I applied for an F-1 visa and was interviewed this week. After the interview had finished, the officer had taken both my passport and my I-20 form. Only after I quit the counsel building did I notice that maybe she should have returned the I-20 back to me, as there doesn't seem to be a reason to keep it with them.

Now what? Is anything wrong? and if yes, how to get it back again? Is it important to have my I-20 with me at the time of my entry to the US at the airport?

I have e-mailed this issue to the counsel but I don't think I found or used the right email address for similar issues.

  • Is it possible that they'll return the I-20 along with your passport in a few days? – Zach Lipton Jul 9 '16 at 0:10
  • While the visa is a 'long term' one and therefore better fitted to expats, the reason I voted to keep open is that the question is about the need to hold the form when traveling/crossing the border. – Willeke Jul 9 '16 at 12:07

You need the I-20 form and the F-1 visa in order to enter the United States as a student.

If the consulate is unable to return your I-20, you must consider it lost and request a replacement form I-20 from the school you plan to attend.

Since this may take some time, you should make every effort to contact the consulate and secure the return of the document. This includes email, phone, even physically returning to the consulate if possible.

  • Thanks. I have another issue with the I-20. It is not signed by my university at all. The counsel officer noticed it but then she said your visa was approved. Will this lack of signature possibly hinder my entrance to the US? – Mohammed Jul 9 '16 at 0:12
  • That's not really a question we can answer. You should try our sister site, Expatriates for such a question. – Michael Hampton Jul 9 '16 at 0:14

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