Document Shipping Options

IMPORTANT NOTE ON DOCUMENT REQUESTS – ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF I-20/DS-2019

All I-20s and DS-2019s will be sent as an electronic document per guidance from the Department of Homeland Security Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and Department of State for the duration of 2021-22 Academic Year.

F-1/F-2 I-20s signed and sent as electronic scans can be used for all official purposes, including visa applications and renewals, entry to the U.S., applications for OPT, etc.  There is no need for the original, physical I-20 at this time.

J-1/J-2 DS-2019s signed and sent as electronic scans can be used for most purposes except visa applications, renewals, and entry to the U.S.  For visa applications, visa renewals, and entry to the U.S., the original, physical DS-2019 is required.

For official documents for which you need the original, physical document, such as J-1 DS-2019s needed for visa interview or entry to the U.S., OPT EAD Cards, original USCIS employment approval notices, etc., ISSS will need to arrange to either pick up or have documents shipped to you, following the steps outlined below.

For new and transfer students, shipment of your admission letter and initial or transfer I-20s/DS-2019s is provided by International Student & Scholar Services and The University of Alabama via USPS Airmail or USPS First Class Mail as outlined in shipping options 2 and 3 below.  If you would like faster delivery with tracking, you will need to personally arrange and pay for shipping via University Express Mail Services or SASS Smart And Simple Shipping as outlined in option 1 below.

For new international faculty, staff, and scholars, shipment of your invitation/appointment letter, DS-2019, or other immigration support documents will be arranged by International Student & Scholar Services and paid for by your sponsoring department at The University of Alabama.

For current or returning international students, faculty, and scholars who have submitted a request for replacement documents, you may arrange to pick up your documents at International Student & Scholar Services in-person, or arrange for shipment of your documents.  If you would like fast delivery with tracking, you will need to personally arrange and pay for shipping via University Express Mail Services or SASS Smart And Simple Shipping as outlined in option 1 below.  Shipment can also be provided by International Student & Scholar Services and The University of Alabama via USPS Airmail or USPS First Class Mail as outlined in shipping options 2 and 3 below.

1) EXPRESS SHIPPING OPTIONS

The University of Alabama’s International Student & Scholar Services uses 2 different options for express shipping service provided by University Express Mail Services and SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping to deliver documents.

Option 1) University Express Mail Services – eShipGlobal
Requesting your document delivery through University Express Mail Services is at YOUR expense, and your credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover cards) or Paypal Account will be charged when requesting the service from University Express Mail Services.

To process the University Express Mail Services request, please follow these instructions:

  1. Register and activate your account at University Express Mail Services. Registration and activation of your account is free.
  2. Click the “Receive” option.
  3. Type “Alabama” in the search box, or select it from the drop down list.
  4. Select “The University of Alabama” and then “Continue.”
  5. Select ISSS’s profile, which is listed under “Capstone International Services” and then “Continue.”
  6. Complete the shipping form, use your University of Alabama CWID number, and select “Ship/Quote.”
    Note: PO Box addresses are generally not preferred by express carriers. If entering a PO Box address, be sure you provide the complete physical address where the PO Box is located in order to avoid delays or mis-deliveries.
  7. On the confirmation page, check your shipment details.
  8. On the same page, complete the credit card or PayPal information form.
  9. Select “Confirm” to advance to the shipment summary page.
    Note: Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your documents. If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail support@eshipglobal.com.
  10. International Student & Scholar Services will automatically be notified by University Express Mail Services (eShipGlobal) that you have requested your documents via express mail. We will print the shipping label and submit your shipment for pick-up.  You can track the shipment using the tracking number provided.

Option 2) SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping
Requesting your document delivery through SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping is at YOUR expense, and your credit card will be charged when requesting the service from SASS.

When shipping, SASS uses the most efficient, reliable, and fastest carrier based on the destination.  International students and scholars pay flat fees as follows:

  • Worldwide shipping $50
  • Africa: $66
  • Domestic (U.S.) Overnight: $33
  • Domestic (U.S.) 2-Day: $17.50
  • Note: Sudan, Syria, and Iraq are subject to a $30 Restricted Access Special Handling Fee, and Palestine is subject to a customs duty charge of $100.

To process the SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping request, please follow these instructions:

  1. Register and activate your account at SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping. Registration and activation of your account is free.
  2. When registering, indicate that you are registering to receive documents from “The University of Alabama”
  3. When creating your account, it will ask you to select a username and password.  Once complete, you will be able to request shipping.
  4. Complete the shipping form. Note: Postal Box addresses are generally not preferred by express carriers. If entering a PO Box address, be sure you provide the complete physical address where the PO Box is located in order to avoid delays or mis-deliveries.
  5. When reviewing your shipping request, please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your documents. If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please e-mail SASS@airconceptsusa.com.
  6. International Student & Scholar Services will automatically be notified by SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping that you have requested your documents via express mail. We will print the shipping label and submit your shipment for pick-up.  You can track the shipment using the tracking number provided.

2) Regular Airmail (for standard international shipments)

Regular overseas airmail takes 4-6 weeks to deliver, depending on the destination. Additionally, there is no tracking confirmation option for airmail. If you are currently outside of the U.S. and want your documents sent by regular overseas mail, please indicate your preference when submitting your document request to International Student & Scholar Services.

If you do not indicate a preference for shipping and no request for expedited shipping is received from University Express Mail Services or SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping within 3 business days, your documents will be sent by regular overseas airmail to the permanent home address indicated on your MyBAMA record.

3) Regular US Postal Service Delivery (for standard domestic U.S. shipments)

Regular U.S. Postal Delivery by First Class Mail takes 7 – 10 business days to deliver, depending on the destination within the U.S. Additionally, International Student & Scholar Services cannot provide tracking confirmation for standard U.S. Postal Delivery. If you want your documents sent to a U.S. address by regular U.S. Postal Delivery, please indicate your preference when submitting your document request to International Student & Scholar Services.

If you do not indicate a preference for shipping and no request for expedited shipping is received from University Express Mail Services or SASS – Smart And Simple Shipping within 3 business days, your documents will be sent by regular U.S. Postal Service to the local address indicated on your MyBAMA record.

4) In-Person Pick Up (for students/faculty/scholars in Tuscaloosa)

Students and Scholars who are currently in Tuscaloosa can always pick up their documents from International Student & Scholar Services (such as for I-20/DS-2019 extensions, OPT STEM Extensions, etc.). If you wish to pick up your documents, please indicate your preference when submitting your document request to International Student & Scholar Services.  Photo ID is required when picking up a document from International Student & Scholar Services.

NOTE: You must pick up your documents in-person – International Student & Scholar Services can no longer allow friends or family members to pick up documents for you.

This policy change is due to changes made by The Department of Homeland Security and Student Exchange Visitor Program with regards to whom we may release I-20 documents  (see 8 CFR 214 (f)(3)(k) Issuance of Certificate of Eligibility, and Policy Guidance).

EXCEPTIONS: For students from areas where shipping may not be easily handled, ISSS must reach out to The Department of Homeland Security and Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to request an exemption from the I-20 Issuance Policy.  Such exemptions are an option in cases when:

  • students are in countries where U.S. courier services do not operate; or
  • students are in areas with inadequate infrastructure or services that make deliveries generally difficult or would be unsecured.

Once granted an exemption, ISSS can work with the student to make arrangements for 3rd person delivery (e.g. documents carried by an individual to the student or shipping to a third party).