Request I-20/DS-2019 & Plan your Trip to Campus

The information below pertains to any student requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 from Northwestern University (including SEVIS Transfer and Change of Status). Unless otherwise noted below, you will need a valid Northwestern issued NetID and password in order to access the NUPortal to submit your I-20 or DS-2019 Request. NOTE: If you do not yet have an active NetID, please contact your admitting department to inquire when you will receive NetID activation information.

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

Returning to Northwestern after a leave of absence? Returning Student Information

Step 1: Complete the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form

  • Provide all of the required information on the I-20 REQUEST FORM or DS-2019 REQUEST FORM. Failure to do so may result in a delay of the issuance of your document.
  • If the program chosen on the request form displays this message, "We are not currently accepting I20/DS2019 Requests for this program." You will not be able to continue with the I-20 or DS-2019 Request process. Please check back at a later date as program information is constantly being updated.
  • Provide all supplemental documentation with the I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form.
    • Copy of passport
    • Copies of financial documentation
    • Copy of Admission Letter
  • Complete applications will take approximately ten business days to process.
  • Contact the IO ONLY if there is an error on your I-20 or DS-2019, or if you have specific questions about choosing the proper visa category. intadmit@northwestern.edu.

Northwestern Law
NU Law students will not submit the I-20 or DS-2019 Request via the NUPortal. Students submitting an I-20 or DS-2019 Request should do so directly to NU Law via email to Amanda Albert (amanda.albert@law.northwestern.edu). Please refer to instructions on the NU Law Admissions website additional information.

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Step 2: Include Proof of Admission

Once admitted, your academic program will issue you an Admission Letter. Please include a copy with your I-20/DS-2019 Request. 

Step 3: Include Financial Documentation or Sponsor Statement of Support

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.

Required Documentation

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.

Personal Funds:Bank statement, bank letter, or loan letter (see bank statement and letter guidelines below). An original is not required for I-20.DS-2019 issuance purposes but is strongly encouraged for the visa application.

  • Note: Student loans are considered to be Student Personal Funds. Proof of Student Loan funds (if applicable) should be included with the request.

Family or Friend Funds: (both bank statement(s) and Sponsor Statement of Support(s) are REQUIRED for proof of Family/Friend Funds)

  • Bank statement or bank letter dated within the last six months (see bank statement requirements below). An original is not required for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance purposes but is strongly encouraged for the visa application.
  • Sponsor Statement of Support: All sponsor names must be included on the I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form.

Northwestern University Funds:  

  • Copy of the letter from department/University detailing your financial aid award. If the award does not cover the total expense listed in the Financial & Program Information, you must show proof of funding that covers the remaining expenses.
  • NU Loans are considered a source of Personal Funds.

Other Institutional Support (Employer, Government, etc.):

  • Support letter detailing the financial support (see institutional letter of support requirements below).

Required Documentation Guidelines

Bank Statement Guidelines:

  • Must be dated within the last six months;
  • Name of account holder must be present;
  • Amount of money in the account must be listed;
  • Must be in English, or include a certified English translation;
  • Type of account (eg. savings, checking, time deposit) must be included;
  • Type of currency must be included.

Institutional Letter of Support Guidelines

  • Must be an original;
  • Must be dated within the last six months;
  • Name of award recipient must be present;
  • Must state the period of time covered by the award;
  • Must indicate Northwestern as the student's institution;
  • Must state the total amount of support for the given time period.

Bank Letter Guidelines:

  • Name of account holder must be present;
  • Amount of money in the account must be listed -OR- letter must state that the holder has enough money in the account to cover the estimated costs;
  • Must be in English, or include a certified English translation;
  • Type of account (eg. savings, checking, time deposit) must be included;
  • Type of currency must be included;
  • Must be dated within the last six months.

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Step 4: Include Dependent/Transfer/Change of Status Information (if Applicable)

If necessary, based on your personal situation, include the following documents:

Dependents
An F-1 or J-1 student may bring a 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.

Transfer Students
An F-1 or J-1 student who was enrolled within the past five months at another institution in the US, and wishes to transfer their SEVIS status to Northwestern should review our Transferring to NU page here.

Step 5: Submit I-20 or DS-2019 Request package - via document upload in nuportal

Once your I-20/DS-2019 Request package is complete (Request Form, Passport, Admissions Letter, Financial Documentation, any any related documents (e.g. Transfer In, Dependent Request, etc.), please save it as one .pdf file using your last/sur and first name as the file name. Example: WILDCATwillie.pdf

To submit your request, you will need to log in to the NUPortalhttps://nuportal.northwestern.edu/ 
(Note: you will need a valid NetID and Password to log in to the NUPortal.)

Once you are in the NUPortal, take the following steps:

  1. Click Student Services from the menu on the left of the screen.
  2. Then click on International Student Document Upload.
  3. Once there, you will need to select the program to which you have been admitted from the drop-down menu.
  4. Once selected, you will need to check the box related to the document you are requesting (either I-20 or DS-2019)
  5. Then select browse to locate your completed .pdf file for upload to the system and press submit. 

Upon submission, you will receive confirmation via email. After your request has been reviewed by an advisor, you will be sent a second email indicating if your I-20/DS-2019 Request is complete and in process, or if the request is incomplete and needs to be resubmitted. 

Questions? Email: intadmit@northwestern.edu

Incomplete applications will be sent back for correction. Processing of application will only begin when the application is COMPLETE. 

Northwestern Law
NU Law students will not submit the I-20 or DS-2019 Request via the NUPortal. Students submitting an I-20 or DS-2019 Request should do so directly to NU Law via email to Amanda Albert (amanda.albert@law.northwestern.edu). Please refer to instructions on the NU Law Admissions website additional information.

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Step 6: I-20 or DS-2019 Issued

Once a complete application has been submitted, it will take approximately 10 business days for the advisor to process and issue an I-20 or DS-2019. Both you and your admitting department will receive an email from the IO once your document has been issued containing next-step instructions. Your admitting department will retrieve your document from the IO and ship it to you. Please ensure your Northwestern admitting department has a valid shipping address. 

Step 7: Pay the SEVIS Fee

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.

Step 8: Obtain Visa Stamp

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:

  • Non-Immigrant visa application DS-160
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 from Northwestern.
  • Valid passport.
  • At least two passport-style photographs, taken recently.See embassy web site for specifications
  •  Proof that you have permanent residence outside the U.S. Current and original financial documentation.
  •  A copy of the marriage certificate and/or birth certificate if your spouse and/or child are applying for the F-2/J-2 separately.

More information on our website here.

Step 9: plan your trip to campus

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.

Step 10: Attend an International Student Orientation & Complete Immigration Check-In

Get details about how to complete the required immigration check-in and learn more and sign up to attend an International Student Orientation here.