I-20 Application Process 

The I-20 Form is the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Once you have been admitted at Northeastern Illinois University, the Designated School Official (DSO) from the Office of International Programs (OIP) will reach out to you to submit the required documentation to obtain the I-20 via email.

To obtain an I-20 form, international students must demonstrate their financial ability to pay for school and living expenses for one academic year (12 months). You must demonstrate this to the OIP to get the I-20 and also provide the same information to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy or to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The following documents are required to be able to review and process the information for the I-20: 

  • Official Bank Letter(s) 

An official bank letter(s) from each sponsor. REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION: Any combination of funds is acceptable, as long as you can demonstrate the coverage for 12 months. 

The supporting document(s) cannot be dated more than six months prior to the date of receipt to the OIP. You can provide the originals but we can also accept scanned original copies in PDF. Please make copies of all application documents, including your financial documents for yourself. 

Bank letter/statement/ loan guidelines 

Sponsors can be; self, family, or friends. 

  • Personal funds 

  • Personal loan 

  • The letter/statement must be dated within 6 months of the I-20 process and visa interview.
  • The name of the account holder must be on the document.
  • The Official Letter must be in English or be certified by an English Translator.
  • ONLY the following types of accounts are accepted: Savings, checking, certificate of deposit, or money market accounts.
  • The letter/statement must show currency and its USD equivalency.
  • The letter/statement must be issued by the bank with official letterhead and or bank seal.
  • If the letter/statement has no seal it must be notarized.

Sponsors from family/friends in the U.S. who are sponsoring you for tuition and/or living expenses: 

  • A Copy of Affidavit of Support, Form I-134 is required. 
  • Ask your U.S. sponsor to write a typed letter indicating that they will be sponsoring you for tuition and/or living expenses. The letter must state their relationship to you (e.g., sibling, family friend, etc.), and the period of time they will support you.
  • Letter must be dated within the last 6 months.
  • This letter MUST be signed and notarized.

Living expense sponsors

  • If you have family who are not U.S. citizens, or permanent residents, but who will be sponsoring your housing and living expenses, ask them to:
    • Write a typed letter stating that they will fully sponsor your living expenses. The letter must state their relationship to you (e.g., sibling, family friend, etc.), and the period of time they will support you.
    • The letter must be dated within the last 6 months.
    • The letter must be signed and notarized.

Governmental agency/scholarship sponsor: 


SACM students must also provide financials if their award does not cover the full amount of tuition and/or living expenses.  

  • You must provide the original letter from governmental agency, employer sponsor, or scholarship sponsor.
  • The letter must be dated within the last 6 months.
  • The letter must state the name of the award recipient.
  • The letter must state the period of time covered by the award.
  • The letter must name the institution: Northeastern Illinois University.
  • The letter must state the total amount of support to be given during the time period.
  • The letter must indicate if the amount will be awarded directly to the student or to the university.

You can have more than one sponsor to demonstrate the total amount to cover all costs for one year (12 months). You can use any combination of the required documentation listed above.


Once completed, you will receive an email from OIP that your I-20 and admission letters are ready to be shipped. You can select an expedited carrier to deliver your documents overnight.

Due to COVID-19, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have allowed the DSO to email you the I-20 electronically. The DSO will email you the I-20 and this can be used to apply for the visa. This guidance was made in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

You will be emailed the information regarding your I-20, along with the pre-arrival information explaining how to apply for visa and visa appointment with the U.S. Consular Office

When you arrive in the United States, you must attend the International Student Orientation mentioned in your welcome packet before classes start and/or report to the Office of International Programs as soon as possible.