Financial Documents For Issuance of I-20 or DS-2019

All students are required to demonstrate financial ability to pay for at least one year of academic and living expenses (to receive an I-20) or for the entire cost of your program of study (to receive a DS-2019). Additionally, a deposit is generally required before any immigration document can be issued. For more information on deposits, contact your admissions office.

Financial Documents Requirements and Steps

There are different costs for each AU program of study. To find the costs of the first year of your program of study please see our Cost Guides for International Students.

After you have determined the cost of your program of study, please fill out the Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) (PDF). If you have additional sources of funds, you may need to submit the Attachment to the Certification of Finances for International Students (PDF).

Please keep copies of these financial documents as you will need them when you apply for your visa.

Valid financial documents must:

  1. Show available funds (funds that can be liquidated (PDF) before the first day of classes) sufficient to cover the cost of your first year in your program of study (F-1) or full length of your program of study (J-1). 
  2. Be in English or be accompanied by a notarized English translation.
  3. Be dated within the past 3 months.
  4. Be on official bank letterhead with the bank's contact information, stamped and signed by a bank official.

Submit the completed CFIS Form and supporting financial documents to your Admissions Office at the time of your admission application. For questions on how to fill out the form(s), you can contact your admissions office or ISSS at (202) 885-3350/ 

If you are contacted by ISSS for insufficient financial documents, please send additional documents directly to ISSS 

Appropriate Financial Documents

Please see below description of appropriate financial documents and samples for your reference. You may submit multiple financial documents, but the total amount demonstrated must meet or exceed the Cost Guide for your program.

  • Bank Letter, stamped and signed by a bank official, and specifies the date, monetary currency, and name of the account holder.


  • American University scholarship or graduate merit award letter signed and accepted by the student.

Signed letter from the U.S. Government, Home Government, International Organization, Company, or Employer on government or organizational letterhead specifying dates, amount, monetary currency, and terms of sponsorship.


  • An individual sponsor who is a U.S. citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, or non-immigrant legally present in the U.S., must submit to ISSS a completed I-134 Declaration of Financial Support Form (PDF) with supporting financial documents.
    • The sponsor must select “I intend” at Part 3, number 21, and specify what exactly they will be responsible for (for example: “I will provide room and board” or “I will provide $xxxxxx in funds”). If more space is needed, part 8 can be used.
    • If they will sponsor with funds, a bank statement must accompany the Declaration of Financial Support. 
    • If this individual lives within driving distance from AU in the DMV area and is responsible for providing only room and board for the student, then a bank statement is not required.
  • For instructions on how to complete the I-134 Declaration of Financial Support, the sponsor should visit

    • Please note: The I-134 no longer needs to be notarized if the individual has also signed the CFIS form in the appropriate section. Additionally, the sponsor should not provide a copy of their tax returns to ISSS. Students should not file the form directly with USCIS but rather submit the completed copy as a PDF to ISSS.      

To be accepted for proof of financial support for immigration document issuance, loan documents must be a signed contract of agreement or signed confirmation letter that is not conditional upon any next steps. The contract or letter must state the exact amount that the student will be receiving and be signed by the lender and borrower.

For U.S.-based personal loans: if you are not able to receive a document that meet the above requirements, then the loan must be certified by the AU financial aid office before it can be used for I-20 purposes. Please work closely with your lender to ensure that all their application requirements have been met so that the lender can send the certification request to AU. Once AU financial aid receives the certification request, they will check to ensure you are enrolled in courses for the upcoming term. Once the loan has been certified, you will receive email confirmation. For more information about alternative credit-based loans, please see: