OIE Process for Issuing a Graduate I-20 or DS-2019

OIE understands that the issuance of an I-20 or DS-2019 is a time-sensitive process. We work diligently to issue documents as soon as possible to ensure students can apply for the visa and arrive on time. Please read the information below to avoid common delays and to obtain answers to questions you likely have about the process. The timeline for this process varies for each student. Questions to confirm a request has been submitted should be directed to the academic program department.Once the academic program department has initiated the I-20 or DS-2019 request with OIE, graduate students will receive emails from info@oie.gatech.edu providing details on how to upload their passport, confirm biographical information, and upload financial documents (if required).

Be sure to add info@oie.gatech.edu to your safe sender list to ensure you don't miss any important emails about your I-20/DS-2019!

Step 1: Apply for and obtain admission from the academic program and the graduate school. Before a Graduate I-20 or DS-2019 request your admission to Georgia Tech must be complete.

1. Program Department internally reviews applicants and makes admission decision.

2. The Office of Graduate Studies officially enters an institutional acceptance decision, formally accepting the student to Georgia Tech.

  • Students should monitor their admission decision
  • ACCEPTED PENDING: If there are pending documents such as official transcripts, etc, the student needs to communicate directly with Graduate Studies to satisfy any outstanding documents. Graduate students may check their application status here. 

3. Student data is populated in iStart 2-3 business days after Graduate Studies fully processes the final acceptance decision.

  • iStart is the paperless system used by OIE to collect all requests, e-forms, and documents related to immigration for international students and scholars. To learn more about iStart, click here
  • Please direct all admissions acceptance processing time inquiries to Grad Studies and/or your program department

Step 2: Receive an email from info@oie.gatech.edu with a link to submit information. The email comes after your academic program department initiates the Graduate I-20 or DS-2019 request in iStart.

  • Look for email notification from info@oie.gatech.edu to provide Passport, proof of financial documentation and any other immigration data that is needed to issue the I-20 or DS-2019
  • Please direct all inquiries in regards to when a I-20/DS-2019 Request process will be initiated by the program coordinator to the correct academic program department

1. Part 1 Completed by Academic Department:

  • Department completes I-20/DS-2019 Request  e-form with the student’s program of study information and estimated tuition and living expenses information

2. Part 2 Completed by Student:

Students receive a unique link via info@oie.gatech.edu to complete the "Graduate I-20/DS-2019 Request" e-form. All students will be asked to upload a PDF of their passport, proof of financials requirements and complete personal information.

  • Transfer students: A transfer I-20 or DS-2019 can only be issued on or after the release date set by your previous institution so make sure that you have a release date from your current institution
    • Include your transfer date in the e-form to reduce delay of your I-20/DS-2019 processing
    • OIE does not require a transfer-in form or document. If you are a previous Visa holder and need clarification on transferring your I-20/DS-2019, or for more information on the transfer process, click here
  • Current J visa holders: Before an I-20 will be issued, we expect you to have a discussion with an Georgia Tech International Student Adviser to discuss the Change of Status options and required documentation. Call (404) 894-7475 to schedule an appointment.


  • Dependents: If you have dependents that need a visa, this form will collect that information and you will be required to provide additional proof of funding for each dependent.
    • $600 per month for a spouse
    • $400 per month for each child
  • TO AVOID DELAY students should review financial documentation requirements found on OIE's Financial Document Requirements website.

  • All students must show they have funds which will support them financially for the first academic year with an expectation that funding is available for the duration of the academic program.
    • Fully funded students with a GRA/GTA/GA, the department will indicate this on Part 1 of the e-form.
      • “fully funded” means the department is offering a GRA/GTA/GA that covers all tuition, some institutional fees, and living expenses. See the Bursars Office website for details. **If you are fully funded then you will be required to upload a copy of your GRA/GTA/GA letter when submitting the I-20/DS-2019 eform.**
    • Partially funded students with a GRA/GTA/GA and self-funding, will be expected to upload financial documentation showing proof of funding for any estimated expenses not covered by Georgia Tech.
      • “Partially funded” means the department is offering a GRA/GTA/GA that covers only a portion of tuition, fees, and living expenses and student will be required to show additional funding.
    • All bank accounts not in the students’ name need to be accompanied by a sponsor letter.
      • SPONSOR LETTER: Students who submit their sponsor's financial documents without a sponsor letter will have the I-20 request denied and the I-20/DS-2019 process will be delayed.
      • A template Sponsor letter can be found here
  • Bank accounts in the student’s name do not require a sponsor letter.


  • Shipping and use of address: The Non-US Street Address indicated by the student on eform will be the address used for official SEVIS records. Students are encouraged to use their permanent international address when completing the eform. This may or may not be the address used to ship the I-20/DS-2019. Please refer below to step 3 in regards to shipping address inquiries.
  • SURNAME/GIVEN NAME: Your official I-20/DS-2019 document and SEVIS record will be created using the name on your passport, as it appears exactly on the MRZ line. Any naming variation used for students' iStart and/or I-20/DS-2019 eform request processes will not be used to create official immigration documents.
  • Delays in processing: If your eform is incomplete upon submission, this will delay the processing of your immigration documents. There will be no expediting in processing immigration documents for incomplete requests.

Step 3: OIE issues a I-20/DS-2019 within 5-10 business days after all documents submitted in iStart are complete and accurate.

1. Students and academic program departments will get an email the moment the I-20/DS-2019 is printed. Depending on the request, the I-20/DS-2019 will be shipped directly using UEMS eShip Global or the academic department will pick up the document and coordinate shipping the document. The approval email received from the OIE will specify how you will receive your immigration form. If UEMS is being used you will be able to indicate the shippipng address and track the shipment based on the UEMS tracking information available to you. 

  • Program departments will use the address listed in the graduate application to ship the I-20/DS-2019. Review this address by logging in to buzzport.gatech.edu and going into Oscar. Any shipment questions or changes to your address must be communicated to the student’s academic program department.

2. After OIE issues a I-20/DS-2019, an approval email will be sent with detailed information on arrival and check-in processes. For further information on arrival and check-in please click here.