First Steps

  1. If you will hold F-1 or J-1 visa status, please pay your SEVIS fee once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The SEVIS fee can be paid online at (I-901 fee). Remember to print the receipt to present at your visa interview.

  2. Schedule an appointment for your non-immigrant entry visa with an embassy in your country. Search U.S. Embassies, etc., by country. Please bring the required documents to your visa interview as listed on the embassy website.

  3. Prepare your documents to show at the United States Port of Entry:
    • Passport
    • Entry visa (If you are a Canadian citizen you will not require an entry visa to enter the United States)
    • Original I-20/DS-2019 (no copies)
    • If you will hold a visa status other than F-1, F-2, J-1 or J-2, please be sure to travel with the appropriate documents relevant to your status.
  4. If you are already in the United States and need to change your visa status prior to the beginning of your academic program, please contact ISSS as soon as possible. This process is lengthy and could take 4-6 months if submitting a change of status application within the U.S. If your change of status application is not approved prior to the beginning of the semester, this could affect your ability to begin your studies or start your on-campus employment.

You must have your new SEVIS document prior to Check-In. If you have not received your SEVIS document, please contact Undergraduate Admissions or Graduate Admissions.

Immigration Information for F-1 & J-1 Students (Video)

This video covers immigration information for new F-1 and J-1 students, including an overview of your immigration documents, what to bring to campus, and what to expect at U.S. Customs and Port of Entry.