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Returning Students

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

Graduate Students

  • Graduate students who are resuming the same program within one calendar year of taking a leave of absence should use the Resuming Studies e-form in iSTART.
  • Graduate students who want to resume their program after having been away for more than a year must contact their home department first to initiate re-admission to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In that case, Graduate College will issue the new I-20 for resuming studies.

Undergraduate Students

If you wish to return to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to resume your studies, you must complete the following steps.

1. Contact your College to indicate your wish to resume studies

Colleges (Partial List)

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 with ISSS.

2. Apply for a New I-20/DS-2019

  1. Complete the student section of the Resuming Studies at the University e-form in iSTART.

    • If you have reactivated your netID and password:
      • Log into iSTART and choose CLIENT SERVICES. Log in with your netID and password. Choose the Resuming Studies e-form under "F-1 Student Services" or "J-1 Student Services".

        If you need assistance with reactivating your netID or password, please contact the Technology Services Help Desk.

    • If you have NOT reactivated your netID and password, you may still access the e-form:
      1. Call ISSS (217-333-1303) or send us an e-mail ( to let us know that you would like to access the e-form via "limited services". Please also provide a valid non-UIUC e-mail address. You will then be granted access to Limited Services.
      2. Log into iSTART and choose LIMITED SERVICES
      3. Click “Email me my PIN”
      4. Enter your UIN
      5. Check your e-mail account for PIN number
      6. Use the PIN when you log back in to LIMITED SERVICES, along with your UIN and DOB. You’ll see the Resuming Studies e-form under "F-1 Student Services" or "J-1 Student Services".
  2. Once you've filled out all of your information, you will need to route the form to your academic advisor in your college or department by choosing the appropriate name from the drop-down menu. Once your advisor completes the form, they will submit it to ISSS. The new I-20 or DS-2019 will be ready in 5 business days from the date your advisor submits the form, if the application is complete.

Mailing Options

Please visit Mailing Options for more information about having documents mailed or express shipped.

Financial Support

Visit the Calculating Funding page for more information about expenses and funding.

  • Family or personal funds: students must provide an affidavit of support if the sponsor for these funds is from the US.
  • 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.


As your new I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued to you under a new SEVIS ID you will need to pay the SEVIS fee again. This fee needs to be paid before applying at a U.S. consulate or embassy for an entry visa. The payment can be made online at 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.

Entry Visa

  • Students who have been out of status and absent from the US for LESS than five months, and will be returning on a new SEVIS record, can use a previous F-1 entry visa if it has not expired yet.
  • ISSS strongly recommends that students who have been out of status and absent from the US for MORE than five months, and who plan to return on a new SEVIS record, apply for a new entry visa to avoid issues at the US Port of Entry. However, if this is not possible, students may opt to use their previous entry visa, if it will still be valid at the time of entry.
  • Students who have a valid entry visa where both the SEVIS ID and school name do not match what is on the most recent I-20 or DS-2019 should contact the US consulate/embassy to ask if a visa renewal is required.
  • Students who have been maintaining status while abroad and are returning after MORE than 5 months outside of the US do not need a new entry visa if the current entry visa is still valid.
  • ISSS recommends confirming entry visa renewal questions directly with the US consulate/embassy in your home country, as this is the agency that issues the entry visa.

IMPORTANT: Please remember admissibility is always up to the Port of Entry officer, in any of the cases listed above.

For more information on applying for a new entry visa, please visit the U.S. Embassy website.

Upon arrival to campus

  1. Report to ISSS with your immigration documents immediately upon your return in order to have your F-1 or J-1 status validated. US immigration law requires us to report your arrival on campus, verify your status, and update copies of your visa documents for our records. Failure to report to ISSS will result in termination of your F-1 or J-1 status.
    • NOTE: Students must spend at least one academic year in F-1 status prior to applying for practical training authorization (CPT/OPT).
  2. Report to your academic department to inform them of your arrival.
    • In most cases, students may only be able to register for courses after arriving on-campus and meeting with their department/college.