Proof of Funds to Get Your I-20

October 8th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Applying to study in the US can be pretty confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are all kinds of forms and applications which need to be filled out, and a specific order that they all need to be filled out in. Before you are able to get your student visa, for example, you have to first get what is called an I-20 form. And to get your I-20 form, you have to prove that you can finance your time studying in the US. This is because it is required by US law that you prove that you can afford to study in the US, the proof of funds to get your I-20 is how the US determines that you are financially secure enough.

Because of the high cost of living and tuition, many international students rely on at least one sponsor who will help out financially. You are allowed to have as many sponsors as you want, and each one that plans on being a sponsor will need to fill out an affidavit of annual cash support stating that they promise to send you a certain amount of money, as well as a proof of income. The proof of income can be a letter from your sponsor’s employer, income tax returns, an income estimate by a bank, or a bank statement showing that there is enough money to cover the promised amount. If you have sponsors who plan on providing you with a free room and board, they will also need to show a proof of income as well as copies of their lease, deed, rent receipts and/or any other documentation that the university can use to verify ownership of the property.

It is also important that your sponsors do not exaggerate how much money they are able to cover when providing the university with a proof of funds to get your I-20. While your sponsors may think they are helping you by exaggerating, they are actually putting you in danger of having your I-20 form rejected. The reason that you are required to show a proof of funds to get your I-20 is because it is far too risky to move to the US without a guaranteed source of income. If a sponsor backs out and you don’t have enough money to continue living in the US, you would have to move home and stop pursuing your education.

Once you have your I-20 form, you have completed one of the first steps to studying in the US. You will then be eligible to get your F-1 student visa, which will allow you to legally stay in the country and study in a US university full time!

*Visa application photo thanks to Shutterstock

9 Comments

  1. philip ohene-abrefa says:

    I have apply northwestern college and I have send bank statement of 34,000 us dollars before i can 1-20from to go for visa. i am pastor and God work there is no monthly pay. we depend upon people. 2tim 2.15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. thank you for your help

  2. Hi Philip,

    Thank you for your comment. Some students are able to use loan approval as proof of funds, but it’s not easy and it’s up to the school and consular officer if they’ll accept a loan approval as proper funds. You would need to apply for the loan now, list the school you plan to attend, get initially approved based on the credit of your co-signer, then use that initial approval to complete your acceptance to the school. You can find out more about loans here.

    Good luck!

  3. george anamanya says:

    sorry how do i start the necessary application. and what do i need to have or know about studying there

  4. Hi George,

    Thank you for your inquiry. If you are interested in studying at a school in the US it is best to contact the school directly regarding their application process. They will be able to provide you with information on how to begin and the other necessary steps involved.

    Good luck!

  5. R.Sailaja says:

    Can I be provided this I-20 form, even from La Trobe University, Australia

  6. CY says:

    How do I know the amount of funds required for an I-20? Is this the amount required for tuition and living for a year as a minimum amount, or is it a balance statement of all funds available to pay tuition etc?

    Thanks

  7. Hi Cy,

    You may find the following link on the F1 student visa helpful. Your school of interest in the US should also be able to help you with your questions regarding your I-20 and funding requirements.

    Good luck!

  8. Janine says:

    Hello,
    I am applying to work on my doctorate in America.
    I’m hoping to get funding from the schools that I’m applying to. Would this notice be enough to proof my funds for the Visa form or would I need additional proof?
    Thanks in advance for your answer!

  9. Hi Janine,

    Thank you for visiting. Some students are able to use loan approval as proof of funds, but its not easy and its up to the school and consular officer if they’ll accept a loan approval as proper funds. You would need to apply for the loan now, list the school you plan to attend, get initially approved based on the credit of your co-signer, then use that initial approval to complete your acceptance to the school.

    Good luck!

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