Office of Admission I-20 Processing

Last updated 2/5/2024

Trojan International Login

Admitted students who have committed to attend USC for Fall 2024 or Summer 2024 may submit their I-20 request in Trojan International at that time. Please log in with your USC NetID and click the Admission menu to proceed. (If you have just obtained your NetID, please wait one more day before attempting to log in) We also recommend reading the Trojan International Checklist beforehand for guidelines on how to prepare your passport and financial documents for upload. You must still submit a new I-20 request in Trojan International if your admission is moved to a different term (i.e. Spring to Summer).

Beginning the I-20 Process

Basic Requirements:

To be issued an I-20 by the USC Office of Admission, an international applicant must:

1) Be officially admitted to an on-campus USC degree or standalone certificate program that is approved for I-20 issuance*.

2) Submit a Statement of Intent certifying they will attend USC. Some programs may also require paying a commitment deposit. After committing to USC, a student must also obtain their USC NetID.

3) Submit an I-20 request by completing the New F-1 Student Request E-Forms in Trojan International. The following must be uploaded in Trojan International:

  1. a) A copy of the biographical section of a valid passport.

  2. b) Proof of funding demonstrating the ability to pay for estimated education and living expenses in the U.S. including for dependents if applicable.

  3. c) If dependent I-20s are needed for spouse/children, passports will also be required. In addition, a copy of a marriage certificate will be required for a spouse and a birth certificate will be required for each child. Dependent I-20s will not be issued any later than 30 days prior to the start of the academic program.

We recommend reading the Trojan International Checklist to prepare your documents for submission.

4) Students already on F-1 status at another U.S. institution must wait until their SEVIS record is released to USC before a USC Transfer I-20 can be issued. Students must ask their school to transfer their record to USC. Trojan International will also require a copy of the current school's I-20.

*Students cannot request an I-20 from Admissions if they: a) are admitted to fully online degree programs b) are new International Academy admits, c) In a progressive degree program c) Are visiting scholar/students d). Your documents are being issued by the Fulbright Program.

If you already have a non-immigrant/non-F1 visa (H-1B, H4, L2, etc.) that permits study in the U.S. and you plan on remaining on that visa at USC, do not request an I-20. It will be your responsibility to maintain your immigration status. Note: You cannot study in the U.S. on a B visitor/tourist visa.

Note: Admission I-20 Processing issues I-20s/DS-2019s only for international students newly admitted to a program at USC. Current USC international students, students returning from a Leave of Absence, or online students changing to an on-campus mode of study must speak with the  Office of International Services (OIS) to manage their immigration record or acquire proper documents. Admission I-20 Processing cannot advise on CPT or OPT.

I-20 Types

Please read below to determine the type of I-20 you will need to attend USC.

Initial I-20 - You are admitted to an on-campus USC degree program and you will need a new USC I-20 to enter the United States with an F-1 visa. You must pay the I-901 fee to activate the SEVIS record for this new Initial I-20. This is the most common type of I-20.

Transfer I-20 - You are currently on F-1/OPT status at another U.S. institution and will be asking your school to transfer your SEVIS record to USC. After your SEVIS record is released to USC, you will be issued a Transfer I-20. Please see the Admission SEVIS Transfer-In Process page for instructions. If you are no longer able to transfer your SEVIS record, you may be issued an Initial I-20 instead. Students transitioning from the USC International Academy will also need a Transfer I-20 to start their regular degree program.

Change of Education Level I-20 - You are currently on F-1 status at USC and will soon graduate/complete your current program/finish OPT AND you have been admitted to a new USC degree program; starting your new program will require a Change of Education Level (COEL) I-20. This does not apply if you are only changing majors within your department at the same degree level. However, changing to a higher degree (i.e. Master's to PhD) always requires issuing a COEL I-20.

Change of Status (COS) I-20 - You are newly admitted to a USC on-campus degree program and currently hold a non-immigrant, non-tourist U.S. visa (i.e. H-1B, L2, etc.) and wish to change your status to F-1 within the United States. This is the least common I-20 and you must also first obtain approval from an OIS advisor before Admissions will issue the COS I-20. Due to unpredictable processing time frames, it may instead be more practical to leave the U.S. and apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate with an Initial I-20 to obtain the F-1 visa.

If you need to attend USC on a J-1 Student Visa and need a DS-2019, please submit your request to the Office of Admission at this link and select a category under “Immigration Matters (I-20s, Visas, etc.). This is not necessary if your DS-2019 is being issued by the Fulbright Program.

The USC Electronic I-20/DS-2019

If your New F-1 Student Request is approved, your I-20 PDF will be issued and made available as a download link in the Trojan International Downloads section. Be sure to check your university email frequently for the notification. The I-20 will not be sent to your email.

J-1 Students: If your request is approved, your DS-2019 PDF will be available as a download link in the Trojan International Downloads section. Please visit the following link for instructions on how to apply for your J-1 visa. Your USC DS-2019

Print the I-20

After receiving your I-20 PDF file, you must print a paper copy in order to apply for your F-1 visa and also to travel to the U.S. The PDF is not meant to be digitally signed; students must sign their printed copy with a pen. The PDF password will also not be provided.

Presenting your I-20 PDF on your phone, tablet, or laptop will not be acceptable for any official purpose. You must always use the printed copy. Do not leave your printed I-20 in your checked luggage when traveling. We recommend printing the DHS guidance as well and keeping it with your printed I-20 when you travel to the U.S. The guidance can be found here.

Your Initial I-20

After you receive your Initial I-20, please visit the Your New USC Initial I-20 page for instructions and guidelines on the F-1 process as well as pre-arrival and post-arrival information.

If You Require a Transfer I-20

If you are transferring your SEVIS record from another U.S. institution to USC, please review the USC Admission SEVIS Transfer-In Process page for instructions and guidelines.

Renewing Your F-1 Visa

If you previously attended school in the U.S., your F-1 visa is not expired, and you are currently outside the U.S. you will be able to use your unexpired F-1 visa, together with your USC I-20, to re-enter the U.S., even if your visa has your previous school’s name. 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.

SEVIS Transfer Students: 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 between your old program and your USC program. 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.

Arriving in the US (updated 9/26/2023)

After arriving in Los Angeles, students must complete Immigration Status Verification (ISV) with the Office of International Services (OIS). Completing ISV will remove your STU50/STU60 holds. Admission I-20 Processing cannot remove the holds.

Please read the Student Health Requirements page for information on health insurance requirements as well as vaccinations/immunizations.


Who can I contact if I have a question?

If you are applying or have been admitted to a USC degree/certificate program, please submit your question at this link and select a category under "Immigration Matters (I-20s, Visas, etc.)." This contact page is answered by Admission I-20 Processing. If you are a current USC student who needs assistance with their immigration record, please contact the Office of International Services (OIS). The Office of Admission cannot advise on CPT/OPT.

Why is I-20 information located in the Graduate Admission website?

Admission I-20 Processing sits within the USC Office of Graduate Admission. The Office of Graduate Admission issues, administers, and advises on all I-20s for incoming undergraduate and graduate students.

Should I expect to receive a paper hard copy I-20 in the mail?

I-20 Processing does not provide physical copies of the I-20. All I-20s will be delivered digitally in PDF format. We encourage students to print the new SEVP guidance and bring it with them to the visa interview and when entering the U.S.

When will I-20s be issued for Fall, Summer, and Spring?

I-20 issuance is seasonal. I-20 processing for students admitted to the Fall term will begin in February of that year. Summer term I-20s will be processed at the end of January. Spring I-20s will be processed in September of the prior year.

I started my program online but now wish to attend on campus. Can I have an I-20?

Admission I-20 Processing issues I-20s only for newly admitted students, not current students already attending their program. If your mode of instruction change has been approved by all the necessary departments, the I-20 would be issued by OIS.