Admitted Students

admitted student webpage image.jpg

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 may need a student visa for full-time study at the University of Chicago. The university sponsors full-time students in F-1 or J-1 student visa status. 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. We've also prepared an International Student Checklist to guide you through the steps you'll need to take.

Admitted Student Pre-Arrival Webinars

The Office of International Affairs will hold a series of webinars from March- August 2024 dedicated to providing information and resources to incoming international students to the University of Chicago. Each webinar will be held on the third Thursday of the month starting at 8am central time. For more information and to register:

March 21, 2024
Recording here


I-20/DS-2019 Request Process - An Overview

Are you a newly admitted international student coming to the University of Chicago in 2024? Please register and attend this informative webinar covering important information on submitting a complete and correct request for an I-20 or DS-2019 document. Please note we will be holding a webinar for SEVIS Transfer students on May 16! If you have questions specific to SEVIS Transfer, please plan to register and attend that session.

Thursday, April 18, 2024 08:00AM 
Recording here


Visa Acquisition & Travel Planning

Following our webinar in March on the I-20/DS-2019 Request Process, we anticipate some of you may be ready to begin thinking about scheduling a visa appointment, planning for the visa interview, and thinking about your travel to Chicago and the U.S. Please attend this webinar to learn more about all of those topics!

Thursday, May 16, 2024 08:00AM Register Here!

SEVIS Transfer Information Session

Are you a newly admitted international student coming to the University of Chicago from another U.S. College or University? If so, you may be eligible to transfer your SEVIS record to UChicago. Attend this webinar to learn about the SEVIS Transfer process, including timing, the SEVIS release date, impact on OPT, and more. SEVIS Transfer students are reminded that they MUST take action by requesting a transfer-in to the University of Chicago. This is not an automatic process and requires students to work with their previous schools and UChicago to successfully complete the transfer to avoid disruption to visa status.

Thursday, June 20, 2024 08:00AM
Register Here!

U.S. Academic Culture & the University of Chicago

Each year we meet students for whom it is their first time studying in the U.S., and each year we hear from them about how different the U.S. higher education system is compared to that at home. Attend this workshop to learn more about academic and classroom culture in the U.S. as well as the University of Chicago. We will cover UChicago specific topics, including: the academic calendar, quarters vs. semesters, academic policies, and more!

Thursday, July 18, 2024 08:00AM
Register Here!

F-1/J-1 Student Visa Basics & Pre-Arrival Information and Reminders

Both the F-1 and J-1 student visas are governed by regulations managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State. International students coming to UChicago on one of these visa types are invited to attend this session to learn about some of the basic parameters of each, including: on-campus employment, CPT/OPT, Academic Training, enrollment requirements, and more. We will also be covering some final pre-arrival information and reminders and provide time for students to ask any final questions before they begin preparations to travel to Chicago.

Thursday, August 15, 2024 08:00AM Register Here!

Campus Resources and Safety & Security

New international students are invited to attend this webinar to learn about all of the different offices on-campus here to provide support and offer specific services to all UChicago students. We plan to invite colleagues from Student Wellness and from the Department of Safety & Security. Come learn more about all that is available to you as a new student at the University of Chicago.

Pre-Arrival Newsletters

Links to the newsletters will be posted here after they are sent to students (monthly newsletter starting in the Spring)

STEP 1: Request an I-20 or DS-2019 from OIA

To apply for an F-1/J-1 visa, you will first need a document showing you are eligible – this document is generally  referred to as the “certificate of eligibility”. For F-1 students, the certificate of eligibility document is called an I-20.  For J-1 students, it’s referred to a DS-2019.  To request the I-20 or DS-2019 from OIA, you’ll first need to complete our Initial I-20/DS-2019 Request form. A link to this request and detailed instructions will be emailed to you by your admitting department after you accept their offer of admission. Students beginning a program in the Autumn Quarter will generally receive this information in April or May.

While you await  further instructions from your department, OIA recommends reviewing the following information:

lock icon.jpg CNetID Overview

Learn how to claim your UChicago CNet ID and set up your UChicago Email. You’ll need your CNet username and passphrase to access the Initial I-20/DS-2019 Request!

money icon.jpg Financial Documentation Requirements

Learn about the financial documentation required to qualify for the I-20/DS-2019, acceptable types of funding, common mistakes, and errors (and how to avoid them!)

world icon.jpg Understanding F-1 and J-1 Visas

Learn about the eligibility requirements for the F-1 and J-1 status as well as the difference between these two visa types.

connections icon.jpg Funding Options

Learn about US, International and UChicago funding options.

checklist icon.jpg Requesting an I-20 or DS-2019

This page covers the Initial I-20/DS-2019 request process, required documentation as well as the estimated cost of attendance.

questions icon.jpg Frequently Asked Questions

Review commonly asked questions about the I-20/DS-2019 request process.

Students already in the US

  • SEVIS Transfers - If you currently hold an active F-1 or J-1 status sponsored by a different institution (including English language study during the summer), you may be able to transfer your existing SEVIS record to UChicago. Learn more about the SEVIS Transfer IN process and eligibility requirements.
  • Changing from one UChicago program to another (Change of Education Level): If you are a current UChicago student in F-1 status and will begin a new UChicago program, you will need a new I-20 with updated program information, also known as a "Change of Education Level I-20". You may request the new I-20 by following the same procedures as newly admitted students. With that, please also consider the following:
    • OIA cannot issue the change of level I-20 until you complete your current program.
    • If you have plans to work off-campus between UChicago programs, please reach out to your OIA advisor to discuss your work authorization options.
    • If you are a UChicago student in J-1 status and transitioning to a new UChicago program, please reach out to your OIA advisor to discuss how to obtain a new DS-2019.
  • Change of Status (COS) - 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 the option to change your status in the U.S.
  • Studying under a different status - If you are currently in the U.S. under a different status that allows study (such as H-1B, H-4, L-1B, L-2, TN, etc.) please review this 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, review the information above to learn about how to request your I-20/DS-2019. 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 this SEVIS Transfer information.

If your visa will be sponsored by IIE / Fulbright or LASPAU you do not need to complete OIA’s I-20 / DS-2019 Request or submit a Check In form.

If you have any questions for OIA, please reach out to our Sr. International Student Advisor, Kayla Smith at klsmith5@UCHICAGO.EDU.

STEP 2: Apply for the student visa

Once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 from OIA, you’re ready to request the student visa sticker. This process will include the following steps:

1. Pay the SEVIS fee

Students who receive an initial I-20 or DS-2019 from OIA must pay a SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and retain proof (e.g. payment receipt) that the fee has been paid to present at the time of visa appointment and/or arrival in the U.S. The SEVIS fee is separate from the visa application fee you will pay to the embassy or consulate to receive your F-1/J-1 visa.

  • SEVIS Transfers: Students who successfully transfer their F-1 status to UChicago are not required to pay the SEVIS fee again, however you must receive your UChicago I-20 before classes begin.

2. Schedule a visa appointment with a U.S. Embassy

If you requested an I-20 or DS-2019, you may apply for a visa stamp as soon as you have your certificate of eligibility document.

  • Canadian Citizens: Canadian citizens (holding a Canadian passport) are not required to apply for the student visa sticker, however, they must still pay the SEVIS fee and present a valid I-20 or DS-2019 when requesting entry to the United States.
  • SEVIS Transfers: Students who successfully transfer their F-1 status to UChicago may continue to use their F-1 visa sticker to request entry to the US as long as it is valid (unexpired) at the time of entry. It is OK if your old school's name is on your visa.

Other Resources

laptop icon.jpg Administrative Processing

In some cases, the consulates may refer a visa applicant to "administrative processing" (background check). This page will provide a brief overview of what this means.

world icon.jpg Third-Party Countries & Visa Applications

Review this page if you’re thinking about applying for your visa outside of your country of citizenship.

compare icon.jpg Visa vs. Status

The term “visa” is often used interchangeably to refer to a student’s visa sticker and their immigration status, however these two things are not the same. This page will explain the important difference between “visa” and “status”. 

checklist icon.jpg New Student Handout (PDF)

A printable handout containing more information on “next steps” (after you receive your I-20/DS-2019), what to do before traveling and actions you’ll need to take upon arrival.

questions icon.jpg Frequently Asked Questions

Review commonly asked questions about applying for the student visa.

Student Process Steps: How to Navigate the U.S. Immigration System 

A resource from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

STEP 3: Arrive to the US & Complete the International Student check In Process

Once you’ve received your student visa sticker, it’s time to plan for your arrival. Review the resources below to help you prepare:

travel icon.jpg Arriving in the U.S

Students in F or J status may arrive up to 30 days before the start-date on their I-20/DS-2019.   This page will tell you everything you need to know about when to arrive, entering through the Port of Entry, secondary inspection, the importance of the I-94 and what documents will be needed at customs.

checklist icon.jpg International Student Check In Form

The check-in form is mandatory for all new F or J students (including SEVIS Transfers) and must be completed within 5 days of your arrival to the U.S.. Students will not be eligible for their student visa benefits (e.g. on-campus employment, work authorization, the Social Security Number, etc.) until the check-in process is complete.

city icon.jpg Daily Life In Chicago

Learn about Health & Safety, Living in Hyde Park, Transportation, banking etc..

house icon.jpg U.S. Address Update Requirement

All students in F or J status are required to report their U.S. within 5 days after their arrival to Chicago (this will be part of the check-in process). Review this page to learn how to satisfy this important requirement.

questions icon.jpg Frequently Asked Questions

Review commonly asked questions about arrival to the U.S..

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting Process/Obtaining I-20/DS-2019

How long does it take to get my I-20 or DS-2019 once I submit the request?

If your request is complete and correct, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued within 3 weeks. 

When will the I-20/DS-2019 Request become available?

Your admissions department will notify you when the I-20/DS-2019 Request is available for your program. Typically in mid-April/early May. 

My I-20/DS-2019 Request has been submitted and is in process; when will I get my I-20/DS-2019?

Once requested, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued within 3 weeks. Once issued, you will receive an email notification with your SEVIS ID#, the University of Chicago's SEVIS School codes, and how to pay the SEVIS Fee and schedule your visa appointment. 

I am currently studying in F-1/J-1 status in the U.S. and want to transfer my SEVIS status to UChicago.  How does that work?

If your current I-20 or OPT end date will be within 5 months of the UChicago quarter start date, you may be eligible to transfer your SEVIS record to UChicago.  You can read the complete process and instructions for transferring your status on our website.

Obtaining your Student Visa

How can I get a receipt to show I paid the SEVIS fee?

You can print a receipt from the FMJFee website and/or take a screen grab once you've successfully paid the SEVIS fee.

Can you send me my SEVIS ID number so I can make an appointment for my visa?

Yes; once your I-20/DS-2019 is issued, you will receive an email with your SEVIS ID# and other information required for paying the SEVIS Fee and scheduling your appointment.

Travel to the U.S. Before your program

I have to be in the U.S. more than 30-days before my I-20/DS-2019 start date for a sports team, optional school program, or need additional time to prepare for school.  What should I do?

The program start-date listed on your UChicago I-20 or DS-2019 will be early enough to accommodate early arrivals for orientations, AEPP, bootcamps, etc. If you are coming for summer to start research or in a lab, be sure to communicate with your admitting academic program about such requests.

When do I have to check-in with OIA? 

You can check-in online with OIA after you enter the U.S. You will want to locate your I-94 arrival record from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection to complete check-in, and only after you have arrived in the U.S. More check in information can be found on our website.

OIA Contact Information

General Contact

Student Services Team

Each international student is assigned an OIA advisor based on their academic unit. See our staff directory to see your OIA Advisor contact information.