Submitting the Completed Documentation to your Academic Unit


To issue your I-20/DS-2019, OIA must receive a complete application packet from your admissions office.  In most cases, you will submit these documents through the electronic application portal.  Your admissions department will explain when and how to submit the documents.

The following documents must be submitted to your admissions department:

  1. Complete Financial Resources Statement (FRS)
  2. Acceptable Financial documentation
  3. Copy of passport biographical page/s (those showing your name and photo)
    • Copy of passport for each dependent, if applicable

Your admissions department will contact you with instructions on where and how to submit these documents. If you have any questions, please contact your admissions department directly.

Issuing your Form I-20 or DS-2019     

Once you submit your documents to your admissions department, the following steps occur:

  1. The admissions department reviews your documents for completion (takes 1-4 weeks)
  2. Your admissions department sends your file to OIA for review
  3. OIA reviews your application documents and will take one of the following actions (10-14 days):
    1. Complete application. Your application is complete and no documents are missing. Your I-20/DS-2019 can be created.
    2. Incomplete application. Your application is missing information or there are questions about your file. Your I-20/DS-2019 cannot be created. Instead, your application will be sent back to your admissions office and you will be contacted by your admissions department to confirm what you are missing or get additional clarification. Please do not contact OIA or your admissions department to verify that all of your documents are correct; you will be notified if something is missing. Incomplete applications will cause a processing delay of usually 1-2 weeks; please follow all instructions carefully to expedite the process and prevent delays.
  4. Once OIA receives your completed application from your admissions office, your I-20/DS-2019 will be created in 10-14 business days.  If you do not hear from our office or admissions, it means that your request is being processed. You will be notified is anything is missing and do not need to separately contact OIA to confirm receipt.
  5. Your I-20/DS-2019 will be mailed to you via the method selected on your FRS.  You will receive a confirmation email with additional instructions when your new I-20 has been created and shipped.
    • If you selected 'Express Shipping': your document will not be mailed until after you've created your mailing label.  You will not receive a reminder about creating a mailing label.

Expedited Applications: We completely understand that summer is a busy time to apply for a visa in many countries and wait times for visa appointments can often be several days or weeks. However, due to high volume and the need for everyone to receive their documents as quickly as possible, we cannot accommodate expedite requests. All documents are be processed in the order that they are received and according to the timeline listed above.

Common Application Errors

Find the most common I-20/SD-2019 application errors below:

  • The Financial Resources Statement (FRS) is incomplete or inaccurate
  • Funding is inadequate or confusing. Review the list of acceptable financial documentation types and be as clear as possible.  Include a table of contents if you have multiple accounts or different kinds of funding.
  • Sponsor letter is missing (or unsigned) for accounts not in your name
  • Passport is missing or expired (including dependents, if applicable)      
  • SEVIS Transfer Students:
    • Not indicating you are a SEVIS transfer student on the FRS
    • Not sending your Transfer-In Form to OIA
  • Shipping delays: If you selected that you would like your document sent via 'Express Shipping', confirm you've created a shipping label. Your document will not be mailed until after you've created your mailing label.  You will not receive a reminder about creating a mailing label.

We understand this is a long process and we appreciate your patience. If OIA needs anything from you, you will be notified via e-mail. If you do not hear from us, it means your document is being processed.     

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Receiving Your I-20/DS-2019

Your I-20/DS-2019 will be mailed to you.  Due to security regulations, we are unable to provide electronic copies of documents over email.

Depending on your academic department, your document will either be:

  1. Sent by OIA through the method you indicate on the FRS, OR
  2. Sent by your admissions office through express mail. 

Review the chart below to find out how you will receive your document:

Documents Sent by OIA

If you are an incoming student in the following academic programs, OIA will mail the I-20 or DS-2019 to you directly according to the method you select on your FRS. We can send it to you by either:

  • Standard Mail: Documents are sent free of charge through standard mail and typically take 2-6 weeks to arrive. There is no tracking information or estimated delivery time for regular mail.
  • Pre-paid express mail. You can pay to have the documents sent to you via express mail through EShip Global, a third party service.  You select your shipping method, create a pre-paid shipping label, and are able to track your document. Do note that this method is just for expediting the mailing of your document once it has been created. It will not speed up the processing of your document.

    IMPORTANT: Make sure you create a mailing label at the time you submit your FRS. If you request express mailing on your FRS, your document will not be sent until you submit the express mail request. You will not receive a reminder to create the express shipping label if you have not done so.  This express option is for shipping only and will not expedite the time it takes to process your document.


Astronomy Harris School
Biophysical Sciences               Humanities Division
Chemistry Law School
Computer Science Mathematics
Divinity Social Sciences Division
Financial Mathematics Social Service Administration
Graham School IME


Documents Sent by the Department Directly

NOTE: If you will be a student in a department listed below, then your academic unit will mail your I-20 or DS-2019 to you via FedEx or UPS, free of charge. Therefore, you do NOT need to complete the steps at the link above.   Please contact your admissions office for information on tracking, mailing type, or when you can expect to receive your document after it is mailed.


Biological Sciences Division      Pritzker School of Medicine
Chicago Booth Statistics
Geophysical Sciences  
The College  

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Reviewing Your Documents

Once you receive your documents, review all information in detail. We do our best to prevent mistakes, but due to the volume of documents, mistakes inevitably do happen.  Contact OIA if there are any discrepancies or typos on your document and they will be taken care of in a timely manner:

Do note the following:

  • Name display: Your name will be written exactly as it is written in your passport. We cannot make name adjustments without an updated passport. Per SEVP regulations, your family name will be in ALL CAPS and your first name will be in regular case (e.x. Anna SMITH).
  • Start/End Dates: The start/end dates listed on your document were provided by your program.  If you believe you've been given the incorrect start or end date, contact OIA.
  • Funding sources: Only the minimum amount of funding required will show up on your document.  For example, if your total costs are $81,000 and you submit $100,000 worth of funding, your I-20/DS-2019 will only show $81,000 of funding. This means that not all of your funding sources (or their complete amounts) will necessarily appear on your I-20/DS-2019.

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Transfer Students 

If you will come to the University of Chicago directly from another U.S. institution, including summer language programs, it is very important that you indicate you are a SEVIS transfer student on the FRS and that OIA receives your transfer-in form. Your current international student adviser can send the completed form directly to our office as an email attachment. 

I-20 Timing for SEVIS Transfer Students

To create your SEVIS transfer I-20, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Your 'Transfer Release Date' must have passed,
  2. We must have received your transfer-in form from your previous school, and
  3. You must have submitted all other required documentation (e.g. FRS, passport, financial information) outlined on the admitted student page.

    If all of your application documents are in order, your SEVIS transfer I-20 will be created about 10-14 days after your transfer release date.

See answers to common SEVIS transfer FAQs on our website.

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