What is an I-20?

An I-20 is a U.S. immigration document issued by a university to certify that an F-1 student has met admission requirements and has proof of sufficient financial resources for his/her studies. An I-20 is required to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Newly admitted international students that have paid a deposit should request an I-20. The Office of Global Services (OGS) encourages you to submit your initial I-20 request as soon as possible because the visa process takes time.

Who is an Initial student?

New international students coming from outside the U.S. that are seeking F-1 visa status.

Who is a Transfer Student?

The Office of Global Services (OGS) can help students in F-1 visa status transfer their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record from their current U.S. institution to Northeastern University. 


It is important that you work with the Designated School Official (DSO) at your current school’s international student office on the specific process and required documentation needed to complete your transfer out request. As your current school holds your SEVIS record, you must first start the transfer process there. 

After completion of the transfer out process, your current institution will set a transfer release date for your SEVIS record. This is the date that your record will be transferred to Northeastern University. In general, your transfer release date has to be within 60 days from your program completion. 

Please be sure to confirm with your current school that your record will be transferred to the correct campus at Northeastern. Campus locations include Boston, Seattle, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Charlotte. 

Your I-20 form from Northeastern cannot be issued until you complete the required steps of requesting a Transfer I-20 with OGS. In addition, your I-20 cannot be issued until your SEVIS record has been released by your transfer out school to Northeastern. 


You can submit a Transfer I-20 request only afteryou have been officially admitted to a full-time program of study.  At that time, you will then be able to submit an electronic I-20 request through myOGS. OGS encourages you to submit your Transfer I-20 request as soon as possible to provide ample time for the issuance of the I-20 prior to your enrollment. 

Who is a Change of Status student?

Students currently in the US in an immigration status other than F-1 or J-1 that wish to change their immigration status to an F-1 or J-1.  There are two options to change to a F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2 non-immigrant status if you are currently in the U.S. on a different non-immigrant status. Learn what those two options are and which one is better for you.   

If you are currently in the U.S. in a non-immigrant status (B-1/B-2, F-1, F-2, H-1b or H-4) and would like to change to a different non-immigrant status (F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2) there are two options: 

  • Option 1: You may travel outside of the U.S., apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy with all required materials, and re-enter the U.S. in the new status. This option is often referred to as Consular Processing. 
  • Option 2: You may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change your status without leaving the U.S. by completing Form I-539 Application to extend/change your non-immigrant status. This process can take between 6 and 9 months and it is recommended you do not travel while your application is in process. 

Please note: If your change of status application is approved by USCIS, you will be in your new status, but you will not have a corresponding visa reflecting the new status. As a result, you will need to apply for a new visa stamp the next time you travel outside of the U.S. in order to re-enter the U.S. in your new status. 

To learn more about change of status and see which option is best for you,  please schedule an appointment with an advisor at the Office of Global Services (OGS) by calling 617-373-2310. 

Video: Change to F-1 Student Status 

Video: Change to F-1 Student Status within the U.S. 



We don’t recommend traveling outside of the U.S. while your application with USCIS is still pending. If you can’t avoid traveling, please consult with OGS beforehand as you may need to reach out to USCIS to withdraw your application prior to traveling and submit a new I-20 request with OGS. 


In order to be eligible for both CPT and OPT, you must have completed one academic year. One academic year is defined as two semesters or three quarters that meet minimum F-1 full-time enrollment requirements. It is possible for you to use your time in another status towards meeting the one academic year. If you are interested in this, please call OGS to schedule an appointment with an advisor. NOTE: OGS is not able to verify the term that you will be eligible for CPT or OPT until your change of status has been approved and you have successfully moved into F-1 status. 

How to prepare and submit an online request:

After confirming your enrollment, you will be able to submit an electronic I-20 request through myOGS.

1 Confirm your Enrollment

You are required to confirm your enrollment by following the instructions on your official decision letter, which may include arranging to pay (e.g. by credit card) an enrollment deposit. This transaction is required of all admitted students before they initiate the I-20 process.

Most students can login to their application account/official decision letter using one of the following links: 

2 Required documents for the I-20 request e-form. They must be in digital format of PDF or JPEG.

3 Access the I-20 request e-form.

Click here to submit your I-20 request.