this on your visa application and ask the visa officer for a B-2 visa with the words "Prospective Student" noted on it or have the words added to your B visa if you already have one.

What is a Form I-20 and why do you need one?

A Form I-20 is a government form issued by a college that tells the U.S. government you are eligible for F-1 Student Status. It certifies that (1) you are, or expect to be, a "bona fide" student; 2) you meet our admission requirements; (3) you will pursue a full course of study; (4) you proved to us that you have enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or suffering from poverty.

You need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa to enter the country or to keep lawful F-1 status when transferring or changing schools within the U.S.

I-20 PROCESS

General Guidelines for Obtaining Your Form I-20

    1. You must be a "bona fide" student, accepted to a full-time program of study.
    2. You must prove to us that you can support the costs of living and studying in the U.S. for every year of your program of study at Hiram College. This is required by the U.S. Government in order for the College to issue the Form I-20.
    3. Do not expect that you will be able to work in the U.S. to help meet your annual costs. On-campus employment is limited and competitive; off-campus employment is strictly controlled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and only permissible in certain circumstances.
    4. Carefully review Hiram's "Annual Costs for 2014-2015." This is the amount that you must prove that you can support for each year in your program of study.
    5. The "Annual Costs for 2014-2015" represents a modest average budget that does not include luxuries of any kind. We strongly recommend that you budget at least 10% more if possible. Too little money causes pain and distress. Students and their families should look closely at the costs of living and studying and make careful plans to be sure your needs will be met.
    6. Expect Annual Increases of 4% - 5% per year in the cost of housing and food.
    7. Have your parents and/or sponsor(s) complete an Affidavit(s) of Support and send the required evidence.
    8. Submit Sponsor's Affidavit(s) of Support and financial evidence to us electronically in scanned copies. Do not send originals. Keep the originals to take to your Visa Interview.

Annual Costs for 2014-2015

  • Tuition/Fees - $30,290
  • Room and Board (standard double) - $10,060
  • Health Insurance and Orientation Fee - $1,190
  • Books, Supplies, Travel, and Personal Expenses - $2,995

TOTAL $44,535

Required Forms

There are several sequential steps required to receive a Form I–20 from Hiram College. The Form I-20 is issued only after a student has been offered admission and submitted the following:

  • Non-refundable USD$200 enrollment deposit
  • International Student Profile which lists intended major(s)
  • Clear copy of the passport biography page(s) including those that show passport number and expiration date
  • Certificate of Finances detailing your four year financial plan to meet educational and living expenses
  • Affidavit(s) of Sponsorship filled out from your sponsor(s)
  • Documentation of financial capability from each funding source listed on the Certificate of Finances and Affidavit(s) of Sponsorship
  • Verification of Status form (required only from students already studying in the U.S. with an F-1 visa)

Forms are available online (#2 under Enrollment Checklist -Applying for the F-1 Student Visa )

Funding Sources

Total funds attested on the Certificate of Finances must be sufficient to meet the estimated annual cost of education at Hiram College. To calculate the minimum amount of financial resources which must be reflected on the Certificate of Finances, subtract any funds awarded to you by Hiram College from the estimated total costs. Students may show more than the minimum resources needed if the documentation of financial capability supports it.

While international students are eligible to work on campus in non-federal, work-study jobs, these potential earnings cannot be included as a financial resource on the Form I-20. Campus jobs are limited in number and are not guaranteed. Students are responsible for finding on-campus employment.

Your funding can come in any combination of sources from the U.S. or abroad:

  1. Scholarship Funds from Hiram. Scholarships do no cover the entire program of study or all expenses, so you will need additional support to meet your minimum annual costs.
  2. Personal Funds come from your own resources, not those of your parents/relatives. We will ask you to submit documentation.
  3. Funds from "Sponsors" (parents, relatives, friends, organizations). You may have as many sponsors as you need.

Visa Tips

  • If possible, it is highly recommended that at least part of your financial support come from your home country. This helps when you apply for your student visa.
  • A sponsor should promise only as much money as he or she is capable of giving you. Some sponsors believe that the more money they promise the easier it will be to get your I-20. THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR REJECTION OF FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS IS THAT IT IS CLEARLY EVIDENT THE SPONSOR CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE AS MUCH MONEY AS PROMISED. A sponsor should promise only what he or she intends to give and only as much as can be afforded.

 

How to Complete the Certificate of Finances and Affidavit(s) of Support

  1. Complete all forms using BLUE ink.
  2. Everyone attesting to financial support must be listed in the appropriate section on the Certificate of Finances:

    • "Student's Personal Funds" identify bank accounts or other funds in the student's name.

    • "Sponsor(s)" are defined as persons other than you who are willing to provide a portion or all of your education expenses. These may include parents, uncle, aunt, grandparent, guardian, family business partner, friend, etc. List all sponsors who will be providing funds for you.

    • "Government/Agency scholarship, loan, or other funding" list all such resources.

  3. Funds must be listed in U.S. dollars.
  4. Certificates without student signature and date in the lower right-hand box are not valid.
  5. A clear financial plan for all four years must be evident in the supporting documentation that accompanies the Certificate of Finances.

Requirements for Financial Documentation

The College is required to review financial documentation of funds listed on the Certificate of Finances and Affidavit(s) of Sponsorship before issuing the Form I-20.

The following guidelines apply when gathering all financial documentation:

  1. Be less than three months old.
  2. Be in English. (We cannot review documents that are not in English.) Documentation not in English must be accompanied by an official English translation (signed and/or stamped as a true translation of the original).
  3. Documentation of readily available funds for the complete first year must be provided. Typical documentation includes a bank statement(s) reflecting funds available for the full first year of study.
  4. Provide documentation of the source of funds for years beyond year 1. Examples of acceptable documentation would be proof of income such as salary, investment income, or income from a family business.
  5. If supported by a Government/Agency scholarship or loan, provide a copy of the official award letter.
  6. Legible scanned copies sent electronically are acceptable. However, Hiram College reserves the right to require original documents should there be a need for further review.

Visa Tips

Financial documentation must be less than six months old when applying for a Visa.

The U.S. Consul/Embassy requires original documents.

Sponsor Support

  1. Sponsor's Affidavit of Sponsorship: This form may be copied for each sponsor. All questions must be answered.
  2. Proof of Income

    Individual Sponsor (any of the following):

    • Income tax returns or receipts with most recent pay stub
    • Pay stubs for last six months
    • Salary Letter with recent pay stubs
    • Investment Statements for last 6 months

    Company Sponsor

    • Provide tax returns and business registration and licenses.
    • If a student is supported by income from a family business, documentation must include either an official tax record showing annual business income OR accountant certification of annual business income (revenue minus expenses).
    • Please note that the income of a company is not the income of the owner of the business and will not be accepted as proof of income. The owner/sponsor must still provide proof of income as well as the business registration and licenses.


  3. Bank Statement in the name of the sponsor only. Monthly statements of balances and deposits for the last 6 months. Letters from bank officials are not accepted. Typical bank statements show date of account opening, current account balance, average account balance, deposits, and withdrawals. Bank statements should be printed on bank letterhead or signed and stamped by a bank official.

    • If there is no proof of income provided with a bank statement, the statement balance will be totaled and divided by the number of years in your program of study to determine the amount available to you for each year.
    • Bank statements that do not specify monthly balances and deposits. Are not accepted.
    • If a bank statement is in the name of more than one person, each individual on the account must submit an Affidavit of Support.

Student's Personal Funds

  1. Bank/Asset Statement in your name: monthly statement of balances and deposits for the past 6 months.
  2. The statement balance will be totaled and divided by the number of years in your program of study to determine the amount available to you for each year.
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