After you receive your Form I-20, you should present it, along with our letter of acceptance, financial documents and your passport, to the nearest U.S. Consular Office. There, the appropriate official will stamp the F-1 Student Visa into your passport and return the Form I-20 to you. You will be asked to present your Form I-20 to the Immigration officer at the U.S. Port of Entry. If you have immediate family members (spouse and minor children) accompanying you to the U.S., they should apply for an F-2 visa at the same time. Your family members applying for the F-2 visa will need their own I-20 form issued by our office.
The Consulate or Embassy may take longer than you had planned to issue a visa or may require you to obtain additional documents, so it is advised that you apply early. You may want to contact the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy to inquire about the details of their visa application procedure: for example, how long will it take, what documents are required, what is the fee? If the application is approved, you will be issued the visa stamp in your passport with the classification “F-1” (or “F-2” for dependents). You will need to present these documents along with your new visa to the Immigration Officer when you arrive in the U.S. You may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the expected reporting date indicated on the Form I-20.
Students need to attend the institution that issued the Form I-20 at least one academic term before they can transfer to another U.S. institution. If you have been admitted to and have I-20 forms from more than one school, be sure to use only the Form I-20 issued to you by the school you plan to attend. In other words, use the Form I-20 issued to you by the USD if you plan to attend the USD.