International Student Services

Obtaining an I-20

New and current International Students may need to obtain an I-20 in order to enter the United States or to maintain their status, or for a variety of other reasons.  This page provides information about the I-20, how to obtain it, and what materials must be submitted as part of the application process.

General Information

The I-20 is also known as the Certificate of Eligibility.  The initial I-20 that international students at Lewis receive is issued by the Lewis University Admissions Office.  It is one of the documents you must present to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to apply for a student visa (if you are entering the University from abroad) or maintain your non-immigrant student status (if you are already in the United States).  If you are coming to the U.S. for the first time as a Lewis University F-1 student you will also be asked to present evidence of your financial support, your English language ability, and your academic qualifications.  You will also be asked to show that you have strong ties to your home country and plan to return home when you have completed your education in the United States.

Undergraduate Applicants

The International Undergraduate admissions application contains both the application for admission as well as the application for an I-20/IAP-66.  All materials should be returned to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. 

  • The Office of Undergraduate admissions will evaluate your application and determine whether or not to grant you admission.

  • Once you have been accepted, the Undergraduate Admissions notifies the Office of International Services and we generate an I-20/IAP-66. It is important that you send all required documentation with your application for admission. If your application is complete, the I-20 or IAP-66 will be mailed along with your acceptance letter. If you have not sent your financial documentation, the Office of International Services will not be able to issue the I-20 or IAP-66 until we receive it. 

  • Undergraduate applicants do not need to pay the $35.00 orientation fee until you confirm your admission. Confirming your admission is completed once you return the confirmation sheet and deposit. 

If you are already in the U.S., follow the instructions above. You must also take the Immigration Transfer Recommendation Form to your current International Student Advisor. S/he must complete the form and fax it to our office at 815/838-8092. Please pay special attention to the question that asks whether you plan to travel before beginning your studies. If you are traveling, your I-20 will be mailed to you and you should re-enter the United States using the Lewis University  I-20. If you are not traveling, your I-20 will be held in this office until you arrive. At that time, you will complete the immigration transfer procedure and your I-20 will be given to you. 

Graduate Applicants

  • Graduate students should obtain the application for admissions by contacted the Graduate School. They may be contacted by the Internet, telephone or fax.
    • Graduate students must also submit an application for an I-20 or IAP-66.
  • The department in which you are seeking admission will evaluate your application and make their decision whether or not to grant you admission to the University. The Office of International Student Services usually receives notification from the department, but it is in your best interest to submit a copy of your acceptance letter to our department as well.
  • The Office of International Student Service will keep track of all materials you have submitted to this office (see I20/IAP-66 application requirements below) and, upon receiving notification that you have been admitted, mail you your I-20.

  • If you submit your application for admission without submitting all necessary materials you may experience a delay in receiving your I-20 as it takes some time for our office to receive and process your application. It is in your best interest to submit both the admission application and all supporting documents (including bank statements, TOEFL scores, official transcripts, etc. at the same time.  You need not pay the orientation fee until you are notified of your admissions. The I-20 will not be sent to you, however, until all required documents, including the fee, are received in this office.

Required Documentation

  1. Financial documentation: You must document that you will pay all required tuition and fees while studying in the United States. This generally takes the form of a combination of a bank statement and and affidavit of support from your parents.  You must show an amount equal to $25,250 in order to be issued an I-20 unless you have been granted a scholarship or Graduate Assistantship at Lewis.

  2. Orientation fee of $65.00 (non-refundable ~ mail to our office or include credit card number on application

  3. A copy of your acceptance letter.

If you do not yet know whether you have been admitted, please return items one and two to the Office of International Services as soon as possible. If you wait to begin your I-20/IAP-66 application until after you know you have been admitted, you may experience a delay in receiving your I-20 or IAP-66 in time to begin your studies in the semester you currently intend.

Definitions

  1. Certificate of Eligibility:  The document that is issued by Lewis University to enable you to apply for a student visa (if you are entering the University from abroad) or maintain your non-immigrant student status (if you are already in the United States)
    • I-20:  The document that is issued in order to apply for an F-1 non-immigrant student visa

    • IAP-66: The document that is issued in order to apply for J-1 Exchange Visitor Student Status.  Lewis does not currently have permission to issue IAP-66's, however, students and scholars on an exchange visitor program sponsored by an international organization or the U.S. Government may come to Lewis.
  2. Visa:   A visa is stamp placed inside your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  A visa allows you to come to the border of the United States and to request permission from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to enter the United States. The I-94 Record of Arrival/Departure determines how long you may stay after you arrive. Your visa stamp, therefore, does not need to be renewed while you remain in this country (unless you plan to leave the USA and re-enter).  If you leave the USA and want to re-enter the USA, there are certain conditions you must meet.  If you have been in valid F-1 status and will be gone less than 5 months, you still need a valid visa, but you may use your previous I-20 as long as it is endorsed on the back.  If you will be gone for 5 months or more, you will need a new I-20, transcripts, and proof of financial support, as well as a new visa stamp.

If you are transferring to Lewis University from another U.S. Institution

Follow the instructions above. You must also take the last page of the application to your current International Student Advisor who must be an INS authorized "Designated School Official."  S/he must complete the form and fax it to our office. Please pay special attention to the question that asks whether you plan to travel before beginning your studies. If you are traveling, your I-20 will be mailed to you and you should re-enter the United States using Lewis University‚Äôs I-20. If you are not traveling, your I-20 will be held in this office until you arrive. At that time, you will complete the immigration transfer procedure and your I-20 will be given to you.

Current Lewis University Students who need to obtain a new I-20

Current Lewis University students may need to obtain a new I-20 for a variety of reasons.  You may need a new I-20 due to:

  • Dependents who need an I-20 to enter the United States to join you
  • Change in major
  • Change in degree including level
  • Lost previously issued I-20
  • Traveling outside the U.S. for 5 months or more
  • Previous I-20 is expiring

If any of these circumstances apply to you, you should come to the ISS with new documentation showing your financial support, evidence that you have maintained your status, and a completed application for an I-20.

Additional Information

If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please contact the Office of International Services at iss@lewisu.edu