First-Year International Student* Application

Dallas Hall

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:

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. Click here for additional instructions.
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.  
  • 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 $82,626 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.

The SMU International Student & Scholar Service Office will process your I-20 request after all required materials have been submitted to the SMU Office of Undergraduate Admission. Once your request is processed, you will receive an email regarding I-20 shipping options available through eShipGlobal. You will create a shipping profile on eShipGlobal, select the shipping courier of your choice, and pay for the related shipping costs.

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 2020-2021 academic year are as follows:

2020-2021 Education, Living, and Other Expenses Estimated Cost
Fall and spring tuition and fees $58,540
Housing (double room with roommate) and meal plan $17,110
Mandatory health insurance purchased through SMU $3,500
Books and Supplies  $3,476
Total $82,626 USD