Step 2: Obtain your Form I-20

The Form I-20

The Form I-20 certifies that you have been admitted to FSU for a specific program of study, have financial resources to support your academic and living expenses in the United States and are eligible to apply for the F-1 nonimmigrant student status. The Form I-20 is generated by the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is associated with a particular SEVIS ID and record.

This page explains the process by which you can obtain your I-20 from FSU. For information about possible funding options for your study at FSU, please see our funding page.

Determine your Estimated Total First Year Costs

Before issuing your I-20, we must verify that you have sufficient financial resources to meet the costs of your first year of study and that you confirm availability of funds for the length of your academic program.

Listed below are estimated total minimum costs for your first 12 months at FSU. Please account for potential 15% annual increases in tuition and fees. These figures do not account for large personal expenses, such as the purchase of a car or frequent travel. The estimates assume minimal summer living expenses and no summer course enrollment. If you enroll in summer courses, your cost of attendance will be considerably higher. We advise you to keep these points in mind when planning your personal budget.

If you are bringing a spouse and/or children to the U.S. on an F-2 dependent visa, you must show an additional $6,000 for your spouse and $4,000 for each child to cover their estimated first year living expenses. This requirement does not apply to dependents with U.S. citizenship or another visa status. If purchasing insurance in the U.S. for your dependents, their expenses may be higher than these estimates. Please note that these estimates reflect out-of-state tuition rates.

Estimated Total Minimum First Year Costs for Students Admitted for Spring, Summer, and Fall 2023

Undergraduate Programs (26 Credits/Year)  

Expenses Estimate*
Tuition and Fees $18,799 (26 credits)
Living Expenses (Housing, Board, Personal) and Health Insurance $22,092
Books/Supplies $1,000
TOTAL $41,891

*Subject to change

Graduate Programs (18 Credits/Year)

Expenses Estimate*
Tuition and Fees $20,043 (18 Credits)
Living Expenses (Housing, Board, Personal) and Health Insurance $22,092
Books/Supplies $1,000
TOTAL $43,135

*Subject to change

Specific Graduate Programs (>18 Credits/Year)

Program Estimate*
Master of Finance (MSF) $58,705
Master of Accounting (MAcc) $59,816
Master of Business Administration (MBA) $66,480
LL.M. for Foreign Lawyers $55,666
Juris Doctorate (J.D.) $63,797
MFA in Film Production $73,894
MFA in Writing for Stage & Screen $58,344
M.S./Ed.S in Mental Health Counseling $65,369
M.S./Ed.S in Career Counseling $63,148
M.S./Ed.S in School Psychology $63,148

*Subject to change

Understanding your I-20 Funding Requirements


Florida State University charges tuition and fees on a per-credit-hour basis. Current cost per credit (see for the most updated information):

  • Undergraduate:  $721.10 per hour (out-of-state)         $215.55 per hour (in-state)
  • Graduate:           $1,110.72 per hour (out-of-state)        $479.32 per hour (in-state)

Almost all international students should expect to pay the Out of State rate for the entire duration of their study. Additionally, a $20 per semester facilities use fee and $5 per semester FSU Card fee is assessed to each semester for which a student is registered in classes. Students can calculate their approximate tuition costs by multiplying the expected number of hours taken by the cost of each credit hour and adding the additional per semester fees. *Please note that some programs have additional per semester fees for equipment and the number of hours required may vary based on your major.*

A standard I-20 for an international graduate student reflects 9 credit hours per semester (Fall/Spring) for a total of 18. Your cost of attendance for a 12-month period will be higher if you take more credits in the Fall/Spring semester or if you decide/are required to enroll in Summer classes.

Assistantship/Scholarship Recipients

If you will receive funding from an FSU department for a graduate assistantship or a scholarship: please keep in mind that the number of hours the department includes in their funding offer will influence your overall I-20 funding requirement. For example, if you will receive tuition waivers for 27 hours (9 Fall, 9 Summer, 9 Spring) you will have a significantly higher tuition/fee funding estimate compared to a student only taking 18 credit hours. Waivers do not cover mandatory fees which currently amount to $105.87 per credit hour, plus the per semester fees mentioned above. Please keep this in mind when viewing the “Determine your Estimated Total First Year Costs” table below.

Living Expenses/Health Insurance

The Center for Global Engagement uses data provided by the Office of Financial Aid to determine the approximate cost of living in Tallahassee for 12 months. This includes housing/rent, board, personal expenses and ‘between semester’ costs. In addition, international students attending FSU are required to obtain health insurance as an admission requirement. Currently, we estimate a minimum cost of living and health insurance estimate as $22,092; this will be reflected on your I-20 funding requirement.


The estimated yearly cost of textbook and educational supplies is $1,000, and this is also reflected on your I-20.

Activate your permanent FSUID

After you are formally admitted to FSU, you must activate your permanent FSUID using your EMPLID, first (given) name, last (family) name, and date of birth as you entered them in your application for admission. After formal admission to the university, which you can see in your admission application, you will receive an email from Admissions containing your EMPLID.

Note: The FSU-assigned EMPLID is not an SSN and cannot be used for any use outside FSU’s campus.

DUO Authentication

You will also complete DUO authentication during this process. We strongly recommend that you activate your FSUID and install the DUO app on a device that you will bring with you to the U.S., if possible. You will need to use the DUO authentication to access your student account shortly after your arrival in the U.S. to complete Step 9. More information about the DUO mobile app and customer support resources can be found HERE.

Fill out the I-20 Application

In approximately 2 business days after you are formally admitted to FSU (recommendation for admission by a graduate academic department is not formal admission), you will be able to complete your I-20 Application in Nole Start. In the I-20 Application, you will provide us the information and documents we need in order to determine your eligibility for F-1 status and issue your I-20. You will be able to login to Nole Start using your FSUID and password only after successfully activating your FSUID (see the instructions above) and completing DUO authentication.

While you are awaiting access to the I-20 Application, you can collect the following documents that you will need to upload into the I-20 Application:

  • A photo (JPEG only) or scan (pdf only) of your current passport biographical information page, regardless of expiration date.
  • A photo (JPEG only) or scan (pdf only) of your funding documentation (department offer letter, scholarship letter, and/or bank statement).
  •  A photo (JPEG only) or scan (pdf only) of your completed and signed International Funding Document (IFD) form, available at
  • A photo (JPEG only) or scan (pdf only) of the biographical information page of all passports for dependents who will be accompanying you in F-2 status.

Be sure to fill out all required information in the I-20 Application and click the submit button at the end. If you need to return to the form later to add information, click the save draft button instead.

Section 1: Personal Information

The government’s immigration database now requires us to enter your city of birth and country of birth. If you are unsure of the city in which you born, you may need to obtain a copy of your birth record. Having the most accurate information will help expedite any security check procedures you may encounter during visa processing.

Under Country of Legal Permanent Residency field, do not enter ‘U.S.’, unless you have a valid U.S. Permanent Residency Card (‘Green Card’). If you are a U.S. Permanent Resident, you do not need to obtain an I-20 or F-1 status.

Since the F-1 non-immigrant status requires that you have a residence abroad that you do not intend to abandon, you will need to provide an address in the country you consider your home. This can be a family address – your parents’ or grandparents’ address, for instance.

Upload a JPEG or pdf copy of your passport biographical information page (with the photo, name, date of birth etc.) No other pages are required.

Section 2: Dependent Information

As an F-1 student, you may sponsor the F-2 status of a spouse or child (dependent). An explanation of who qualifies for dependent status is available in the I-20 Application, if you click “Yes” on the following question – “Would you like more information about F2 dependent eligibility and funding requirements?” Before the I-20 Application is available to you, you can find the same information HERE. You must provide additional evidence of funding to cover the expected living costs of your dependents in the amount of $6,000 per year for a spouse, and $4,000 per year for each child.

For each dependent you wish to bring with you to the U.S., fill in the requested biographical information and make sure to upload a scan (JPEG or pdf only) of his or her passport biographical information page. There is space to enter information for one spouse and up to 5 children.

Upload a JPEG or pdf copy of each dependent’s passport biographical information page (with the photo, name, date of birth etc.) No other pages of the passports are required.

Section 3: Funding Documentation

In this section, you will be primarily uploading documentation. There is one question regarding your primary source of funding. This is for demographic reporting only and will not impact anything in your immigration record. We understand the information may change. Please pick the category that you think is most applicable to your current situation. You will have an opportunity to revise this information every semester.

The following types of funding documents are acceptable (more than one type can be submitted). All documents must be in English and dated within the past six months.

  • A bank account summaries/statements or letters specifying the owner of the account and the amount currently available (currencies besides U.S. Dollars are acceptable). All account summaries and letters must be printed by the financial institution with their letterhead. All letters must be signed by a manager.
  • Scholarship, grant or assistantship offer letters from an academic department or the athletics department at FSU.
  • Scholarship or grant award letters from non-FSU organizations, specifying what expenses are covered and the upper limits of that coverage.

 Complete the International Funding Document (IFD), available at If the sponsor is using funds from a company account, you must also submit a letter of sponsorship printed by the company on their letterhead and signed by a company representative.


Section 4: Admitted for Summer

This question helps us determine the start date for the I-20 for students admitted to the Summer semester. If you are admitted for Fall or Spring, please choose “Not admitted for Summer”.

Section 5: Immigration Transfer

The questions in this section will help us determine the timeline for the transfer of your immigration record to FSU. If you currently hold F-1 status while studying at another U.S. institution, pursuing Optional Practical Training (OPT), or traveling for a short time between the end of one U.S. study program and the beginning of your study at FSU, you will need to transfer your immigration record. This is different from an academic transfer.

If you are transferring your F-1 immigration record to FSU, with the help of your current/previous international student advisor at the last U.S. school you attended, please complete the Transfer In Form (both Parts I and II) and upload the form into your I-20 Application in Nole Start.

Section 6: Our Information

In this section, you will be able to both identify your immigration advisor (assigned by the first letter of your family name; the first family name if you have more than one) and route your application to the correct advisor.

If you have not heard from your advisor in 10 days after submitting your form, please feel free to contact THEM directly. Each advisor is responsible for approximately 600 students, so it is not possible for them to contact you immediately after your submission.

Section 7: Almost Done

Please do not forget to click the Submit button to finish your application. If you think you will need to submit additional information or documentation, you may click Save Draft instead, but be sure to set a reminder for yourself to complete the application. Advisors will not review partially completed applications.

Receive and check your I-20 for accuracy

Once you have submitted all the required information and documents through the I-20 Application, we will email you instructions to choose your I-20 delivery method. Once you have selected your delivery method and, if applicable, paid for the express shipment, we will issue and send out your I-20 within three business days.

After receiving your I-20, review it to verify that the biographical information on your (and any dependents’) I-20(s) matches the that of your passport(s). In addition, check the PROGRAM OF STUDY section to ensure that it matches the degree program to which you have been admitted. Note that the information in the MAJOR 1 field on the I-20 will not exactly match the name of your program of study at FSU but will correspond to the CIP code assigned to your major in the FSU Degree Program Inventory. In addition, the PROGRAM END DATE listed on your I-20 may be later than your anticipated graduate date - this is to account for variation in individual student progress and program requirements, which are not superseded by information on your I-20. If you graduate earlier, we will update your the I-20’s PROGRAM END DATE at that time.

If any piece of information does not match, email as soon as possible with scans of the I-20 and passport, and an explanation of the correction needed. We will send you a corrected I-20 as soon as possible.

Once you have confirmed the accuracy of your I-20, sign and date the STUDENT ATTESTATION section at the bottom of the first page.