Step 1: Complete either the I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form
Step 2: Include Proof of Admission
Step 3: Include Financial Documentation or Sponsor Statement of Support
Step 4: Include Dependent/Transfer/Change of Status Information
Step 5: Submit I-20 or DS-2019 Request
Step 6: I-20 or DS-2019 Issued
Step 7: Pay SEVIS Fee
Step 8: Obtain Visa Stamp
Step 9: Plan your Trip to Campus
Step 10: Attend an International Student Orientation & Complete Immigration Check-In
Kellogg 1- & 2-Year MBA, JD/MBA and MS in Manufacturing Management students should direct completed I-20 or DS-2019 Request Forms and questions to Adam Blough: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive MBA students (Evanston and Miami) should submit their requests to: email@example.com
Northwestern University School of Law
All admitting departments issue admitted students a letter either virtual (e-mailed) or a hardcopy. Please include an electronic copy of this letter with your I-20 or DS-2019 Request.
All new F-1 international students are required to show proof that funds are guaranteed for the first year of study.
All new J-1 international students are required to show proof that funds are guaranteed for the full length of his/her program.
Please ensure that adequate funding will continue to be available from the same or equally dependable sources for subsequent years. You may be asked to show proof of this at your visa interview. This proof can come from several different sources (personal, family, university, business, etc.); however, you must be sure to have supporting documents for each of the sources of funding.
Below are the requirements for each type of documentation. Keep in mind that although you are not required to submit original documents to Northwestern, you may be required to show ORIGINAL financial documents at your visa appointment, at the port of entry, or to USCIS if you are submitting a COS application.
Any combination of Funds is acceptable, as long as you demonstrate you can cover the full cost of the program. All funds must be liquid assets. Stock/Mutual/Retirement accounts are not considered liquid assets.
Family or Friend Funds: (both bank statement(s) and Sponsor Statement of Support(s) are REQUIRED for proof of Family/Friend Funds)
Northwestern University Funds:
Other Institutional Support (Employer, Government, etc.):
Required Documentation Guidelines
Bank Statement Guidelines:
Institutional Letter of Support Guidelines
Bank Letter Guidelines:
If necessary, based on your personal situation, include the following documents:
An F-1 or J-1 student may bring their spouse and children to the U.S. as F-2 or J-2 dependents, respectively. Please indicate the additional dependent expenses on the I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form (at least $6,300 for a spouse, and $4,350 per child) and include the F-1/J-1 Dependent Request Form when you submit the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
More information about family and dependents here.
Change of Status
An individual who is in the U.S. in another visa category and wishes to change their status to either F-1 or J-1 should review our Change of Status page here.
An F-1 or J-1 student who is in the U.S. at another institution and wishes to transfer their SEVIS status to Northwestern should review our Transferring to NU page here.
Please scan and save these documents in one file labeled with your full name. For example, "FAMILY NAME, First Name".
All students should submit the I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form and supplemental documents directly to the International Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org unless you are a student at either Kellogg School of Management or Northwestern Law (see below for instructions).
Incomplete applications will be sent back for correction. Processing of application will only begin when the application is COMPLETE.
Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg 1- & 2-Year MBA, JD/MBA and MS in Manufacturing Management students should direct completed I-20 or DS-2019 Request Forms and questions to Adam Blough: email@example.com.Executive MBA students (Evanston and Miami) should submit their requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once a complete application has been submitted, it will take approximately 10 business days for the advisor to process the I-20 or DS-2019. You and your admitting department will receive an email from the IO once your document has been issued. Your admitting department will pick it up from the IO and mail it to you directly. Please provide your admitting office with an address where this document can safely reach you.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as the bridge for varied government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP uses web-based technology, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the U.S. education system.
Once you obtain the I-20 or DS-2019 you must pay the SEVIS fee.
Once the SEVIS fee has been paid, you will apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. Information pertaining to visa appointments can be found on the U.S. Department of State's website.
Note: Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States.
Please do not make your visa appointment until you have obtained your I-20 or DS-2019 from NU.
See the Consular Electronic Application Center for specific requirements. General requirements include:
More information on our website here.
F-1 and J-1 Students may not arrive to the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019. If you decide to come earlier than this, you will enter as a tourist and will need to leave the United States so that you may enter in the correct F-1/J-1 status no more than 30 days before the start date listed on your document.
Check out our Resources page for more information.
Get details about how to complete the required immigration check-in and learn more and sign up to attend an International Student Orientation here.