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Obtaining an SMU I-20

International Students who are admitted into a degree program at Southern Methodist University will need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20) in order to enter and/ or remain in the U.S. as an F-1 student. The United States government requires all international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses before SMU can issue the forms required to obtain a visa. This requirement applies both to international students coming from abroad and those transferring from another U.S. university or institution.

For SMU to issue you a Form I-20, you will need to submit:
Required Financial Documents

1. The International Student Financial Statement form.  Section one and section two must be completed, including the signatures of both you (the student) and your sponsor.
2. A copy of the picture page from your passport
3. Original Financial Verification from Bank or Financial Institution, on bank letterhead, from you or your sponsor, must be dated within six months of the time of I-20 issuance.  Account balance(s) must be shown in an amount greater than or equal to total estimated costs above.  (Faxes and photocopies are not acceptable)
  •   An example of the wording that can be used follows: “I hereby certify that according to our records, SPONSOR’S NAME, the sponsor of STUDENT’S NAME, is capable of meeting the $60,788 education expenses of the student as indicated on the Estimated Undergraduate Cost form."
  • The bank letter must be translated into English and current balance in U.S. dollars.
 4. If you are attending another university in the U.S. or graduating from a U.S. high school, you also need to submit the SMU SEVIS Transfer-In form.

Estimated Undergraduate Costs

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that all foreign passport holders planning to study in the United States verify that appropriate funds are available to pay for education, living, and other expenses. This verification is needed in order to process and issue the required I-20 document. The estimated expenses expected to be incurred during the 2013-2014 academic year are as follows:


2014-2015 Education, Living, and Other Expenses Estimated Cost
Fall and spring tuition and fees $45,940
Housing (double room with roommate) and meal plan $14,646
Mandatory health insurance purchased through SMU $2,300
Books and Supplies  $800
Total $63,686