Returning Students

These instructions are intended for undergraduate students who are resuming studies at the University of Illinois after an academic absence.

Returning graduate students must contact their home department to initiate re-entry to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Graduate College will issue the new I-20 for return.

Before you wish to return to the University of Illinois to resume your studies:

  • You must first contact your College to indicate your wish to resume studies:

COLLEGES (partial list)

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS)
Attention to students in LAS: The College must first approve your petition to re-enter, before signing off on the ISSS advisor's form. Once the petition is approved, the College will automatically fax the advisor's form to ISSS.

Division of General Studies
(DGS)

College of Engineering

College of Business
Attention to students in Business: The College must first approve your petition to re-enter, before signing off on the ISSS advisor's form. Once the petition is approved, the College will automatically fax the advisor's form to ISSS.

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Attention to students in ACES: The College must first approve your petition to re-enter, before signing off on the ISSS advisor's form. Once the petition is approved, the College will automatically fax the advisor's form to ISSS.

Once you have received approval from your college, you may then apply for a new I-20 or DS-2019. Please follow the instructions below to apply for a return from academic absence at ISSS.

I-20/DS-2019 Application Steps

  1. Complete an Application for a new I-20 or DS-2019, available by request from ISSS or online.

  2. Ask your College academic advisor to download and complete the advisor's form and send it to our office directly.

  3. Provide ISSS with verification that you will have sufficient funds to support you and any accompanying dependents in one or more of the following forms:

    If your financial support will be from:

    a. Family or personal funds - you must supply us with an affidavit of support (for personal sponsors) and a bank statement showing the amount in US dollars. The statement should have been issued within the last six months.

    b. A sponsoring agency - ask that a letter be sent to ISSS specifying the amount of money that you will receive and the duration of the scholarship. If the University will be billing your sponsor directly for tuition and fees, ask that your sponsor provide a billing authorization to the University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations.

    If you are unsure about how much funding is required for your program, please contact ISSS.

  4. A copy of your passport.

You may mail, scan and e-mail, or fax your application to our office. Allow sufficient time for mailing and to apply for a U.S. entry visa. When your I-20/DS-2019 application, advisor's letter, proof of finances and copy of passport are received at ISSS, we will process your new I-20 or DS-2019 form within five business days. If you have questions, you may call ISSS or send an e-mail to isss@illinois.edu.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because your new I-20 will be issued to you under a new SEVIS ID you must get a new entry visa and pay the one-time SEVIS fee of $180 for J-1's and $200 for F-1's (changed from $100 as of 10/27/08). This fee needs to be paid before applying at a U.S. embassy for an entry visa online at www.fmjfee.com or by submitting form I-901 with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency or at a Western Union that offers the I-901 QuickPay service. Canadian citizens must also pay this fee prior to entering the U.S.

If you have been absent from the U.S. for LESS than five months and your previous F-1 entry visa has not expired, you can enter using it. In all other circumstances you will be required to obtain a new F-1 entry visa. For more information on applying for a new visa, please visit this page.

Mailing Options

Please visit our mailing options page for more information about having documents sent to you.

Upon arrival to campus

  1. Report to ISSS with your passport and visa documents immediately upon your return in order to have your F-1 or J-1 status validated. U.S. immigration law requires us to report your arrival on campus, verify your status, and update copies of your visa documents for our records.

  2. Report to your academic department to inform them of your arrival.
    You will not be able to register until you have notified both your department and ISSS of your return. Failure to report to ISSS will result in termination of your F or J status.
    Note: You will have to spend at least one academic year in F-1 status prior to applying for practical training permission.

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