Admitted Students

Congratulations on being admitted to The University of Chicago! We hope your time at the University will be academically and personally fulfilling.

As an international student, you will need to be in an immigration status that allows study to enroll at UChicago legally.  The University is able to sponsor full-time students in F-1 or J-1 status (when eligible). On the page below, you will find information about applying for F/J sponsorship from the University of Chicago and what to expect as you move through the process.

Are You Already in the U.S.?

If you are currently in the U.S. in a different status that allows study (such as H-4 or L-2) or plan to attend with an I-20/DS-2019 issued by a different school, please see the information about attending UChicago in your current immigration status. If you are going to apply for F-1 or J-1 sponsorship through the University, please review the information below.

If you are already in F-1/J-1 Student status sponsored by another school and plan to transfer your SEVIS record to UChicago, please review the information below for additional instructions.

Note: Recently-issued executive orders may potentially lead to longer visa processing times and longer wait times when entering the U.S. Keep this in mind when planning the timing of your visa applications as well as your travel plans. Visit our guidance about executive orders on our website for more information. 

Becoming an F-1/J-1 Student: Overview and Checklists

Review the timelines to the right and download a checklist for your situation to understand the steps for becoming an F-1 or J-1 student.  The steps are explained in detail on the page below:

After you are accepted into the University, follow the steps below to apply for F-1/J-1 Status:

1. Apply for & Receive an I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)

To apply for an F-1/J-1 visa, you will first need a document showing you are eligible.  For F-1 students, the visa eligibility document is called an I-20.  For J-1 students, the visa eligibility document is called a DS-2019.  There are several steps involved in applying for F-1/J-1 status:

  1. Choose between F-1 and J-1 status
  2. Qualify for your I-20 or DS-2019 by completing the Financial Resources Statement and documenting your funding sources
    NOTE: The FRS for Autumn program start dates will be available in May.  Your admissions department will let you know when it is available.
  3. Submit the completed documentation to your academic unit
  • SEVIS TRANSFER STUDENTS:  If you are currently in F-1 or J-1 status at a different institution (including English language study during the summer), you may be able to transfer your SEVIS record to UChicago. Transferring your SEVIS record does require additional steps and documentation.  Review the link above to learn about the SEVIS transfer process. 

2. Apply for and Receive an F-1/J-1 Visa or Apply for a Change of Status in the U.S.

Once you have your F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019, you must use the document to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa by following these steps:

  1. Pay the SEVIS fee and print your SEVIS fee receipt
  2. Make a visa appointment and go to consulate/embassy to get F-1 or J-1 visa no earlier than 120 days before your I-20/DS-2019 start date
  • Canadian Students: students from Canada (holding a Canadian passport) do not need to apply for an F-1 or J-1 entry visa.  All other steps and immigration regulations will apply, including needing an I-20/DS-2019 and entering the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status.
  • Change of Status students: If you are already in the U.S. in a different status (e.g. H-1B, H-4, L-2, A-2, etc) and you are going to change to F-1 or J-1, you may have an option to change status in the U.S.

3. Arrive in the U.S. in F-1/J-1 Status

Once you have an I-20/DS-2019 and your F-1/J-1 student visa, you will need to enter the U.S. with those documents to become an F-1 or J-1 student.  To do this, you must follow the steps below:

  1. Travel to the U.S. no more than 30 days before your I-20/DS-2019 start date
  2. Update your address in my.UChicago or the Booth Intranet (READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST)
  3. Submit an online check-in form within 3 business days of arriving in Chicago
  4. Complete the mandatory online international student orientation


Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Links

Special Instructions for Students Coming to the Laboratory Schools (K-12)