An admitted international student may request visa sponsorship from the University of Chicago to enter the U.S. and attend our programs. There are two types of student visas available: F-1 and J-1. Visas are issued by U.S. Department of State consulates and embassies around the world. In order for a student to request a student visa, they must be admitted to the University of Chicago and be issued a "visa eligibility document" by the university (either I-20 or DS-2019).
- To request an F-1 visa, a student must request and be issued an I-20 from the university.
- To request a J-1 visa, a student must request and be issued a DS-2019 from the university.
The visa acquisition process
- Step 1: Collect Required Information from Student
- Step 2: Submit Student Information to Gargoyle/AIS
- Step 3: Submit COMPLETE files to OIA
- I-20 and DS-2019 Start Dates and Entering the U.S.
- When to Contact OIA.
- Collecting Admissions Information from Departments
After a student has been admitted, admissions departments reach out to students to collect the documents listed below. Admissions departments create a complete file for each student and provide it to OIA for processing. If documents are missing, OIA will send the file back to the admissions office and the administrator follows up with the student directly to indicate what is missing, collect the required documents, and re-submit the file to OIA.
In almost all cases, this entire process in managed through Slate and students upload their own documents. Most programs use Slate's internal messaging tools to communicate this information to students. Contact the Slate help team for questions regarding any technical function, including auto-messages. If your program does not use Slate for admissions, you will need to inform students and collect/compile these documents independently.
To apply for an I-20/DS-2019, each student record requires the following:
- This checklist confirms that you have reviewed the student's file and documents are included. This is also your certification that the student is admitted and has met the English Language Requirement.
- Electronic TOEFL scores are posted at: <\\tank1\Registrar\Toefl_Gre_scores> and updated every 2 weeks. Instructions on how to access scores can be found on our website.
- Slate users: the checklist is an electronic form that will automatically pop up when you moved the complete admissions file to the 'OIA' bin
- Non-Slate users: please attached a completed PDF Admissions Checklist to each file placed in the OIA tank
Unexpired Passport ID page
- Passport copy must clearly show name, photo, expiration date, etc.
- Include passport page for all dependents accompanying the student .
Financial Resources Statement (FRS) - Completed by the student
- The FRS outlines estimated costs (tuition, fees, and living expenses) for up to the first year of study. The FRS amount is only an estimate and must be the same for all students in a program. FRS amounts cannot be adjusted for personal circumstances.
- For most units, the FRS is an e-form in Slate. To populate the FRS, your department must submit the Tuition and Date Slate form.
- If your office submits files through OIA's tank, the FRS for your FRS can be found on our Admitted Students page
- Students must provide acceptable financial documentation equal or greater to the amount listed on the FRS.
- Include all supporting financial documentation (letters of support, bank statements, etc). For each line of support the student completes on the FRS, there should be an accompanying financial document.
Slate users can indicate University support amounts on the student's Slate record. Contact Slate help for instructions on how to enter this amount.
Non-slate users: include a copy of any financial support from the University of Chicago, if not already listed on the FRS.
- Slate users can indicate University support amounts on the student's Slate record. Contact Slate help for instructions on how to enter this amount.
- Translations of documents not in English must also be provided. The tranlation does not need to be official and the student can annotate the statement.
- If the support comes from a family member (including the student’s parents) or friend, check for a sponsor letter.
- We recommend students include a detailed table of contents if they have multiple funding sources
- The most common reason we send files back to admissions departments is insufficient or unacceptable funds. Please direct your students to our acceptable funding page to prevent processing delays.
Transfer In Form - SEVIS Transfer Students ONLY
- A 'SEVIS Transfer Student' is different from a student transferring thier academic record. SEVIS transfer students are currently in the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status and will transfer their F-1/J-1 sponsorship from the current school to the University of Chicago.
- Students can transfer their SEVIS records during, after, or between academic levels and programs
- Students are instructed to send OIA the Transfer In Form, but if they send it to you, please include it in the file.
Before OIA can issue an I-20 or DS-2019 for a student, the student must be in AIS. If your unit inputs new student information into AIS via another database (such as Slate), you must ensure the information flows to AIS correctly.
International student information will not flow from AIS into the OIA database unless all of the following fields are completed:
- Last Name
- First Name (if applicable)
- Middle Name (if applicable)
- Date of Birth (in mm/dd/yyyy format)
- Foreign Street Address*
- Foreign City*
- Foreign State/Province* (leave blank unless you can locate state in state lookup)
- Foreign Country*
- Foreign Postal Code*
- Birth dates and gender information entered into Gargoyle must match the passport information exactly.
A foreign permanent address is required in Slate and AIS before creating an I-20/DS-2019. This is the address that maps to type: 'Foreign Address' in AIS. If you have issues migrating data from Slate to AIS, you must follow up with the Slate team and the Registrar.
Once the file is complete and the student has been issued an ID number, send it to the 'OIA' bin (Slate) or appropriate Tank folder (non-Slate) for review.
The file will be reviewed in 10-14 business days. If there are any issues with the file, an adviser will place it in the 'OIA Incomplete Bin' and provide file notes (Slate) or email you directly with the issue (non-Slate). You will need to follow up with the student to collect any additional required documents and re-submit the application. Because of the large processing volume, we are usually unable to accommodate expedite requests.
How to submit documents to OIA:
1: Electronically in Slate (preferred)
Move the file to the 'OIA' bin for review. The Admissions Checklist will automatically pop-up. Please do not designate a next reader, as we have multiple people who work on these files. See the admissions flowchart for a visual of the process.
Slate bin descriptions and use:
'Pending OIA': For use by admissions offices only. This bin can be a holding area for files you are waiting to review.
'OIA': Place files here when you are ready for OIA to review the documents. Please do not indicate a next reader. Placing a file here requires filling out the checklist. If the Slate checklist does not populate when moving the file to the 'OIA' bin, contact the Slate Help team for assistance.
'OIA Incomplete': If the file is missing information, OIA will put the file the the 'OIA Incomplete' bin, add notes about the missing documents, and designate a next reader in the admissions office. Admissions will need to follow up with the student and return the file to the 'OIA' bin when ready for review.
'OIA Complete': When the file is acceptable and an I-20/DS-2019 has been requested, the file will be moved to this bin. Once it is in the 'Complete' bin, students should receive an email notification from our office in 1-2 business days.
Your admissions administrators should have access to all of the folders listed above. If you do not have access to the folders or are experiencing any technical issues reviewing or moving files, please contact the Slate Help Team.
2: Electronically on the OIA Tank
Put all documents in order of Admissions Checklist in a single .pdf file in the following order:
- Signed checklist
- Passport copy
- Financial documents, including sponsor letters, if needed
- Name the file: 'LAST NAME First Name ID Number Admissions'. Example: RODRIGUEZ Cynthia 358426 Admissions
- Save on tank in designated folder for your program
- Email OIA once you have added files to the tank
- Contact OIA for access to the tank, if needed.
Click for a downloadable version of the flowchart above.
- Start dates listed on the I-20/DS-2019 can only legally include days where the student is required (not highly recommended) to be present at the school. Start dates are set on a program-wide level and cannot be adjusted for individual circumstances.
- All SEVIS Transfer student start dates will be the official first day of the academic quarter, regardless of pre-programs or orientations. Even with the later start date, SEVIS transfer students will still be able to participate in all pre-program activities.
- It can be difficult to change start dates on documents that are already issued. Students should not apply for an I-20/DS-2019 until the required start date is confirmed.
Entering the U.S.
F-1/J-1 students can enter the U.S. upt to 30 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019.
- Example: If the start date on a student's I-20 or DS-2019 is 9/21, the earliest they can enter is 8/22.
- Use this helpful date calculation tool for assistance
- This entry timeline does not apply to SEVIS transfer students, as they can enter the U.S. anytime before the program begins once the record is successfully transferred to UChicago.
- F-1/J-1 students can enter the U.S. upt to 30 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019.
Entering BEFORE the above listed dates
- If a student attempts to enter the U.S. in his/her new status before that date, they will likely be turned away at the port of entry and will have to return home at the student’s own expense.
- Entry is always up to the discretion of the individual CBP officer
- If a student wishes to visit the U.S. before being able to enter in F-1 or J-1 status, please refer the student to OIA for advisement.
- New Student Check-In & Orientation
Contact OIA if:
- If a student is having difficulty in obtaining a visa
- Student plans to attend in an immigration status other than F-1 or J-1
- When a student decides to defer attendance
- A student decides not to attend the University
OIA advisers are also available to present at your orientation week activities. We can provide a customized overview of maintaining status and work authorization in about 30 minutes. Please let us know as far in advance of the events as possible (preferably 1-2 months).
To create immigration documents for your students, we must collect specific information from designated people in each academic department. If you are a department that uses Slate, we will collect the information via a Slate form. If you do not use Slate, OIA will ask for the information through an admissions E-mailMe Form. The individual program, we require:
- Each program within a department must be submitted separately
Program start and end dates (dates that go on the I-20 or DS-2019)
- The standard program start date must reflect only required (not highly recommended) pre-program activities that applicable to all students and should be consistent across the program. Review our start date guide for more information.
- End date should align with official end of quarter
- End date should reflect the estimated completion of a student making regular progress
- Contact OIA for guidance if you will have a required English language or other pre-program for some or all incoming students
Cost of Program and Financial Information
- You must provide program costs for the first year (12 months) of the program
Financial information collected submit Slate form:
- Tuition cost (total of the first year)
- Student life fee (total of the first year)
- Health insurance (total of the first year)
- Books (total of the first year)
- School year living expenses (total of the first 9 months)
- Summer living expenses (for first summer, if program extends beyond 9 months)
- Other program-specific costs, if applicable (e.g. laptop bundle). Please specify what the 'other' costs are in the notes.
- For programs longer than one academic year (9 months), fees must include the first summer's living expenses (listed under 'Other')
- Figures can be estimates, should not change through document issuing process, and must be consistent for all students in the program
- These estimates are for immigration purposes only
Figures cannot be adjusted for personal circumstances (e.g. typically frugal lifestyle, will live with family for free, etc). Please let OIA know if you have any questions.