The University of Illinois Chicago participates in exchange partnerships with universities around the world. The Office of International Services supports the UIC Exchange program by administering and supporting the incoming exchange student experience. If you are enrolled at a university outside the U.S. and are interesting in spending a semester or more studying with us in Chicago, connect with your school's exchange program coordinator to see if an agreement exists between your institution and UIC. We would love to have you in the Windy City!
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Getting started and applying Heading link
Studying at The University of Illinois Chicago will be one of your most memorable student experiences. Situated within walking distance of the heart of a global city, UIC is Chicago’s largest and most diverse university and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse universities in the U.S. Ignite your passion and take your studies global and become a UIC Flame.
What does UIC offer?
- Cultural adjustment support during your program
- Diverse degree programs at all academic levels
- Award-winning faculty and accessible scholars
- Fantastic job and internship opportunities
- Scholarship, research, programs, and people
- Great on-campus housing
- Hundreds of student organizations and volunteer opportunities
UIC Exchange application deadlines
Proposed Term of Study Months Nomination Deadline Early Action Application Deadline Final Application Deadline Fall Semester August to December February 1 March 1 May 15 Spring Semester January to May June 1 July 1 October 1 Summer Session I May to June November 1 December 1 February 1 Summer Session II June to August November 1 December 1 February 1
Academic requirements and considerations
Academic requirements and considerations
At UIC you will study alongside fellow UIC students in lectures, classes, discussion groups, labs, and studios. Instruction is in English and regular attendance and active participation is expected by faculty.
- Program length – The UIC academic calendar is semester-based, with the fall semester from August to December and the spring semester from January to May. UIC’s two summer sessions are from May to June and June to August. Exchange students may apply for a single semester, or for a full academic year. In addition, UIC sponsors students for pre-approved special short-term programs that fall outside of the traditional academic calendar.
- Learning agreement – During the application process, you will need to outline your intended field of study and a list of desired courses in a “Learning Agreement” and provide this to OIS with your application. You should work with your home institution to review the UIC course catalog to select appropriate courses. OIS recommends flexibility when selecting courses and to prepare your Learning Agreement with several course options that are acceptable by your home institution. Not all courses listed in the UIC course catalog will be offered during your chosen term of study, and some courses may be full by the time you arrive on campus and are able to register.
- Course considerations – While studying at UIC, you should take 75% of your courses in the field of study indicated on your application. Additional courses outside your intended field of study are allowed at the discretion of your home institution. Please see the J-1 Exchange Visitor Student enrollment requirements page for additional course selection considerations.
General questions about the UIC Exchange application process may be directed to OIS at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you to UIC in the near future!
Financial commitment and considerations
Financial planning plays a big role in a successful exchange experience. It is important that you understand your responsibilities regarding tuition and fee payment, how to view and pay your UIC student account, how to prepare your finances for study abroad, and how to budget and bank in the U.S.
You will continue to pay tuition to your home institution and are not charged UIC tuition during your time in the UIC Exchange Program. Please consult your home institution coordinator for details on how to pay your tuition bill while you are in Chicago.
You will be charged some UIC fees as outlined in the appendix of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between your home school and UIC. During the application process, you will sign and confirm your understanding of the specific fees you pay. For example, most exchange students pay a one-time Orientation /Arrival Fee ($149 as of fall 2018) to UIC unless it is specifically waived in the MOU.
Student accounts and billing
Student billing and payment at UIC are handled by the University Bursar. This central office handles accounts for students at the three universities that comprise the University of Illinois system, including UIC. You can pay for applicable fees and CampusCare health insurance coverage (if not waived by deadline) via their website.
BILLING DISCLAIMER: All UIC students, including exchange students, are automatically charged tuition and all fees upon registering for courses. You will see this bill shortly after confirming your course registration – don’t panic! OIS will notify the University Bursar to waive tuition and the fees specified by the MOU for each exchange student. However, there can be a delay between the date the University Bursar is notified and the date the fee waiver is reflected on your account. Be mindful of any payment deadlines and communicate questions about your student bill to OIS in a timely manner.
Additional estimated expenses
In addition to tuition paid to your home institution and fees paid to UIC, you should plan funding for additional costs such as living expenses and books/supplies. Below are estimates of these expenses based on living in Chicago and studying at UIC for one year. These are also the amounts you must show as evidence of funding for OIS to issue your DS-2019 form.
Academic Year 2023-2024 (subject to change) Estimated Expenses (per semester) Undergraduate Graduate Living Expenses $8,711 $9,668 International Student Fee $130 $130 Books $825 $700 U-Pass $163 $163 Orientation (one time fee) $149 $149 TOTAL for one semester of exchange $9,978 $10,810 TOTAL for one full year of exchange $19,677 $21,341
Post-application admission processing
After you submit a completed application, it is forwarded to the relevant academic department for consideration. If the academic department review is favorable, UIC Admissions will conduct a final review of the application. If your application is approved, you will receive an official admission letter from UIC Admissions.
Activate Your NetID
Once your admission letter is released, you should activate your UIN NetID to access most UIC resources (email, Blackboard, registration etc.). See instructions on the NetID activation process here.
After activating your UIC NetID and email, make sure to regularly check your UIC Email address for important communication from UIC leading up to the start of the semester.
Pre-arrival planning Heading link
After you have been fully admitted as an exchange student at UIC, you can begin pre-departure preparations including obtaining your immigration documents, researching housing options, packing and planning your arrival to Chicago.
Immigration and visa requirements
Most incoming exchange students will utilize a J-1 visa to enter the U.S. and engage in a program of study. After you are officially admitted to UIC as an exchange student, you will need to submit documentation to OIS so we may issue a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) for you. The DS-2019 form allows you to apply for a J-1 visa stamp at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
You will receive detailed instructions on how to submit your OIS Documents in order to obtain an initial DS-2019 after the nomination form from your home institution coordinator is accepted.
Exchange students may choose to live on-campus with UIC Housing or off-campus in private accommodation. UIC Campus Housing is encouraged as it can be securely arranged from abroad, is located directly on-campus, and it provides exchange students many opportunities to connect with UIC students and campus life. Private, off-campus housing can be less expensive but may result in unforeseen costs, unreliable maintenance, difficult commuting, and lessened access to university services. It is the responsibility of the exchange student to secure his or her own accommodation as housing is not arranged by the UIC Exchange Program.
Is health insurance required for J-1 Exchange students?
Yes, J-1 Exchange Visitor students (you) are required to have health insurance that meets requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. Healthcare coverage (insurance) in the U.S. is very different from insurance in other countries.
It is important that you review the U.S. Department of State Requirements carefully to ensure your insurance coverage includes this specific wording:
- Medical benefits of at least USD $100,000 per accident or illness; (OIS note: “per accident or illness” means we expect that you will demonstrate sufficient insurance in case you suffer multiple accident/illnesses)
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of USD $25,000;
- Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of USD $50,000; and
- Deductible not to exceed USD $500 per accident or illness.
Your health insurance coverage must be valid for the duration of your program in the U.S.
Does UIC offer health insurance for students?
All registered UIC students are automatically enrolled in and billed for the University’s student health benefits program, CampusCare. However, please note that CampusCare alone does NOT meet the U.S. Department of State’s health insurance requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors discussed above. You may waive Campus Care if you have comparable health insurance which meets UIC and the State of Illinois insurance requirements.
We will review how to waive CampusCare insurance during the J-1 Exchange Student Orientation.
Can OIS recommend a health insurance company or policy for me?
OIS cannot recommend one company or policy over the other; we can only confirm that the companies offer insurance coverage that meets the U.S. Department of State health insurance requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors. Please let us know if you would like a list of potential insurance companies that are familiar with the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program requirements and we will email this to you (again, we cannot recommend one company over the other).
How do I submit my proof of health insurance to OIS?
We encourage exchange students to submit proof of insurance to OIS via email at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to arriving to the U.S. so we can confirm that it meets the J-1 Exchange Visitor requirements.
Once you arrive to Chicago, you will need to submit your proof of health insurance as part of your virtual immigration check-in with OIS. However, we encourage you to email your Insurance documents must be in English and must clearly state that the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program insurance requirements are met. Insurance documents that do not meet these criteria are not acceptable.
Where can I find more information on U.S. health insurance?
You can find information on general student insurance requirements here.
Course Registration and UIC Record Requirements
Incoming exchange students register for UIC courses after they have arrived in the U.S. and completed an OIS Immigration Check-In. Even though you cannot register for your classes before arrival in the U.S., it will be helpful for you to connect with an academic adviser in your department at UIC to discuss course availability and the registration process. Let us know at email@example.com if you need help connecting with an academic adviser at UIC.
Immunization Record Requirements
All new UIC students are required to submit evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 and five other diseases. Learn how to submit your medical immunization records to the UIC Registrar.
After admission to UIC, please work with your home institution to send official hard copy transcripts in English to UIC’s Office of International Services before the start of the semester.
Failure to submit these items could result in UIC course enrollment/transcript holds.
Arrival and program experience Heading link
You made it to Chicago! We are so happy you are here and are eager to give you the tools you need to succeed during your UIC Exchange Program. Below are your first steps and some important reminders to be aware of during your time at UIC. If you have questions, reach out to an OIS UIC Exchange program advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
Arrival, check-in, and orientation
Arriving to Chicago
The UIC Exchange Program does not arrange travel to the U.S. or transportation to the UIC campus. Each exchange student will be responsible for booking their own tickets and planning their trip to Chicago. Learn more about arriving to the U.S. through a port of entry and your options for getting to UIC.
Immigration Check-In with OIS
Your first step once you arrive to Chicago should be to complete your Immigration Check-In with OIS. This process can be completed entirely online. Visit Immigration Check-In with OIS for instructions.
Navigating campus and attending orientation
After you have had a day or two to settle in and start to adjust to Chicago time, get ready to learn more about UIC, the resources available to you, the rules you need to follow while on your UIC Exchange Program, and get ready for classes!
Check out the UIC Campus Tour Video for a virtual trip around UIC’s Chicago campus.
OIS hosts International Student Orientation (ISO) at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and summer sessions. OIS also hosts a mandatory orientation session specific to exchange students, where you will meet fellow exchange students from around the world. Be sure to time your arrival accordingly so you don’t miss this session!
Maintaining immigration status
OIS will support you in maintaining your immigration status while in the U.S., however, ultimately the responsibility is yours. Most exchange students enter the U.S. and participate in the UIC Exchange Program on a J-1 visa. Visit the immigration section of the OIS website for details on J-1 Exchange Visitor Student status and email email@example.com with any questions.
OIS is here to provide cultural adjustment support during your program. Cultural concepts and adjustment will be addressed during international student orientation and programming aimed at helping you explore your new home and make connections will be offered throughout your stay. Know that adjusting to a new culture is a journey filled with ups and downs. Keep an open mind and do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.
Academic requirements and considerations
In the UIC Exchange Program, you will study alongside fellow UIC students in lectures, classes, discussion groups, labs and studios. Instruction is in English and regular attendance and active participation is expected by faculty.
The UIC academic calendar is based on traditional semesters.
- Fall Semester: August – December
- Spring Semester: January – May
- Summer Session 1: May – June
- Summer Session 2: June – August
In addition, UIC sponsors students for pre-approved special short-term programs that fall outside of the traditional academic calendar.
Remember the Learning Agreement you completed with your application? Prior to arrival you probably met with your exchange program coordinator at your home institution to select courses (or “classes”) using the UIC course catalog, which is a list of classes generally offered at UIC. Please keep in mind that not all courses listed in the UIC course catalog will be offered during the term you are studying at UIC. You may also find some courses are full by the time you arrive on campus and are eligible to register. If you find that some of your first choice classes are not being taught or are full, return to your Learning Agreement to find additional classes that you and your home advisor identified as appropriate for your field of study.
While studying at UIC, you should take at minimum 75% of your courses in the field of study indicated on your application. You may take additional courses outside your intended field of study at the discretion of your home institution (check just to be safe!). In addition, please review the general enrollment requirements for J-1 EV student status for a definition of full-time enrollment for immigration purposes and limitations on academic support classes and online classes.
You will register for classes directly with your UIC academic department. In general, class registration can only be completed after you arrive to Chicago and complete your Immigration Check-In with OIS. An OIS UIC Exchange Program advisor will communicate directly with you regarding your specific plan for course registration.
Exchange students in J-1 EV student status are eligible to work on-campus or participate in J-1 Academic Training if eligibility requirements are met and with authorization from OIS.
Ending your program Heading link
When your UIC Exchange Program comes to an end, there are a few things you must do to close out your time in Chicago, but remember, you are now a #ForeverFlame!
Request your UIC transcript
The Office of the Registrar handles official student records, including transcripts. To receive your UIC transcript, you must send your immunization records to the UIC Registrar’s office prior to you leaving UIC. The registrar’s office needs your immunization records on file prior to the university issuing your transcripts.
Paying Your UIC Bill
Before you depart the U.S., ensure you have paid any outstanding charges on your UIC Bill. Contact OIS with any questions on charges you are seeing. Questions on specific charges or how to pay your bill may be directed to the Bursar’s Office.
UIC Record Holds
If you have a hold on your record for any reason, you need to work with the appropriate office to have the hold removed before you can register for spring classes and/or your transcripts can be released. OIS is not able to waive all holds. It is important you work with the appropriate office in a timely manner to resolve any issues, so they do not impact your registration or transcript request.
Common holds include but are not limited to the below. Please work with the department which added the hold to resolve the matter:
- Immunization hold
- The immunization record is one of the most common holds exchange students find on their record. Please find information about immunization records on the Office of the Registrar’s website.
- Accounts Payable hold (UIC bill payment)
- Title IX training hold (additional information on this training may be found here)
- Housing hold
If you are uncertain which department placed the hold on your record, go to your myUIC portal:
- Click on the ‘Registration & Records’ tab
- Click on the ‘Student Records and Transcripts’ tab
- Click the ‘View Holds’ link
- Immunization hold