Acceptance Materials and I-20 Form
Once a student’s admission application has been accepted, our staff will prepare and send acceptance materials. The acceptance packet contains important personalized information and documents students will need in order to apply for and obtain a student visa, as well as prepare for arrival in Seattle. So it is CRUCIAL that students take the time to review all documents and information in the packet.
SEVIS I-20 form
A very important document in the acceptance packet is the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) I-20 form. The SEVIS I-20 form is an important three-page document students will need to apply for a visa and enter the United States. Students will need to keep the I-20 throughout their stay in the U.S. as an F-1 student.
Upon receipt of the I-20 form from Seattle Central, students must sign and date the document at the bottom of page one. This indicates that the student has read page two of the I-20 and understands the terms and conditions of his/her immigration status. If the student is under the age of 18, the parent / guardian must also sign the I-20 form, on the line just below the student’s signature.
To issue an I-20 form, Seattle Central will enter all of the student’s relevant information in SEVIS. SEVIS is an online database created by the Department of Homeland Security to track students and exchange visitors while they are in the United States. As a SEVIS-approved institution, Seattle Central will regularly update SEVIS with the student’s enrollment information after the student is admitted to Seattle Central.
Following is some helpful information on the different sections of the I-20 form:
The I-20 form will list an issue reason, which could be one of the following:
- Initial Attendance (students who are not already in the United States)
- Initial Attendance, Change of Status Requested (for students in the United States changing to F-1 status from another non-immigrant status)
- Transfer pending (students transferring from another U.S. institution)
Level of Study
The I-20 form will state “Language Study” for students who are applying for ESL only, or “Associate” for students accepted to College Transfer, High School Completion, Professional/Technical Programs, or the Short-Term Certificate Program .
Start / End Dates and Normal Length of Study
The start date will fall on the first day of the quarter of admission or, in the case of students beginning in the Intensive English Program, on the first day of orientation (one week before). For students who must take the college English placement test, the start date will be the Wednesday before the first day of the quarter (approximately 4 days before the first day). The end date will depend on the normal length of study, which is determined by a student’s program:
ESL only: 21 months
College program*: 24 months
Short-term certificate: 12 months
ESL + college program*: 45 months
ESL + short-term certificate: 24 months
College bridge + college program*: 36 months
College bridge + short-term certificate: 18 months
* college transfer, high school completion or professional and technical program
The major on the I-20 form is chosen by Seattle Central based on the kind of courses a student will take while enrolled here. It may or may not match exactly a student’s intended major for the following reasons:
- When issuing an I-20 form, schools must select the subject from a list of majors in SEVIS. Although there are hundreds of choices, the SEVIS major does not always match exactly the major offered at a particular school.
- College transfer students may have a specific major in mind for a Bachelor’s degree, but courses taken for this major in the first two years are preparatory, and often in a different subject area. If the first two years of study for a particular major are very general without many specific classes required, the major may say “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General”. Seattle Central will choose the subject area that most accurately describes the courses taken during the student’s first two years, not necessarily the major. If students list “Undecided” as a major on the application form, or leave the major blank, the I-20 major will be “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General”.
|Example of Majors on I-20 forms: Intended Major||I-20 Major|
|Business (all Business fields: Accounting, Marketing, Management, etc.)||Business Administration / Management, General|
|Graphic Design||Art / Art Studies, General|
|Health Sciences (Medicine, Nursing, etc.)||Biology / Biological Sciences, General|
|Environmental Science||Biology / Biological Sciences, General|
|All Engineering Fields (Chemical, Civil, Electrical, etc.)||Engineering, General|
|ESL||Second Language Learning|
|Architecture||Liberal Arts and Sciences, General|
The I-20 form estimates tuition and fees, living expenses, and other expenses for one academic year (9 months) in the student’s program. Students who have applied for both the Intensive English Program and for college study will receive an I-20 form with a college program estimate.