Before you arrive
Obtain an I-20/DS 2019 form
- What is an I-20/DS-2019 form?
- The I-20/DS-2019 form is a certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status for those who wish to study in the United States. It is imperative to submit all required documentation for I-20/DS-2019 issuance. You will experience a delay in receiving your I-20/DS-2019 if all documents are not received in a timely manner. The I-20/DS-2019 form and your letter of acceptance must be taken to the U.S. Embassy or consulate when you apply for a visa.
- Who is required to have an I-20/DS-2019 form?
- International students who satisfy the following conditions require an I-20/DS-2019 form:
Students who are currently studying in the United States on a student visa (F-1 or J-1) in high school, college or an English language program; or
Students who intend to enter the United States with a student visa (F-1 or J-1).
- Explain the I-20/DS-2019 process.
- You will be issued an I-20/DS-2019 form after you have:
Been admitted to Benedictine University.
Supplied at the time of application, or shortly thereafter, all necessary financial documentation (including your Confidential Financial Statement of Support) to the Benedictine University Enrollment Center.
Your sponsor must submit an original letter from their financial institution stating the amount of funds available in the account(s) that will be used to sponsor you. Funds must be documented in U.S. dollars, translated into English and must be issued within the last six months.
- Is there a fee for the I-20/DS-2019?
- Yes, there is a fee of $200 for the I-20 and a fee of $180 for the DS-2019, but it is payable to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), not Benedictine University. The SEVIS I-901 fee is mandated by the U.S. Congress to support the program office and the automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. Each student or exchange visitor issued an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 on or after September 1, 2004, is responsible for paying this fee to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). For additional information, please view the U.S. Department of State website at http://www.state.gov
- I-20/DS-2019 checklist:
- Letter of admission from Benedictine University.
- Send an email to the Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) to confirm your acceptance of Benedictine University's offer of admission.
- Original financial documents required by the University.
- Completed Confidential Financial Statement of Support.
- Ensure that the amount in your sponsor's account is sufficient for the academic year.
- Report all financial documents in U.S. dollars and in English.
- Complete all information required on your application and other required documents.
- Your birth date and other requested information should be written correctly.
- Submit all necessary credentials by the priority application date to ensure that you receive your I-20/DS-2019 in time.
- What is the transfer process for I-20 students?
- After acceptance, take the International Student Transfer Release form and your acceptance letter to the designated school official (DSO) of your current school and request that your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record be released to Benedictine University. If you have maintained status, you are considered eligible to transfer to another school. The completed form must be returned to IPS at Benedictine University.
- This SEVIS transfer process MUST take place prior to the start of New International Student Orientation.
- Mail copies of your current immigration documents to IPS at Benedictine. These include:
- F-1 visa.
- Passport size picture.
- I-94 card (front and back).
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card for Optional Practice Training (OPT) (if you qualify for OPT).
- The Confidential Financial Statement of Support and bank documents must be original and therefore mailed or dropped off at the IPS office.
Apply for your student visa
- After you have been admitted, you will receive a welcome packet from Benedictine including visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019) and other information.
- Pay your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and I-20/DS-2019 fee. You may pay your SEVIS fee at here.
- Complete the visa application by following the instructions carefully. Before applying for a visa, you may visit the U.S. Department of State for a complete guide to applying for a U.S. visa.
- After you obtain the student visa, you can begin making travel arrangements.
Secure your housing
Explore Benedictine’s on-campus housing options by visiting Residence Life. Once you have decided where you would like to live, submit your housing form (select either Founders' Woods Application or Residence Hall Application) to IPS to secure a living arrangement before your departure to the United States. Be sure to confirm your accommodations before you leave your home country.
Complete your immunization and medical records paperwork
- It is advisable to take care of all your medical and dental needs in your home country before you depart for the United States. As an international student, you are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance for the entire period of your stay in the United States. You may purchase international health insurance by visiting our Insurance Requirements.
- IPS only accepts U.S.-based health plans.
- Please print and read the Immunization Requirements, fill out a Health Form and send the complete form to the IPS office.
- Student Health Services at Benedictine University will assess late fees that the student will be responsible for if health documents are not completed during the first few weeks of the first term. Additionally, students are not able to register for a second term, which may affect their visa status, until the documents are complete.
Obtain health insurance
- All students must show proof of U.S. health insurance.
- Living in the United States without health insurance is very dangerous. Medical bills can be very high. Not paying those bills can affect your personal credit history in the United States and possibly future visa applications. Credit histories in the United States follow you throughout your lifetime and are difficult to fix once damaged. A damaged credit history can affect you when leasing an apartment, buying a car, getting a loan or purchasing a home. Some U.S. companies even do credit checks prior to hiring you.
- Please do not risk coming here without insurance. Here are some common health problems and their average cost for someone with no insurance:
These are just a few examples and are minimum costs. Keep in mind there would likely be additional charges should an emergency occur (doctor visits, pain medication, other medication, follow-up appointments, etc.). Hospitals in the United States charge you for everything.
- Emergency room visit: $300-1,000
- X-ray of a broken bone: $100
- Cast on broken bone: $300-600
- CT scan to check appendix: $800
- Having your appendix removed: $1,800-2,000
- Normal childbirth: $1,500
- Hospital stay: $13,000
- The U.S. health care system DOES NOT allow you to purchase insurance to use on a condition AFTER you are sick. Please do not get stuck in the situation of having an emergency with no health insurance. The insurance company will investigate the injury and if they find out your illness occurred before you purchased the insurance, they will not pay your bills. Insurance in the United States is not something you can buy IF you get sick.
- If you have not done so, please use the following link to sign up for insurance. If you have another U.S. plan, please submit it to us. We do not accept or evaluate plans from other countries.
- Benedictine recommends HTH Worldwide. To enroll, students should enter their Group Access Code: IAP-25488 in the box on the right side of the homepage to sign up for coverage.