International Student Blog
Does an International Student Need an I-20 Form to Get an Education Loan?

Does an International Student Need an I-20 Form to Get an Education Loan?

After an international student has been accepted to study in the United States, they will then receive an I-20 form from a designated school official. Basically, the I-20 for serves multiple purposes, but mainly it certifies that an international student has been admitted into a full-time study program and has proved that they have sufficient financials resources to stay and study in the United States. The I-20 is an extremely important document, and has many uses. These include:

  • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, which is the Student and exchange Visitor Information System fee,
  • Apply for a nonimmigrant visa,
  • Enter the United States,
  • Change your status to F or M while in the United States,
  • Apply for benefits.

There are only a few financial sources that colleges will accept for an I-20 form. These include scholarships, personal loans, education loans, and/or any proof of personal or family income or sponsorship. Most other forms of funding are not accepted, such as property value, business value, credit card statements, or any other financial document that is older than 6 months.

Once an international student has been admitted into a school, the school collects necessary financial and identification information on that student who is requesting F-1 status. That information is then submitted into a U.S. database called SEVIS, which then processes the information and makes an I-20 form. The school’s DSO then gives the form to the student. Once the student has the I-20 form, they then must apply for the F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

In order to get your student visa, you need the I-20 form. To get the I-20 form, you need to prove that you can finance your studies in the United States. For most financial aid, you need a valid student visa. For international students who need loans, this process can prove to be extremely confusing. If you need a loan, then that loan will be your financial proof that you can pay for school. However, in order to get most loans, you need to be fully accepted into a program. Some schools grant conditional admission, with the contingency being proof that you can pay for school.

Many United States lenders require a valid student visa in order to receive a loan. In other words, without an I-20 form, there is no visa, so therefore there is no loan. However, there are a few lenders that work around this restriction. They will provide a “conditional approval” loan letter that states that they will approve the student’s loan provided a few conditions. This typically will suffice for the school to then provide the I-20. We suggest checking with your prospective lender and your school to see if this is an acceptable means of acquiring the loan and an I-20.

If you cannot secure a loan from a United States institution, we strongly suggest taking a look at the options available in your home country. For example, if you are from India, many Indian lenders are much more flexible in giving loans without an I-20. They may ask for other information and documents, but that is standard practice. A typical loan that is given out is call a pre-admission loan and it serves as a proof of funding. Again, we suggest checking with your prospective lenders to see exactly what they require and your options for receiving an education loan.

Getting a Form I-20 can be difficult, and so could putting all the required documentation together. We, at Nomad Credit, are always ready to answer any questions you may have in your search to find what program suits you best. If you have any questions about scholarships or other options for finding funding to study in the U.S. please visit us at We’d be happy to help you search and compare options for education loans or study loans, too. Please send us an email at if you have any questions! We are happy to help.




John Romanucci




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