The Office of Graduate Admission issues, administers, and advises on all I-20s for incoming undergraduate and graduate students
Last updated 6/19/2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USC I-20 Processing has been unable to print and mail out I-20s in significant quantities. However, I-20s are still being generated daily for distribution to students. The Department of Homeland Security has now announced that schools will be permitted to electronically send out I-20 certificates that have been digitally signed. International students who have been admitted, submitted their statement of intent, and paid their commitment deposit (if applicable) will now receive digital I-20s.
Scholarship recipients: Because I-20s do not list scholarship information this year, please bring to your visa interview a copy of your scholarship letter as well as a printed copy of the report on your FAST page, which shows the dollar amount of your scholarship.
Note: This currently applies to certified USC students admitted to the 2020 Summer and Fall semesters.
Accessing Your Electronic I-20
The I-20 will be issued to you approximately seven business days after you submit your Statement of Intent (certifying) or transfer your SEVIS record from your current U.S. institution to USC. Your I-20 will be "shared" to your USC email from a unique folder administered by USC I-20 Processing. You must log into your USC email in order to receive the I-20. It cannot be shared to your personal email due to security concerns as well as email reporting compliance standards with the US Department of Homeland Security. Access will not be granted to any email other than your USC email.
USC does not have an application to request an I-20 -- your documents will automatically be issued to your USC email.
All committed students must claim their NetID/email within one to three business days after certifying/paying any applicable commitment deposit. Once your NetID is activated, please log into your email at https://google.usc.edu with your @usc.edu email. If you have another USC email (e.g. @marshall.usc.edu, @lawmail.usc.edu, etc) you must use your standard @usc.edu email to retrieve your I-20.
Admitted Undergraduate Students:
USC will begin issuing I-20s to committed undergraduate students beginning in late April.
Your I-20 will be issued to you only after receipt and review of sufficient financial documents, statement of personal or family support, and a copy of your passport. Guidelines for acceptable financial support can be found here. Dual citizens should choose one citizenship and corresponding passport to submit to appear on your I-20.
Undergraduate students will be contacted directly if submitted documents are missing or insufficient upon review.
Committed students currently attending US high schools or colleges will receive instructions to transfer their SEVIS record to USC. Students transferring from a US high school or college must also submit financial documents and a passport copy to receive an I-20.
Fall 2020 Start Date Changes to August 17: Reissued I-20s (updated 6/3/2020)
On June 2, USC announced that fall semester classes will start on campus on August 17, 2020.
If you have received your I-20 already, your I-20 will be re-issued within the next few weeks to reflect our new academic start date of August 17, 2020.
Please be assured that your SEVIS ID that you previously received will remain the same. Your SEVIS payment and any visa appointments that you have made do not need to be canceled or re-scheduled due to these changes. Should a visa appointment slot become available in the next week or two, please use your current I-20s SEVIS ID to make an appointment. You will need your updated, printed I-20 present at your visa appointment and will need your updated, printed I-20 when entering the U.S.
If you are still due to receive an I-20 from USC, your I-20 will be issued with the August 17th start date when it is issued.
Printing Your Electronic I-20
After receiving your digitally signed I-20, you will need to print a hard copy to apply for your F1 visa and travel with it in hand when you enter the U.S. Presenting your electronic I-20 on your phone, tablet or laptop will not be acceptable for any official purpose.
Because electronic I-20s are a new option for students, we strongly recommend printing the DHS guidance as well and keeping it with your printed electronic I-20 when you travel to the U.S. The guidance can be found here. (Link last updated 3/26/2020)
Applying for Your Visa
Please review our website for instructions and guidelines for applying for your F-1 or J-1 visa. You should use your electronic I-20 to apply for your F1 visa. At this time, USC is not mailing I-20 documents to students. (Last updated 5/1/2020)
Currently, U.S. Embassies and consulates worldwide remain closed for visa processing until further notice. USC is monitoring the situation closely, but we do not know when we can expect them to reopen for full visa and consular services. (Last updated 4/15/2020)
Note: Students arriving in tourist, visa waiver or ESTA status are not permitted to study.
Transferring Your SEVIS Record to USC
Please review our website for instructions and guidelines regarding transferring your SEVIS record. Once your record is released to USC, you will receive your I-20 via email to your USC email.
Renewing Your Visa
If you are outside the United States and your visa is not expired, you will be able to use your current, unexpired F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S., even if it has your previous school’s name printed on it. If you are receiving a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number, you will need to repay the SEVIS fee for your new document and keep the receipt with you.
If you are inside the United States and your visa has expired, you may remain in the U.S. as long as you have received your transfer I-20 from USC and have no plans to travel outside the U.S. within the five-month transfer period. However, you will need a new F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. the next time you leave the country.
If you are outside the United States or are planning to leave the United States, and your visa has expired or will expire shortly after the start of your program at USC, you must use your USC I-20 to apply for a new F-1 visa.
Traveling Home When Transferring to USC from a U.S. Institution
The decision about whether to return to your home country is a personal one and should be considered carefully, in consultation with family when possible. Please keep in mind that international travel is in a fluid state, and new travel restrictions could arise at any moment.
Your transfer I-20 is not required for you to exit the U.S. to return home, but it will be required for you to re-enter the U.S. at a later date. You should print and keep your electronic I-20, as well as the guidance surrounding electronic I-20s, with you when traveling back to the U.S.
FAQs Regarding the New DHS Guidance for Electronic I-20s (Last Updated 5/1/2020)
Can DSOs electronically send signed Forms I-20 to students instead of physically mailing the forms?
Yes, due to COVID-19, DSOs may electronically send Forms I-20 to student email addresses listed in SEVIS. In the case of minor students (17 years old or younger), the email address may belong to their parent or legal guardian.
Will the Executive Order limiting immigration affect my visa application or eligibility to receive a visa?
No. The Executive Order limiting immigration applies to those who are seeking immigrant status or permanent residency (aka green card). F1 and J1 visa categories are not immigrant visas and are not affected by the Order.
Can I use my electronic I-20 to apply for my F1 visa? Should I expect to receive a paper hard copy I-20 in the mail?
You should use your electronic I-20 to apply for your F1 visa. Students should not expect to receive a paper I-20 as mailing services at USC have halted in compliance with state and local "stay at home" orders. Forms I-20 issued electronically or with electronic signatures—as permitted during the COVID-19 emergency—will remain valid until students have a need for an updated Form I-20 after arriving in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has been in contact with other governmental stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, to notify them of procedural changes. We encourage students to print the new SEVP guidance and bring it with them to the visa interview and when entering the U.S.