International Student Visa Instructions - The College

We are very excited that you have decided to join our community of scholars this fall! As a non-US citizen/non-US permanent resident, you will need to follow a few steps in order to qualify for your student visa. You will upload the required documents through your UChicago Account. This process will happen electronically, so please do NOT mail or fax any forms to UChicago.

PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW TO COMPLETE THE STEPS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN YOUR VISA-ELIGIBILITY DOCUMENT. All requirements are mandated by the U.S. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Therefore, please be advised that we are not able to make individual exceptions or adjustments to the process outlined below.
Step-by-Step Process
OPTIONS FOR UPLOADING DOCUMENTSyou may upload your documents using the upload function within the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form OR using the regular upload tool available on the homepage of your UChicago Account.
1. Complete your I-20/DS-2019 Request Form online through your UChicago Account
  • Visit your UChicago Account and select the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
  • Verify that your Student Information Section is correct.
  • Select the type of visa you will apply for (F-1 is the default option, but instructions will be provided). 
  • If applicable, enter information for any dependents who will need visa support.
  • Review your Cost of Attendance. If applicable, review your UChicago award amounts - need-based or merit-based aid.
  • Review your Estimated Funds Required. You will need to show evidence of available funds that equal or are greater than this amount in order to qualify for your visa-eligibility document.
  • Indicate your Source(s) of Support and the amount each source will provide to fund your education. You will be required to upload a financial document for each source of funding you list on your I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
Source(s) of Support
  • Personal - funds in your (the student's) name. All financial documents must list YOU as the account holder.
  • Family/Friendsfunds coming from family members (including parents), relatives, or friends. Financial documents issued under their names. Requires a Sponsor Letter (details below).
  • Government/International Organizationa financial award from your government or an international organization. The award must list a specific amount of support.
2. Passport - Upload a copy of the biographical page(s) of your passport
  • If you have multiple nationalities, please choose one (1) passport for your visa-eligibility process, and make sure to always use that same passport/nationality when applying for your student visa and when entering the United States as a student.
  • The name on your visa-eligibility document will match the name as it appears on your passport. If you will be getting a new passport before traveling to Chicago in the fall, you can still start the visa-eligibility process now using your current passport. As long as the name on your new passport matches the name on your previous passport and on your visa-eligibility document, you will be able to enter the United States as a student in the fall.
3. International Financial Documentation - Upload a financial document for each source of funding you listed on your I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
  • See the List of Acceptable Financial Documents.
  • Choose "Int'l Financial Documentation" as the upload option in your UChicago Account when uploading your document(s). If you upload your document(s) under a different category (as "Other", for instance), the document(s) will NOT appear with your paperwork on our end, and your paperwork will remain incomplete.
  • Alternatively, you may upload your supporting financial documents using the upload function available within the I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
  • All financial documents must have been issued within the past six (6) months. No exceptions.
  • A financial document or scholarship letter MUST state a specific amount of financial support/funds available - a letter that does not specify the amount of funds available will NOT be accepted under any circumstances.
Sponsor Letter:
  • If the funds or relevant financial documents are not under your name (the student) - for instance, funds coming from parents, family/friends, a private company - you MUST also upload a signed Sponsor Letter (sponsor letter template) for each person or institution that will contribute to your education.
  • The name on the financial document and the Sponsor Letter must match. This letter MUST list a specific amount of financial support, and needs to be SIGNED to be validno exceptions.
  • Please note that while the expected length of time listed on the sponsor letter should be four (4) years, you or your sponsor only have to show sufficient funds to cover the costs of your first year at UChicago to qualify for your visa-eligibility document.
  • If you have been awarded an outside scholarship, you MUST upload a letter from the agency or government that indicates the specific amount of financial support no exceptions.
  • You do NOT need to upload a copy of your UChicago need-based or merit award letter (if applicable), as we will automatically add your award letter to your visa paperwork file.
English Proficiency Requirement
Students do NOT need to (re)submit proof of English proficiency at this point. The Admissions Office has all of the information needed as proof of your English proficiency.
Transferring your SEVIS record from another U.S. school

If you currently attend a U.S. high school or college/university, and will be transferring your SEVIS record to UChicago, you MUST follow the instructions available at https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/transferin in addition to all of the instructions outlined on this page.

We will start processing your SEVIS record transfer and issue you a visa-eligibility document AFTER the Transfer-Out date assigned by your current academic institution.

 

Visa Process Timeline & Document Shipping

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) will notify students in 1-2 business days after submitting the form if anything is missing or if the documents submitted are sufficient. OIA will then process your request within 15 calendar days.
Once the document is issued, the student will receive an email notification from OIA with their SEVIS number and next steps - including paying the SEVIS fee.

The Office of College Admissions will then send your document to you by FedEx at no extra charge.

If you need to update your mailing address, please go to your UChicago Account and update your mailing address before we mail your document.

You will be able to use the SEVIS number OIA will send you over email to pay your SEVIS fee online, and schedule your visa appointment. But please note that you will need to bring your original I-20/DS-2019 with you to your visa interview, so you should schedule your appointment accordingly.

You will also need to bring your I-20/DS-2019 with you when you travel to the United States in the fall.

For general information on visa wait times at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you can visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of International Affairs at international-affairs@uchicago.edu.


 

Additional Information

CANADA passport holders: Canadian passport do NOT require a visa on their passport to enter the U.S. as international students, but DO require an I-20/DS-2019, and MUST pay the SEVIS fee prior to entering the United States in F-1/J-1 student status. Please follow the directions outlined here to qualify for and receive your visa-eligibility document.

H4 or L2 visa holders: If you have another status in the United States, such as H-4, L-2, or adjustment applicant, it is possible to study in those statuses without obtaining an F-1/J-1 student visa. If you decide to attend UChicago on your current visa, please let us know over email at internationaladmissions@uchicago.edu so we can update our records accordingly.

Out-of-Status, Deferred Action plan or otherwise undocumented students: Please disregard all visa-related communications, since you will not be applying for a visa to study at the University of Chicago.