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Advising & Counseling

International Student FAQs: I-20 Form

The following information carefully explains how to get your Raritan Valley Community College Form I - 20. Please read it completely.


  1. DO NOT ENTER THE. U.S. WITH A B-1, B-2, OP. B-1/2 VISA UNLESS IT IS MARKED "PROSPECTIVE STUDENT." If you use a B visa to enter the U.S. you could be guilty of "fraudulent entry" and refused permission to stay longer than six months or to extend or change your status. Do not listen to people who say it is easy to enter the country as a visitor and change your status. It is not true!

    IF YOU DO NOT THINK THERE IS ENOUGH TIME TO GET YOUR F0RM I-20 In some countries you can ask the visa officer for a B-2 visa with the words "Prospective student" noted on it or have the words added to your B visa if you already have one. The officer will need to see that you are qualified for a Form I-20 but are unable get it in time. You will need to prepare evidence of your financial responsibility and ask us for a letter to take with you.

  2. DO NOT ENTER THE U.S. WITHOUT A VISA (unless you are Canadian)
    If you are from a country from which you can enter the U.S. as a visitor by showing a round trip airline ticket, do not do this. If you enter without a visa, you will be permitted to stay for only 90 days. You will not be given more time or allowed to change to student status.

What is a form I-20 and why do I need one?

A Form I-20 is a government form on which RARITAN VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE certifies to the U.S. Government that you are eligible for F-1 Student Status. It certifies that you:

  • are or expect to be a "bona fide" student.
  • meet our admissions requirements.
  • will pursue a full course of study.
  • proven that you have enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or suffering from poverty.

You need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa or status, or to keep lawful F-1 status when transferring or changing schools within the U.S. We will send you our I-20 in advance if you tell us that you are traveling outside the U.S. before classes begin.

Does everybody need an I-20?

NO, some international students do not need I-20's. If you are maintaining another non-immigrant status in the U.S., you do not have to have an I-20 and may attend school full or part-time. Dependent children in E, F, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, or S status need to change status after their 21st birthday or if they marry. If you have no legal status, you may attend school but you are not eligible to change status and do not need an I-20.

Getting your form I-20:

The links below leads to pages with the rules for issuance of your Form I-20 by Raritan Valley Community College. Please read and follow the procedures VERY carefully. You cannot complete this process without following them step-by-step.

Sometimes, we may have to ask you to give us more evidence of your financial ability, perhaps more than once. The U.S. government requires that we be absolutely sure, to the best of our ability, that you will have enough financial support to cover the full costs of your stay in the USA. Too little money causes pain and distress for students. We insist that students and their families look closely at the costs of living and studying in the U.S. and make careful plans to be sure your needs will be met.

Mail all documents to:

Raritan Valley Community College
Advising & Counseling Services
Attn: International Student Advisor
P.O. Box 3300
Somerville, New Jersey 08876

back to International Student FAQs 


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