Welcome new Huskies

Review the sections below for answers to frequently asked I-20 questions. If you do not find the answer to your I-20 question, please contact the International Admissions Staff at intladm@uw.edu and use the subject line “I-20 Question.”

Requesting Your I-20

Is there a deadline for submitting the I-20 Request Form and other supporting documents?

There is no specific deadline for submitting the I-20 Request Form, Statement of Financial Responsibility, and photocopies of your passport and financial verification. However, the UW cannot create your I-20 until all four required items are received through the online portal. For initial I-20 requests, allow 4-6 weeks for processing the I-20 once your documents are submitted online. If your current school will transfer/release your I-20, allow 2-4 weeks for processing once your I-20 immigration record has been released to the UW.

Which type of I-20 should I request – an Initial I-20 or a Transfer I-20?

Request an initial I-20 if you will be coming to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa for the first time to study. If you previously entered the U.S. on an F-1 visa and I-20 issued by another school, but you have been or will be outside of the U.S. for 5 or more months, you must also request an initial I-20. If your previous school states you are not eligible to transfer your SEVIS I-20 record or your I-20 is no longer valid, you will require an initial I-20.

Request a transfer I-20 if you are currently attending a U.S. high school, college, university, summer academic program, or a language program on an F-1 visa. Your current school should transfer/release your I-20 record to the UW which will allow you to continue studies in the U.S. If you will participate in a summer program at another U.S. institution, enter the U.S. with an I-20 from that program and then request a transfer I-20 to the UW.

How much money do I have to show on bank documents to verify funding?

U.S. immigration policies require international students to show proof of funding for one academic year. The proof of funding must include both academic fees and living expenses for one year. For students enrolling autumn quarter 2019, you must show proof of funding for $54,534. For students enrolling summer quarter 2019, you must show proof of funding for $72,207. Review the current student budget for 2018-2019.

What type of bank document or financial verification do I need to submit?

U.S. immigration policies require that the bank document or financial verification be issued within the last 6 months. Documents must be in English but can use either local currency or U.S. dollars. If you are submitting a Certificate of Deposit, there is no minimum period of time that the amount need to be “locked in.” If you are paying for your educational expenses with multiple funding sources, please submit all relevant financial documents such as a scholarship letter, loan letter, personal bank statement, etc.

How will I know if my New Student Enrollment and Orientation Fee (NSEOF) has been received?

Login to your MyUW account. If your NSEOF payment has been received, it will be listed on MyFrontPage, the first page you see after logging in. A large green check mark will appear next to the NSEOF payment in the New Student checklist. Please allow at least 5 business days for your payment to be posted to your student account.

Has my I-20 Request Form and other documents been received? Are they being processed?

Once you submit and upload all four documents to request your I-20, you will receive an email confirmation that the documents have been received. You will also be notified by email once we begin processing the I-20 and once the I-20 has been sent. All email communication will be sent to your @uw.edu email account. Be sure to allow @uw.edu email addresses to your Inbox so messages are not filtered to the junk/spam folder. Some email providers, like @126.com or @163.com occasionally block emails from @uw.edu so check with your email service provider if you are not receiving UW emails.

Transferring Your I-20 SEVIS Record to the UW

Do I need to request a transfer I-20?

A transfer I-20 should be requested if:

  • You are currently or have been attending a U.S. high school, college, university, summer academic program, or a language program on an F-1 visa.
  • You will participate in a summer program at another U.S. institution prior to classes beginning at the UW.

How do I transfer my I-20 SEVIS record from my school to the UW?

If you have been attending a U.S. high school, college, university, or language program, or you will attend a summer program at another U.S. institution before UW classes begin, you must request a transfer I-20 for continued studies in the U.S. The UW will not be able to create your I-20 until your current program ends and the Designated School Official (DSO) at your school releases (transfers) your SEVIS I-20 record to the UW.

When completing UW’s I-20 Request Form:

  1. Discuss with the international student advisor at your current school when your I-20 can be released (transferred) to the UW.
  2. On the I-20 Request Form, provide the exact date your SEVIS I-20 record will be released from your school to the UW. Complete any “Transfer Out” forms or other authorization forms that may be required by your school.
  3. After the SEVIS I-20 release date indicated on the I-20 Request Form, the UW will create a transfer pending I-20 that will allow you to continue your studies in the U.S. With a transfer pending I-20, your SEVIS ID number and SEVIS record will remain the same. Allow 2-4 weeks from the date your SEVIS I-20 record is released to the UW for your new I-20 to be processed and mailed.

What is the SEVIS school code for the University of Washington?

The SEVIS school code for the Seattle campus of the University of Washington is SEA214F00265000.

If you are currently attending a U.S. high school, college, university, summer or language program in the U.S., you may need to complete a “Transfer Out” form that authorizes your previous school to release (transfer) your I-20 record to the UW. Consult the Designated School Official (DSO) or international student advisor at the school to confirm what forms or information is required to process your transfer I-20. You may be asked for the UW’s SEVIS school code as part of this process.

Receiving Your I-20

When will I receive the I-20?

Allow 4-6 weeks for the Office of Admissions to create and mail your initial I-20 once all required forms have been submitted. If you have requested your school transfer/release your I-20 record to the UW for continued studies, allow 2-4 weeks from the date your SEVIS I-20 record is released to the UW for your new I-20 to be processed and mailed. The method of return shipment you selected on the I-20 Request Form will determine how quickly you receive the document.

  • Express Mail (recommended for international addresses): Once shipped, allow 5-7 business days for delivery. Track the delivery status through UEMS eShipGlobal.
  • Standard U.S. Postal Mail (recommended for U.S. addresses only): Once mailed, allow up to 10 business days for delivery within the U.S. and at least 6 weeks for international delivery. No tracking information available with this option.
  • Pick Up In Person: You will receive an email confirmation with further instructions once your I-20 is ready for pick up.

If it has been more than 6 weeks since you uploaded the I-20 documents online, and have not requested a transfer of your I-20 record, please email the International Admissions Staff at intladm@uw.edu. Include your full name, student number, and the date your I-20 Request Form and supporting documents were uploaded. If you requested a transfer of your I-20 record and it has been more than 4 weeks since your school transferred/released your SEVIS record to the UW, please contact us at intladm@uw.edu.

What method of return shipment should I choose for my I-20?

There are three options for receiving your I-20 from the UW. Select your mailing option on page 2 of the I-20 Request Form. Once mailed, we cannot change your mailing selection. Please choose carefully and be sure to enter a valid address where the I-20 can be delivered.

  • Express Mail Service (strongly recommended for international addresses)  Express mail is the fastest, most reliable and efficient mailing option. Once shipped, you will receive a confirmation email and then you will be able to track delivery of your package. Delivery generally takes 5-7 business days based on the delivery service you select. The cost ranges from $20 – $100 depending on your location, delivery service, and courier selected. If you select this option, you will create an account with UEMS eShipGlobal and pre-pay for the service you select. Once paid, provide the eShipGlobal order number on the I-20 Request Form in question #5. UEMS eShipGlobal is the only option for selecting express mail service.
  • Standard U.S. Postal Mail  (recommended for U.S. addresses only) Standard postal mail is handled by the U.S. Postal Service, and there is no tracking information or specific delivery date information available. Allow up to 10 business days for delivery to U.S. addresses. If you select this delivery option to a foreign address, allow up to 6 weeks for delivery. We will only issue a replacement I-20 after 6 weeks have passed since the document was mailed. Assume that your I-20 is still in transit if it has not yet been 6 weeks since the I-20 was mailed to a foreign address. Please plan accordingly.
  • Pick Up In Person   If you are currently in the U.S. and would like to pick up your I-20 in person, you may select this option. You may also authorize another person to pick up the I-20 on your behalf. Photo ID will be required for verification when picking up the document. Those who select this option will receive an email confirmation with further details once the I-20 is ready for pick up. For transfer pending I-20’s, allow 2-4 weeks to process your I-20 once your school has transferred/released your SEVIS record to the UW.

How do I set up Express Mail Service?

  1. Create your account with UEMS eShipGlobal by selecting Student Sign Up
  2. An activation email will be sent to you immediately. After your account is activated, login and select “Receive Documents from Universities”
  3. In the University search field, enter “University of Washington – Seattle campus” or click WA on the map and select the university
  4. Choose “Undergraduate Office of Admissions” for department
  5. Complete the following pages with your mailing address, phone number, and email address
  6. Select your shipping preferences and enter your payment information
  7. Select the Express Mail option in question #5 on the I-20 Request Form and enter the UEMS eShipGlobal order number

If you have questions about how to create an eShipGlobal account or use this service, please email them directly at studentsupport@eshipglobal.com.

Verifying and Reviewing Information on Your I-20

 Why is the major on my I-20 different than the UW major I requested?

Most freshman are assigned a major or pre-major in a general academic area at the time of admission based on the major you requested. The major on your I-20 follows standard naming conventions used by U.S. Federal Immigration and may have a different name than the UW specific major shown on your MyUW account. At the time of admission, you were assigned a UW major and the I-20 major field corresponds to that assigned UW major.

Below is a list of assigned UW majors based on the requested major and the corresponding I-20 equivalent majors approved by U.S. Federal Immigration. Regardless of which major is listed on your I-20, you will still be able to update or change your major later once you decide which major you will pursue. You are not locked in to the major listed on your I-20.

Requested Major

UW Assigned Major

I-20 Major

Business Pre-Major Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies
Computer Science Computer Science
(offered Direct to Major)
Computer Science
Computer Science Pre-Science
(not offered Direct to Major)
Biological and Physical Sciences
Engineering Engineering Undeclared
(offered Direct to College)
Engineering, General
Engineering Pre-Major
(not offered Direct to College)
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies
Math & Science majors (ACMS, Mathematics, Statistics, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.) Pre-Science Biological and Physical Sciences
Social Science majors (Communication, Economics, Political Science, International Studies, etc.) Pre-Social Science Liberal Arts and Sciences
Art majors (Music, Dance, Drama, etc.) Pre-Arts Art/Art Studies, General
English or Foreign Language majors Pre-Humanities Humanities/Humanistic Studies
Undecided Pre-Major Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies

Do I need a separate or different I-20 for the Early Fall Start Program?

Early Fall Start (EFS) is an extension of the fall quarter beginning in late August, allowing first year students to take a course one month before fall quarter begins in late September. Freshmen participating in Early Fall Start should use their autumn quarter I-20 to enter the U.S. There is no separate I-20 or different start date for students taking Early Fall Start courses. The start date for all students entering autumn quarter is September 20, 2019 which means you may enter the U.S. using the autumn quarter I-20 any time on or after August 21. The I-20 issued by Undergraduate Admissions is valid for both Early Fall Start and for autumn quarter. We cannot accommodate requests to change the start date on your I-20, even if you have personal travel needs. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

Applying for a Visa

When can I apply for a visa to study at the UW?

U.S. immigration policy allows you to apply for an F-1 visa up to 120 days prior to the program start date on the I-20 form. The program start date can be found in the “Program of Study” section on the I-20. The program start date is the same for all students and cannot be changed to accommodate individual requests.  

International freshmen program start dates:

  • Autumn quarter: September 20, 2019
  • Summer quarter: June 24, 2019

International transfer students program start dates:

  • Autumn quarter: September 25, 2019
  • Summer quarter: June 24, 2019

Look up Visa Wait Times for Students/Exchange Visitors at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest you.

What documents do I need when I apply for a student visa?

According to the U.S. State Department, the following documents are required when you apply for a student visa:

  • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status
  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond your entry to the U.S.
  • Upload a photo with your online visa application form
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt (must be paid at least 3 days prior to visa interview)

Applicants should be prepared to provide the following information or documents if requested:

  • Financial evidence that shows you or your family has sufficient funds to cover tuition, living expenses, and travel costs.
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution
  • Your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of your studies

I didn’t receive the offer of admission letter via postal mail. Do I need it for my visa appointment?

No, you are not required to present a copy of your offer letter when you apply for a visa. The I-20 form created by the UW is verification of your admission and eligibility to enter the university. The offer of admission letter that was mailed to each admitted student cannot be reproduced. Although you may present a copy of your offer letter or email as additional evidence, the I-20 form is the only document required to show proof of admission and eligibility.

Coming to the U.S.

When can I enter the U.S. with my initial I-20 issued by the UW?

If you have an “Initial Attendance” I-20 (Form Issue Reason), you can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date shown on your I-20. 

Earliest possible U.S. arrival dates for international freshmen with an initial I-20:

  • Autumn quarter: August 21, 2019  (program start date September 20, 2019)
  • Summer quarter: May 26, 2019   (program start date June 24, 2019)

Earliest possible U.S. arrival dates for international transfer students with an initial I-20:

  • Autumn quarter: August 27, 2019 (program start date September 25, 2019)
  • Summer quarter: May 26, 2019  (program start date June 24, 2019)

We cannot accommodate requests to change start dates, even if you have personal travel needs or plan to participate in Early Fall Start (EFS) for freshmen. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

When can I enter the U.S. with my transfer pending I-20 issued by the UW?

If you have attended a U.S. high school, college or language program in the U.S. and you requested a transfer of your SEVIS I-20 record, you may return to the U.S. with the same valid F-1 visa. A new visa is not required if you still have an unexpired F-1 visa from your previous school. If you were issued a transfer pending I-20 by the UW, you are exempt from the 30 day entry requirement. Check the Form Issue Reason on your I-20 form for “Transfer Pending” status.

When should I arrive in the U.S.?  

It is your choice when you arrive in Seattle but we strongly encourage students to arrive on September 9 to participate in the FIUTS International Welcome Weeks from September 10 – 20. Participating in the International Welcome Weeks activities will help with your transition: you can learn about the campus, student services, the Seattle area, and meet other UW students. There is no additional registration fee for International Welcome Weeks but a few events may have an entry fee. International students arriving early for FIUTS International Welcome Weeks can apply for early arrival housing if you have a confirmed housing assignment. For international students who have never lived in the U.S. before, you may also consider applying for a FIUTS Homestay program.

All students must arrive before their scheduled Embark Session or Advising & Orientation program, whichever is earlier. These are two separate programs and all international students must attend one of each as part of your orientation to the UW.