Request for I-20

About the Application for Visa Certificate of Eligibility (I-20)

Congratulations on your admission to Bates College and welcome to the International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) web site for submission of your Application for Visa Certificate of Eligibility (I-20).

Who needs an I-20?

  • Students who have never studied in the United States.
  • Students who are transferring from another school, college or university in the United States
  • Students who are returning from a leave of absence greater than 5 months.

The I-20 is a document issued by the ISSS for an admitted student that is evidence of your eligibility for a non-immigrant student status in the United States. New students who will study in F-1 Student status receive an I-20 form. You must obtain your I-20 form before you may apply for an F-1 entry visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad or a change of status if you are already in the U.S. in another status.

Canadian nationals do not need visas to enter the U.S. but must apply for an I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee before appearing at immigration inspection at a port of entry.

Transfering Your SEVIS record to Bates College

  1. Print out and give the Transfer In Form to your school’s Designated School Official (DSO) for their signature. Your school’s DSO will release your SEVIS record to Bates College on or soon after the date of your graduation (from a US high school) or at the time you are ready to transfer from another college to Bates.
  2. Complete the information on the Transfer-In Google Doc.
  3. After you receive email from the ISSS that your I-20 is ready, go to the Bates EshipGlobal page to make mailing arrangements.

Bottom of Form

  1. In general, your I-20 will be ready to send to you about four weeks after we have a COMPLETE Application. (Link to your application is at the end of this page.)
  2. All I-20’s are sent by regular postal mail. It can take anywhere from 5-25 days for arrival. If you prefer to receive your I-20 by FedEx (or DHL service for locations outside of the U.S.) you may use our E-Ship Global software to pre-pay for your shipment. Your Certificate of Eligibility will arrive 2 to 6 business days after shipment, depending upon your location and the courier service that is used.

Supporting Documentation

Submit your documents by email to Do not submit them to any other email address or by postal mail, fax or courier service.

The ISSS accepts scans of your documents although the college reserves the right to request original documents. The U.S. Department of State does not accept faxed, scanned or emailed I-20 forms for purposes of visa issuance.

How to send your supporting documents

By Email to:

Scan your documents in pdf format only. Submissions in any other format will not be accepted and reviewed. Do not take photos with your phone and send .jpeg or .tiff files. You will receive a reply from ISSS confirming that your email was received.

Do not send your documents to any other email address; they will not be accepted and reviewed.

If you prefer to mail your documents, you may use EshipGlobal.

Everyone must submit the following documents:

  • Newly admitted students submit the letter or email of admission from the admissions office at Bates.
  • Students returning from a leave of absence must submit the letter or email approving their return to Bates from the appropriate dean or the college.
  • The identification page of your passport. If you do not have a passport, be sure to enter your name on the I-20 application form EXACTLY as it is on your passport application. Expired or soon to expire passports are accepted. You do not have to update your passport number until you arrive in the U.S.
  • If you have received any financial award from Bates College, you must include the award letter.


F-1 Student Classification

Students in F-1 student status are required to study full-time during the academic year. Bates College commonly defines full-time study as registration for 3 or more courses.

Transfer Students Currently or Recently in F-1 Status

If you already hold F-1 status or were in F-1 status within the last 60 days, you can transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to Bates. In addition to submitting the request for the AVC and supporting documents, you must also submit photocopies of all pages of previous I-20 forms, as well as photocopies of both sides of your I-94 card or a copy of your I-94 electronic document. You must also submit a completed transfer form that is signed by the international office at your current school.

Visa Application Process Overview

  1. Consistency of Name Spelling: The spelling of your name must be EXACTLY the same on your passport, your I-20 from Bates College and your entry visa.
  2. Apply for the F-1 entry visa as soon as you receive your I-20. Each Consulate has its own application requirements and process; a list of all Embassy and Consulate web sites is at
  3. You will need to present proof of the required SEVIS fee payment. This fee is paid online by completing Form I-901 at or through Western Union. BE SURE to print your payment receipt.
  4. You must submit the online Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application). U.S. Embassies and Consulates requiring Form-DS-160 may be found at It is very important to follow the instructions for completing the online application form. Be sure to print and keep the page with the barcode and bring it to your appointment.
  5. The DS-160 online visa application form requires your address in the United States. If you DO NOT KNOW where you will live, you can use the address of the ISSS Office for the “School address” in Box 2 of your I-20 form (F-1 Student). The address is ISSS, 9 Andrews Rd, 124 Roger Williams Hall Lewiston, ME 04240.
  6. The Consular Visa Officer may require evidence (in addition to the certification on your form I-20) of English proficiency sufficient to pursue your proposed program of studies or evidence of ties to your country of citizenship. The length of visa validity, number of entries permitted, and application fee are based on reciprocity and generally reflect your country’s policies in granting visa privileges to visiting U.S. students. The Consular Visa Officer has the final word on your application; his or her judgment is not subject to review.
  7. DO NOT BUY your airline ticket until you have received your passport with your entry visa back from the Consulate.
  8. U.S. Consulates require original documents with your application for an F-1 student visa. Consular standards for visa eligibility may be considerably more rigorous than the standards you must meet to qualify for a form I-20. Review the information on the Consulate’s web site so that you are adequately prepared.
  9. If your I-20 is late in arriving, contact your school to learn the last day that you can arrive and register for the semester. Do NOT enter the United States in Visitor status (B-1, B-2, WT, or WB). Those in B-1/B-2/WT/WB status are not permitted to attend class and are in violation of their Visitor status if they do so. Therefore, you must wait to obtain the F-1 visa before coming to the United States to study at Bates.

Online Application for Visa Certificate (I-20)

On-Line Application Link for first time students

On-Line Application Link for transfer students