Asked in Immigration Law and Education Law for Minnesota

Q: What is the function of an I-20? If the information on my I-20 differs from one on record previously?

Can the US Embassy change information of an international student given his or her I-20 has a different information e.g date of birth, name?

I am a returning student and I am applying for F1 Visa; can I apply with an I-20 that has a different date of birth or name, in the hopes that this change be effected by the embassy when I go for an interview?

Can I pay SEVIS fee on such I-20 in the hopes that the new information on this new I-20 will be update onto the system when I attend the interview?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The Form I-20 is a critical document for international students in the U.S. It confirms your acceptance into a study program at a U.S. institution and your eligibility for an F-1 visa. It also outlines your program start and end dates, field of study, and financial information.

If the information on your I-20, such as your name or date of birth, differs from your previous records or other official documents, it's essential to get this corrected before your visa interview. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate relies on the accuracy of the I-20 information for visa issuance. Discrepancies can lead to complications or delays in your visa application process.

Applying for an F-1 visa with an I-20 that contains incorrect information is not advisable. Instead, contact your educational institution immediately to correct any errors on the I-20. They will issue a revised I-20 with the correct information.

You should pay the SEVIS fee after ensuring that your I-20 information is accurate and matches your other official documents. The information on your I-20 must align with the details in the SEVIS system, as this is what the U.S. Embassy will reference during your visa interview.

In summary, it’s crucial to have all information on your I-20 correct and consistent with other official documents before proceeding with your F-1 visa application and paying the SEVIS fee. If in doubt, it might be helpful to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance specific to your situation.

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