New Student Immigration

Each F-1 International student receives a Form I-20 to obtain the F-1 Visa and to maintain their immigration status as a student in the United States.

There is a section on the Form I-20 just below the “SEVIS ID” which provides important demographic data about the nonimmigrant student.  This section is very important to international students because it describes their names, country of origin, and date of birth.

The Designated School Officials (DSO) of BGSU follow strict guidelines in creating your nonimmigrant record.   The name standards are to ensure that we are in compliance with machine-readable passports.  Most countries in the world will require international travelers to possess the machine-readable passport in the near future.   

The machine-readable passport has two zones:

Visual Inspection Zone (VIZ)
Machine-readable Zone (MRZ)


You should carefully inspect your Form I-20 to ensure that it matches your passport.  Your DSO will match the fields to the MRZ and there will be no special characters in your Form I-20. Your

Designated School Officials can change the following fields in the SEVIS (Form I-20) record;


Frequently Asked Questions:

Question:  What if I believe there is incorrect information listed on my Form I-20?
Answer:  If you believe there is incorrect information on your Form I-20, please submit the Request for I-20 Update to Ensure that you upload a copy of the required documents with your Form such as the passport information page if the Form requests it.

Question:  Why is my LEGACY NAME different of the Form I-20 and why do my Designated School Officials (DSO) say they cannot change it.
Answer:  The DSO cannot change your LEGACY NAME.  This is the name that you were previously known by in the immigration system.  Prior to the new, stricter naming conventions, Designated School Officials entered student names in differing manners.  This sometimes caused confusion and duplicate records.  The LEGACY NAME section of your Form I-20 assists officials in ensuring that you are the individual listed on your documents.  Your DSO cannot change this field and there is no cause to be concerned about the field on your Form I-20 if it does not match your passport.

Question:  Why does my ISSUE REASON say “Transfer Pending” or “Initial”?
Answer:  The ISSUE REASON is just that, the reason that the BGSU DSO created a Form I-20 for you.   After the term start date, your DSO will register your immigration record in the SEVIS system.  There is no reason to be concerned about this information on your Form I-20.  If a new Form I-20 is printed for you at any time during your enrollment at BGSU, the new issue reason will be recorded in the immigration system and on the Form I-20.  You do not require a new Form I-20 for travel as long as you obtain a travel signature from your DSO prior to departing the United States.


For a complete description of how your DSO enters your name on your Form I-20, check the Department of Homeland Security guidelines at this website:

Updated: 03/31/2023 02:33PM