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There are many types of international students at UIC studying on different visas. The exact visa you need often depends on a combination of your academic program and funding source. OIS will help you figure out, based on your situation, which type of visa you will need and how to obtain it. If you already hold an immigration status that allows for study in the U.S., OIS can explain how to report that status to our office.

Send your questions about obtaining your visa or reporting your status to the New International Student Team at

Common immigration statuses for UIC international students Heading link

While most international students studying at UIC do so on an F-1 visa, there are specific situations that necessitate a different immigration status. The tabs below outline the basics of the most common international student statuses at UIC and scenarios in which they might be appropriate. In all cases, admitted students work with OIS to either obtain UIC-sponsored immigration documents or report their status if sponsored by an external entity. See below for details.

F-1 is the most common visa status used for study in the U.S. and at UIC. Applicants for an F-1 visa must show evidence of funding equal to one year of study in their chosen academic program and that funding can come from private and University sources. F-1 students must maintain full-time enrollment and are eligible for limited work authorization both during and after program completion.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Student status is less common but is most often used for students in specific educational exchange programs such as UIC Exchange, Fulbright, LASPAU, and others. General, degree-seeking students may also qualify for J-1 EV Student status if 51% or more of the funding for their entire program comes from non-personal sources such as government programs or agencies. J-1 EV Students must maintain full-time enrollment and are eligible for limited work authorization both during and after program completion. J-1 EV Students may be subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement and/or the 12-Month Bar.

F-2 dependents are eligible to study in postsecondary degree programs while in the U.S. so long as the number of credits taken per term is below the full-time study requirement for F-1 status. If an F-2 dependent wishes to study full-time in a postsecondary academic or vocational program, they must obtain a change of status prior to enrolling full-time.

J-2 dependents are eligible for full-time, degree-seeking study in the U.S. as long as the primary Exchange Visitor continues to maintain their valid J-1 status.

H-4 dependents are eligible to study full-time or part-time in postsecondary degree programs so long as the primary H-1B visa holder maintains status. However, H-4 dependents are not eligible for F-1 work authorization benefits such as on-campus employment or practical training. Additionally, H-4 dependent children do “age out” of status eligibility at 21.

Students with approved or pending U.S. Permanent Residency (green card) are eligible to study in postsecondary degree programs in the U.S. Students in pending status may wish to maintain their underlying status by enrolling according to that status’ regulations until permanent residency is approved. However, final guidance on this matter should come from the attorney or agency handing the permanent residency case.

Individuals in the U.S. in other statuses may be eligible to enroll at UIC in degree-seeking programs. If you are unsure about your eligibility to study, please contact the individual or entity that advises or sponsors your current status, or reach out to the New International Student Team at

How to obtain your UIC Form I-20/DS-2019 or report your current visa status to OIS Heading link

Click your academic program below to view your steps to obtain a visa or report your current U.S. visa status to OIS.

International student funding and financial documentation requirements Heading link

If you are requesting a UIC Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to submit evidence of funding as part of your OIS Documents. The amount of funding you need to show will vary depending on your academic program and whether or not you are applying for F-1 or J-1 status and the documentation must meet specific requirements. Even if you are not applying for UIC sponsorship, it can be helpful to view the estimated cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses for an average student in your program.

Applying for your visa Heading link

Once you have received your I-20 or DS-2019 from UIC you can take the next step which is to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Arriving to UIC Heading link

Once you have obtained your student visa or reported your current immigration status to OIS, you can start planning your journey to Illinois. Before You Leave Home will help with your pre-departure to-do list and Arriving in the U.S. discusses what to expect at the U.S. Port of Entry. All new members of the UIC international community are required to complete an Immigration Check-In with OIS after Arriving to UIC. F-1 and J-1 international students are not allowed to register for classes until the immigration check-in is complete.

FAQs Heading link

Here are some frequently asked questions about obtaining an initial UIC Form I-20/DS-2019 or reporting your immigration status to OIS.