Skip navigation

You are here


The Form I–20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" is a government form that tells the United States (U.S.) government officials that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status. It certifies that you:

  • Are or expect to be a student at a U.S. educational institution;

  • Meet our admissions requirements;

  • Will pursue a full course of study;

  • Proved to us that you have the financial resources 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 or status, or to keep lawful F-l status when transferring or changing schools within the U.S.

The Form I–20 is a legal document and must reflect accurate information. Changes in any of the categories listed below should be reported to ISP and a new I–20 should be requested.

  • name

  • country of citizenship

  • major

  • degree program

  • financial resources


Students are allowed to pursue full-time studies toward the completion of the program reflected on their I–20 up to that date. The date is reflected in item five on your I–20.

  • The completion date does not include the 12 months of Optional Practical Training employment a student may apply for based on completion of a program of study.

  • If a student completes the program of study prior to the completion date, the I–20 will automatically expire on the date the student completes their program of study. A student has an automatic grace period of 60 days upon the completion of studies to:

    • Depart the United States;

    • Gain admission to a new program of study;

    • Apply for a change of visa status.

  • Degree-seeking students unable to complete their program of study by the completion date must apply for a program extension with the International Student Program before the expiration date.

  • Students unable to complete their program of study by the completion date and who fail to extend their I–20 before it expires will violate legal status and overstay their visa.


60-Day Grace Period: DHS regulations automatically provide a 60-day grace period for F-1 students who complete a program of study. The 60-day grace period should be calculated from the date of completion. Students authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training have a 60-day grace period beginning from the date Optional Practical Training employment expires. Students who do not complete a program of study are not eligible for a 60-day grace period.

15-Day Grace Period: Students who elect to discontinue their program of study are not eligible for a 60-day grace period. Prior approval from the International Student Program is required before a student cancels classes or discontinues the program at the end of a term. Based on obtaining the prior approval from the International Student Program, a student has a 15-day grace period in which to depart the U.S. Students are strongly encouraged to obtain the 15-day grace period approval to avoid problems in reentering the United States.


While on the University of Minnesora, Morris campus, do not carry original I–20, I–94 or passport with you. Carry photo copies of these documents instead. Original are required when traveling outside of the University of Minnesota, Morris.