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Applying for the SEVIS I-20 Immigration Document

The application is available starting at 9:00 am EST April 1

Have questions? Join us weekly for “I-20 Tuesdays”  on Zoom to get your I-20 questions answered, Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m -10:00 a.m. EST. Convert your time zone here

Welcome

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) warmly welcomes all new international students and welcomes back students returning from a leave of absence to Pratt Institute!  This document contains detailed instructions for applying for your SEVIS Form I-20 (required for F-1 Visa) or DS-2019 (required for J-1 Visa) to study at Pratt in person. We will use the term I-20 throughout the instructions because the majority of students need the F-1 visa, while only some limited special cases need a J-1 visa, in which case they will receive a DS-2019 instead of an I-20. Please note we may refer to the I-20 as the SEVIS I-20 or Form I-20. It’s all the same thing.

I-20 Application Period

Fall Semester arrival: Apply between April 1–June 1

Spring Semester arrival: Apply between October 1–November 1

If applications are received after the deadline above, they will still be processed, but the issuance of your visa and your arrival may be delayed.

Transfer Students (I-20 Transfer, not credit transfer)

If you attended a high school, college, or a language center in the U.S. in F-1 status, or have OPT or recently completed OPT, you are considered a transfer student and already have an I-20 from that school. Now, you will need to ask your school to transfer your I-20 (SEVIS record)  so we can make an I-20 from Pratt for you. You will request your school complete the Pratt transfer form and transfer your SEVIS record out to Pratt. You will have the same SEVIS number and not need to pay a new SEVIS fee ($350). You will maintain continuous F-1 status, and may be eligible for CPT in your first semester.

If you do not let us know you are a transfer student on the ISF, and do not ask your school to fill out the transfer form,  we will issue you an Initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number. Then you will need to pay a new SEVIS fee payment of $350 again. You can avoid this if you inform us that you are a transfer student. Contact your previous school to check your eligibility to transfer and discuss your transfer release date. We can only issue your I-20 on or after your release date.

Processing Times

The staff of OIA is currently issuing electronic I-20s sent by email. Processing time for your SEVIS Form I-20 is estimated at four (4) weeks from the date your application is deemed complete and ready for full review. The application includes the ISF (Step 1) and Supporting Documents (Step 2). We respond to inquiries about your I-20 status pending more than 4 weeks. You can write to oia@pratt.edu. Please refrain from repeated inquiries as it decreases our efficiency in processing for all students.

Please know that when you submit your supporting documents, you will not get a confirmation email and the dashboard is only updated manually and we get quite busy in high season.

To ensure the fastest processing time for your I-20, OIA recommends reading all these instructions carefully and submitting a complete and correct application as soon as possible. We recommend submitting all documents at once as this will increase processing efficiency, rather than one by one.

After you submit a form or upload a document, it may take 10 days for the status to change to “received” on your dashboard as the status change is a manual process, not an automatic one. Therefore it is normal that your document is not marked as received immediately. Do NOT upload your document multiple times – this will slow down processing for all students. OIA will reach out to you via email if there is a problem with any of your documents, therefore we request that you do not send them to us by email in advance, asking us to check it first.

Things to Prepare Before Filling Out the Forms
Steps

Step 1: International Student Form (ISF)

  • After submitting the ISF, go to your Pratt Email (open your Gmail at One.Pratt.edu)
  • Find the no-reply email with subject: [Pratt OIA]: URGENT Next Action Steps

Step 2: Upload Supporting Documents from the checklist on your dashboard

Step 3: OIA issues and emails your I-20 

Step 4: Visa Application and Interview at US Consulate

Step 1: International Student Form (ISF)

All new international students must complete the International Student Form (ISF), whether you need an I-20 or DS-2019 or not. Students on other visa types, like H-4 or E-3, and those sponsored by other organizations, like Fulbright, also need to complete the International Student Form (ISF). This form should not be completed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. If you are unsure whether you are considered an international student and need to complete this form, please email oia@pratt.edu explaining your situation. 

The ISF Form is available here, as of April 1:

https://eforms.pratt.edu/lincdoc/doc/run/pratt/OIA_I20_Request

Technical difficulties:

– Google Chrome is the recommended browser

– Contact OIA at oia@pratt.edu  for technical difficulties with the ISF. 

– Contact the Help Desk at services@pratt.edu for technical difficulties with OneKey login

Prepare two things:

– Have your Pratt acceptance letter handy so you can easily refer to it for information such as your program code and Pratt ID number

– You will need to upload a scan of your passport biographical page

– You will need to upload in the last section of the ISF. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future. If it is not, please let us know you are in the process of renewing it in the comments of the ISF. If your spouse and/or child will accompany you as your dependent, you must also upload scans of their valid passports into the ISF.

OIA Hold

– By filling out the ISF, the OIA “hold” on your Pratt account will be removed within one week. If there are no other holds from other offices, such as the Health Office for health forms, students are able to be registered for classes.

Started Online or are a transfer student not in the US

-If you started online and now need the I-20, you will make a remark about this on the ISF.

– If you are transferring your SEVIS record from a U.S. high school, college, or language center, you should indicate that you are in F-1 status currently and plan to maintain your F-1 status, even if you are temporarily out of the U.S.

Dashboard to upload Supporting Documents

After you submit your ISF, go to your Pratt email to read the email with Subject: “[Pratt OIA]: URGENT Next Action Steps” and a link to your Pratt Dashboard. The Dashboard will have a list of all required supporting documents that you need to upload for a complete application as well as detailed instructions for these documents. Your Dashboard is customized for you, based on how you answered the questions on the ISF. Please review this information carefully. 

Students returning after a leave of absence have to upload a new ISF, otherwise, the software will flow properly.

Submit ISF only 1 time

Please do NOT submit more than one ISF under any circumstances. Multiple ISF entries will confuse the software. Contact OIA if you feel you have made an error on the ISF and we will manually update it for you, rather than uploading another ISF. 

Step 2: Upload Supporting Documents

After you have submitted the ISF, you will receive an email sent to your Pratt email address with “[Pratt OIA]: URGENT Next Action Steps” and a link to your Dashboard. Then, you should upload your required supporting documents to the Dashboard.

The Dashboard will be available here – note: do not access the dashboard until you have submitted your ISF (Step 1). Students returning from a leave of absence have to submit the ISF again, which should create a new checklist on the Dashboard. 

Supporting documents depends on your circumstance. The specific situations for different students are listed below and on your Dashboard. If you see that your dashboard is not prompting you to upload the correct documents based on these categories, please contact us at oia@pratt.edu

Dashboard status updates:

After you upload your documents, the document must also be manually accessed, reviewed and stamped by OIA to be marked as “Received” in your Dashboard. This manual process can take at least 10 days due to processing volume. You will be contacted via email if any document is not accepted or needs clarification. An OIA advisor will issue your I-20 only after ALL documents listed on the dashboard checklist are uploaded. For this reason, we strongly recommend uploading all documents at the same time. 

Supporting documents you have to submit, depending on your classification:

A chart highlighting the international student Immigration classification categories and the required documents for each of them

Review the classifications and see which one fits your situation. Then note which documents are required for upload. Document descriptions are in the following section.

Document 1: Financial statement

Refer to the estimated expense page on our website.

It is a federal requirement  for international students to show there is enough money  for the first year, including tuition, fees  and local living expenses. We have calculated estimated expenses for the I-20 or DS-2019 that we must keep consistent for all international students in Homeland Security’s database (SEVIS).

The total amount of your financial statement(s) must contain the minimum US dollar amount estimated for your program. This is a strict requirement from Homeland Security, so we cannot negotiate on the amount you need to demonstrate. Students with a scholarship, or living with a sponsor in the US at no charge while studying can deduct this amount from what needs to be shown in the financial statements.

You must demonstrate you have an available liquid funding source with the Estimated Expense amount in liquid funds in order to receive your I-20. You only have to show funds for the first academic year, which is Fall and Spring semester (9 months) for issuance of the I-20. Your actual expenses will vary.

Q: My actual program’s tuition is lower than listed on the Estimated Expenses. Why?

A: When we calculate the Estimated Expenses for I-20 purposes, we use a general figure based on calculations from different programs and tuition amounts at Pratt. These figures may differ from your actual program or personal situation, as we need to use a standard amount for consistency on all student I-20s.

Document 2: Sources of Funding

The Sources of Funding form tells us where your  funding is coming from because we have to indicate this on your I-20. For example, funds may come from your own funds, called “personal funds,  your family’s funds, a scholarship, a loan or a combination of these. 

The Sources of Funding form is available from your dashboard 

  • If your bank statement is in a family member’s name, your personal source of funds is “0” (not your name and they are sponsoring you 100% )
  • This form signed by you as the student-digital signature is accepted
  • “Personal funds” means that your bank statement is in your name, even if your sponsor gave you the money in your account

Document 3: Affidavit of Support

The Affidavit of Support form is a signed promise from your sponsor(s) to financially support you. 

The Affidavit of Support form is available from your dashboard 

  • Signed by person named on Sources of funding form- digital signature is accepted
  • Not applicable if you are self-funded. No affidavit of support will be generated for you if selected “bank statement is in your name” on the ISF.
  • If the sponsor is a company, make sure the affidavit of support  is on letterhead from the company signed by an  authorized signatory from the company with a specific amount of money. 
    • You can modify the text automatically generated, but a person authorized by the company will print it on letterhead and sign it on behalf of the company. 
    • For example, if your mother owns Apple Design, she can print an affidavit of support on Apple Design letterhead and sign it on behalf of Apple Design. The financial statement account holder should match the sponsor listed in the affidavit and read “Apple Design.”  
  • If the sponsor is a government, make sure your support letter indicates a specific amount of money and the letter is signed.

Room and Board sponsor: If you will be living with someone in the US free of charge, the Room and Board sponsor will sign an affidavit of support and you must ask that person for proof of residence, like a lease, to upload to your dashboard. Room and Board sponsor is only someone you will be living with in the US while attending school. If your family is giving you money for room and board, but you are not living with them, they are not considered room and board sponsors, but just financial sponsors. 

Q: Can I submit my Affidavit of Support without a signature?

A: No. Please send the PDF to your sponsor and ask them to sign it and scan it back to you so you can upload it. Digital signatures of real signatures (not typed) are accepted. 

Document 4: I-94 Record 

The I-94 is required for students who currently hold or recently held an immigration status within the United States, like a transfer student or a student who took one program at Pratt and is taking another program.

You may access your I-94 record here:

http://i94.cbp.dhs.gov (select “GET MOST RECENT I-94”)

  • Go to the I-94 website and  save your most recent  I-94 as a PDF
  • Make sure you download your most recent I-94, NOT your travel history 
  • We want to see your immigration status, not your travel history

Document 5: Copy of U.S. entry visa in passport

A scan of your U.S. visa is required for students who currently hold or recently held an immigration status within the United States 

  • Upload a clear scan or photo of your current or previous U.S. visa(s) 
  • If you are from Canada or Bermuda, upload your most recent entry stamp instead
  • It is OK if your F-1 Visa is expired, please still upload it if you used it to travel to the U.S.

Document 6: Transfer Form

The Transfer form is required for students who have been attending a U.S. high school, language school, or college. Even if you left the U.S. after your recent program finished, and are outside of the US right now, you will need to submit a transfer form.

The Transfer form is available  from your dashboard or directly here:

/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/f-1_transfer_certification_form-4.pdf

  • Review our SEVIS transfer guide in full: https://www.pratt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/transfer_process-4.pdf
  • This process is to transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to Pratt
  • This form is generated by answering the questions in the ISF
  • You must ask your  International Student Advisor (Designated School Official or DSO) to help you complete this form and set your SEVIS transfer release date
  • Even if you are temporarily out of the U.S. Students transferring their SEVIS record to Pratt must contact their current school to determine on which date their SEVIS record will be transferred to Pratt. 
  • OIA can only issue I-20s for transfer students after the release date set by their previous school, not before. Check the release date indicated on your transfer form after your DSO completes it for you.

Document 7: Previous I-20s 

Students who have previously studied in the U.S. in F-1 status should upload copies of all previous I-20 from all schools attended in the U.S. 

  • Page 1 and 2 of each I-20 should be uploaded for I-20s created after 2015
  • Page 1 and 3 of each I-20 should be upload for I-20s created before 2015
  • If you are missing an I-20 attach a short memo of explanation and information about where and when you studied

Document 8: Proof of completion of previous program at Pratt

This is required for a student who already completed a program at Pratt and is continuing another program of study afterwards.

  • Proof can be a copy of diploma, transcript, or degree audit

Document 9: DS2019 from Sponsor i.e. Fulbright, or AmidEast

A student who is sponsored by an organization like Fulbright, AmidEast, LASPAU, etc. will have a DS2019 from that organization. 

-upload your DS2019 here and select “other”

Step 3: Processing and Receiving Your I-20

Your Dashboard is the best way to check the status of your supporting documents and I-20 

(or DS-2019) application. After you upload a document, it will take up to ten (10) days for the document to be marked as “Received” on your Dashboard and/or for your Process Status to change. Do not upload documents multiple times or contact OIA to confirm upload. The status changes (and the hourglass symbol will disappear) after the document is reviewed and manually updated by OIA within ten (10 days).  

After you submit a form or upload a document, it may take 10 days for the status to change to “received” in the system, as it is a manual process, not an automatic one. Therefore it is normal that your document is not marked as received immediately. Do NOT upload your document multiple times – this will slow down processing for you and all students. OIA will reach out to you via email if there is a problem with any of your documents. 

Dashboard  Statuses Descriptions

Pending [Awaiting Required Documentation]

  • This either means OIA has not reviewed it or you still need to submit a document
  • If you have recently uploaded/submitted the document, it means that a document you have uploaded has not yet been manually checked (wait at least 10 business days)
  • If you have not uploaded it yet, it means that you have to upload it

Under Review [All Required Documents Received]

  • This means that your application appears to have all the required documents and it has been assigned to an OIA advisor for review. 
  • The advisor will carefully review the content of your documents. 
  • You may need to revise and resubmit documents if anything is incorrect, so monitor your email messages carefully as we will contact you there.

Complete

  • This means that your application has been approved by the OIA advisor and your SEVIS I-20 is currently in production or has been issued by an advisor. 
  • You should receive the I-20 via email within (3) to four (4) weeks if the uploaded documents are in “COMPLETE” status.

Check your Pratt and personal email accounts daily for correspondence from OIA. Failure to respond to emails promptly will delay your I-20 processing. Advisors often request new or additional documents or have questions about your documents. 

Processing time for your SEVIS Form I-20 is estimated at three (3) to four (4) weeks from the date your application is deemed complete and ready for full review. The application includes the ISF (Step 1) and Supporting Documents (Step 2). We only accept inquiries about your I-20 status to oia@pratt.edu if your application has been pending more than 4 weeks.

To ensure the fastest processing time, OIA recommends reading all these instructions carefully and submitting a complete and correct application as soon as possible. Submit all documents at once rather than in pieces, as this will increase processing efficiency.

F-1 transfer students: I-20s can only be issued after the SEVIS transfer release date from your current school in the US.

Your I-20 will be sent to you via email once it is processed.

Step 4: Applying for your U.S. Visa

Please see our F-1 visa guide at the bottom of our New Students Webpage. 

NOTE: If you already have an F-1 Visa from another school or from studying at Pratt before and it will be valid on your U.S. arrival date, you do not need to apply for a new F-1 Visa. You do still need your new Pratt I-20 and to pay the SEVIS Fee if the SEVIS number is different from your previous one.

Information on Student Visas: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html

Resources

Pratt F-1 Visa Guide

Pratt J-1 Visa Info

Study in the States website

OIA New Student FAQ

Pratt Academic Calendar

New Student Orientation

Travel
  • Make your travel plans only after you have received your F-1 Visa. 
  • Upon arrival to the U.S., you will need to present your valid passport, your valid F-1 Visa, and your Pratt I-20.
  • Check current COVID-19 CDC Guidelines for vaccine requirements and Proof of Negative COVID-19 test or recovery. Regulation and documents requirements are subject to change.
  • Call your local airport and the airline of your ticket to double-check their requirements before entering the international departure terminal and boarding since they may ask for additional documents.

Keep your eye on the Back to Pratt webpage as it gets updated about travel to Pratt, and access to campus, as well as the OIA homepage.

Version: March 11, 2022 These instructions are subject to change.