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International Student and Scholar Support

Obtain an I-20 or DS-2019

Your Certificate of Eligibility is a crucial document to obtaining and maintaining your F-1 or J-1 visa status. The process to obtain this document begins after you are admitted to the University.

The I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility

When you are first admitted to UofSC, International Student Services will send an email to the email address you provided on your application to the University. We will request several documents from you in order to process your initial immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019). Students applying for the F-1 visa (which includes the vast majority of international students at UofSC) get an I-20 and students applying for a J-1 visa get a DS-2019.

The documents we will need to issue your I-20 or DS-2019 certificate of eligibility include:
  1. A scan of the biographical section of your passport: We will use this to verify the spelling of your name, your date of birth, and your country of citizenship and birth. Please make sure that you email a clear scan of the photo-page of your passport to us so that we can ensure the accuracy of the information on your immigration document.
  2. The Certificate of Eligibility Request Form(located in our Forms Library): All international students must complete this form, even if you are transferring your SEVIS record from another institution.
  3. Proof of financial support for one academic year of study: To comply with federal immigration regulations and to successfully obtain your visa for entry, you are required to document that you have the financial capability to study in the United States for at least the first academic year of your program. Tuition, fees, and living expenses for 9 months of study (your first two semesters at UofSC) may vary from program to program. For more information on how much funding you will need to show, see this section of the ISS website.
After You Obtain Your I-20 or DS-2019:

Once you have your I-20, you can use the SEVIS number listed on the I-20 to 1) pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee  to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 2) schedule your F-1 or J-1 visa appointment using the DS-160.


If You Are Already in the U.S.: 

Transfer Students

If you currently have an active SEVIS record with another U.S. institution, then your SEVIS record must be transferred to the University of South Carolina before your UofSC I-20 can be issued. Please initiate the transfer process with your most recent U.S. institution. To successfully transfer your SEVIS record to UofSC, the following must occur:

  1. You need to be successfully admitted to the University of South Carolina.
  2. Your most recent U.S. institution needs to release your SEVIS record to University of South Carolina. If they need the University of South Carolina's school code, please contact

The University of South Carolina does not require a transfer-in form. We do not accept terminated or completed SEVIS records for transfer. After your SEVIS record has been released to us by your most recent U.S. institution, you will proceed with the steps listed above to obtain your certificate of eligibility.

Change of Visa Status

If you are currently in the U.S. on another type of visa but you want to change to the F-1 student visa status, you need to either apply for a change of visa status in the U.S. or travel and obtain a visa at a U.S. consulate. It is typically faster for you to leave the U.S. to apply for a new visa, but we understand that this is not always the best option for students. For those who need to stay within the United States to change their visa status, International Student Services will create your initial I-20 so you can submit a change of status application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. For information about applying for a change of status, please see the change of status section of the ISS website. Processing times often take several months--don't delay!

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