Request I-20/DS-2019

Step 1: Complete the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form
Step 2: Include Proof of Admission
Step 3: Include Financial Documentation or Sponsor Statement of Support
Step 4: Include Supplemental Documentation if Necessary
Step 5: Send I-20/DS-2019 Request
Step 6: I-20/DS-2019 Issued
Step 7: Pay the SEVIS Fee
Step 8: Obtain Visa Stamp
Step 9: Arrive to NU

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

  • Provide all of the required information on the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form. Failure to do so may result in a delay of the issuance of your document.
  • Provide all supplemental documentation with the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
    • Copy of passport
    • Copies of financial documentation
    • Copy of Admission Letter
  • Complete applications will take approximately 3-4 weeks to process at the IO.
  • 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.
  • Both the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern Law school have International Student Representatives; see below for more information:
Kellogg School of Management

All Kellogg (1 and 2 year MBA, EMBA, and MMM) students should direct completed I-20/DS-2019 Request Forms and questions to Adam Blough at a-blough@kellogg.northwestern.edu. 

Northwestern Law

All NU Law students should submit I-20/DS-2019 and original documents via post to Charlene Ruell. Please refer to instructions on the admitted student site for details.

Step 2: Include Proof of Admission

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/DS-2019 Request.

Step 3: Include Financial Documentation or Sponsor Statement of Support

All new international students are required to show proof that funds are guaranteed for the first year of study. 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.

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.

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/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/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.

Step 4: Include Supplemental Documentation if Necessary

Dependents
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/DS-2019 Request Form (at least $6,300 for a spouse, and $4,350 per child) and include the Supplemental Dependent Request

While the IO does not require it to process the I-20/DS-2019, you are required to bring either marriage certificate and/or birth certificate(s) with a certified English translation with you to the visa appointment.

For additional information, please review the Family and Dependents section of our website

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 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.

Step 5: Send I-20/DS-2019 Request*

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/DS-2019 Request Form and supplemental documents directly to the International Office via email at intadmit@northwestern.edu 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

All Kellogg (1 and 2 year MBA, EMBA, and MMM) students should submit I-20/DS-2019 Request Form directly to Adam Blough (a-blough@kellogg.northwestern.edu)

Northwestern Law

All Law students should submit I-20/DS-2019 Request Form directly to Charlene Ruell

Step 6: I-20/DS-2019 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.

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. Application guidelines and materials vary by country; check the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will be applying for the visa stamp to obtain the visa application and determine the specific requirements. Please do not make your visa appointment until you have obtained your I-20 or DS-2019 from NU.

The following items are required in support of your application for an F-1 or J-1 visa:

  • Non-Immigrant visa application DS-156 (https://evisaforms.state.gov/). DS-157 & DS-158 may be required, see the consulate or embassy website for specifics.
  • 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.

Step 9: Arrive to NU

An international student who plans to enter the U.S. in either F-1 or J-1 status may not arrive in the U.S. until 30-days prior to the program start-date listed on either Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Please plan accordingly.

U.S. immigration regulation states all F-1 and J-1 visitors attending Northwestern must "check-in" at the IO within five days of arrival. A registration hold has been placed on all incoming international students. This registration hold prohibits a student from enrolling in classes until he/she has been to the IO. When checking-in at the IO, please bring photocopies of the following documents:

  • I-20 or DS-2019;
  • Biographical page of passport;
  • F-1 or J-1 visa stamp; and
  • I-94 card (copy of front and back).

In addition to photocopies, all students are required to complete the International Student Check-In Form. Please print and complete this form before you come to the International Office for check-in.

International students are required to provide a U.S. address. At Northwestern, this information will be gathered upon Check-In at the IO. An updated U.S. address is also required in CAESAR, NU's student portal system.

For a handout summarizing these steps, click here!