International Student Visa Requirement
Most international students who wish to enter the United States for educational purposes will need to apply for a student visa. Degree-seeking international students at Illinois Tech will receive Form I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa, whereas non-degree-seeking international students (visiting and exchange students) will receive Form DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 student visa.
Students must complete the following steps to receive their immigration documents and receive a visa to study at Illinois Tech. Please note that Canadian citizens have a different process outlined below.
1. Submit the Required Documentation
All students must submit a copy of their passport and a Financial Affidavit of Support Form in order to receive an I-20 or DS-2019. You may upload a copy of your passport and Financial Affidavit of Support Form to your Application Tracker. Upon admission and submission of required documents, I-20s and DS-2019’s are generally processed within five business days.
Students who are currently studying in the United States will need to request a SEVIS transfer release from their current institution before we are able to issue an I-20. SEVIS records can only be available to one school at a time, so students must finish their studies at their current institution before being eligible to transfer their SEVIS record and receive an I-20 from Illinois Tech.
2. Obtain a Form I-20/Form DS-2019
Please make sure that your name, biographical information, and program information are all listed correctly on your I-20 or DS-2019, as this information will be used for the visa stamp in your passport.
3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
All new students must pay a SEVIS fee before the United States Department of State will issue a visa. We recommend paying this fee as soon as you receive your immigration documents to allow sufficient time for the fee payment to be updated in your SEVIS record. Upon payment, you will be issued a receipt that you must bring to your visa appointment.
4. Schedule a Visa Interview
We recommend applying for your visa as early as possible, as interview appointments and visa processing wait times vary by country. The steps of applying for a visa and scheduling an interview vary based on the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. You will need the following information to schedule your interview:
Full university name: Illinois Institute of Technology
University address: 10 West 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616
School Code (for I-20’s): CHI214F00379000
Program Number (for DS-2019’s): P-1-00266
5. Attend Visa Interview
The documents you are required to bring to your visa interview will depend on your location, so you should confirm with your local embassy or consulate what documentation is required. In general, you should prepare to bring the following documents:
- Passport valid for at least six months into the future
- Original Illinois Tech I-20 or DS-2019
- Official Illinois Tech admission letter (included in your I-20 or DS-2019 package)
- Completed and signed visa application forms
- Photograph(s) in the required format • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 fee payment
- Proof of funding sufficient to cover your tuition and living expenses during the first year of your program. You may demonstrate this by providing the original versions of the Financial Affidavit of Support Form and bank statement you submitted to receive your immigration documents.
6. Arrive in the United States
You are allowed to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Make sure to carry your immigration documents (passport with visa, I-20 or DS-2019, financial documents) with you in your carry-on luggage. You should report to Illinois Tech’s International Center to check in within two days of arriving in Chicago. If you have an F-1 visa, you will have a “grace period” of 60 days following your program end date to leave the U.S. If you are a J-1 student, you will be required to leave the U.S. within 30 days of your program completion date.
Canadian citizens do not need student visas to study in the U.S.; however, you do need to obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 from Illinois Tech. As soon as you receive your immigration documents you should pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
- When you cross the border to study in the U.S. you will need to provide the officer at the port of entry:
- Valid passport
- Original Illinois Tech I-20 or DS-2019
- Receipt of SEVIS I-901 fee payment
- Proof of funding sufficient to cover your tuition and living expenses during the first year of your program; you may demonstrate this by providing the original versions of the Financial Affidavit of Support Form and bank statement you submitted to receive your immigration documents
- Proof of your ties to Canada