To obtain a visa and enter the U.S. in the correct international student status, you require a certificate of eligibility: Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1.)
After you have accepted your admissions offer, your admissions department will send you information about required documentation, timelines, and instructions to apply for a I-20 or DS-2019. The request process will be sent to you by your admitting program/department.
I-20/DS-2019 Request Process:
- STEP 1: Once ready, your admitting department will invite you to complete an I-20/DS-2019 Request within the University of Chicago's OIA Portal. Please note you will need your CNET ID and password to access the OIA Portal. NOTE: Activating your CNET ID may take up to 3 days to fully complete, which could prevent successful login to the OIA portal.
STEP 2: Once in the OIA Portal, you will see the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form and instructions. Complete all sections and upload all required documentation (e.g. passport bio page, financial documentation, etc. - see below).
- Brief video tutorial: How to complete the I-20/DS-2019 Request
- STEP 3: Upon upload, your I-20/DS-2019 Request will be reviewed by our office and you will be notified if it is complete to process or incomplete and requires further attention.
- STEP 4: If accepted, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued within 3 weeks. If rejected, you will be notified by email why your submission was rejected (e.g. missing documents, etc.).
- STEP 5: Once your I-20/DS-2019 is issued, you will receive an email with your SEVIS ID#, School/Program Code, and next step instructions to pay the SEVIS Fee and schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. embassy/consulate.
Required documentation for the I-20/DS-2019 Request:
- A copy of the biographical page(s) in your passport (the pages with your picture, name and date of birth). Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times while in F-1/J-1 status.
Proof of sufficient funds to cover the estimated expenses for the first academic year of study at the University of Chicago. Your admitting program will send you a financial coversheet outlining expenses and allowing you to show funding sources.
- For more about acceptable financial documentation.
- Please only submit summary statements and not all pages of accounts.
- Copy of your letter of admission to the University of Chicago (this can be the PDF you received via email). NOTE: if the letter of admission is conditional (e.g. full admission is conditional on completing additional steps/requirements), you will not be issued an I-20/DS-2019 until you have satisfied those requirements and have a letter of unconditional admission. If you submit an I-20/DS-2019 Request with a conditional letter of admission, it will be rejected.
I-20/DS-2019 Request Estimated Cost of Attendance
- The estimated cost of attendance for the first year of studies is set for each program and cannot be altered for personal circumstances.
- The estimated cost of attendance is an estimate and for immigration purposes only. Your actual costs or bill may vary.
- U.S. visa regulations require that you document financial support for your first academic year.
- Individual costs may be more or less than the estimates.
Required Health Insurance
- You may either enroll in the University's student health insurance plan or certify that you have comparable medical coverage from another source. For more visit the U-Ship Information page.
- Government regulations require medical insurance for J-1 students and for their J-2 dependents, and the University strongly recommends it for all dependents. There is no national health plan in the U.S. and medical care is very expensive.
- If dependents will be accompanying you to the U.S., your budget must include funds for their living expenses.
- You will be required to show funding of $4,000 for each dependent that will accompany you. Non-degree exchange students must show funding of $1,000 per dependent per quarter. One-year MA students only need to show $3,000 for each dependent (summer living expenses are excluded for one-year programs).