- I am beginning my studies at Loyola soon. How long will it take to get my I-20?
After you receive notice of admission from one of Loyola's admitting offices, the Office for International Programs can assist you in getting a Form I-20. If OIP has received your financial support documents and all other pertinent information, we can usually generate your I-20 in one week. We will then send the document to the mailing address you provide on the Declaration & Certification of Finanaces document using UPS express mail service.
If has been more than two weeks since you have received notice of your admission, and have sent your financial support documents to OIP, you may wish to contact us to find out if your Form I-20 has been mailed. For more details about this process, please refer to the newly admitted students page.
- I am coming to the U.S. soon to begin my program of study. When can I arrive?
The U.S. consulate or embassy abroad can process your visa up to 120 days before the start date of your academic program. You may enter the country as early as 30 days before your program begins.
- What is my admission number?
Your "admission number" is your I-94 number. It is the 11-digit number that appears at the top of your white I-94 card. The number is generated for you when you arrive in the U.S. and are asked to fill out the I-94 form. Your admission number does not have to be on your I-20. Make sure to keep the I-94 stapled in your passport, as it is your official record of being admitted to the United States and can be difficult to replace.
- What should I do when I arrive at Loyola?
In accordance with immigration regulations, you must provide OIP with your immigration documents upon arrival. These regulations apply to students from outside the U.S., as well as to students transferring to Loyola from another U.S. school.
You may have questions about class registration, student I.D. cards, your computer I.D., password and e-mail address, and getting settled on campus. For undergraduate students, these questions can all be answered at a summer Orientation coordinated by the office of First-Year Experience. Graduate students will have these questions answered at their individual department orientations.
- I am transferring to Loyola from another U.S. school. What should I do?
Immigration transfer is different than academic transfer. All F-1 Loyola students must have an I-20 issued by OIP. Even if you are completing an academic program at another institution or will return to your home country for less than 5 months before starting at Loyola, your former school must transfer your immigration record to Loyola. For more information about necessary forms, deadlines and procedures related to immigration transfer, see our page about how to transfer to Loyola.
- Where can I get help?
OIP has trained advisors who can answer any immigration-related question you have. If you're not sure who you need to talk to, we can also refer you to the department that can. Contact us for more information.
- My visa has expired or is expiring soon. What do I need to do?
Your visa is the stamp in your passport with your photograph issued by a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. It is an entry document, so it only needs to be valid when you travel and plan to re-enter the United States. If it expires while you are still pursuing your studies in the U.S., and you have no plans to travel outside the U.S., you will still be in status. For more information, see visa renewal.
- My I-20 is expiring soon. What should I do?
If your I-20 will expire before you finish your studies, you should get it extended. You must extend your I-20 before its expiration date in order to avoid losing your F-1 status. To extend your I-20, you will need to show OIP new bank statements or proof of financial sponsorship, plus a letter or email from your advisor explaining why you need the extension. For more information about this process, see extension of program.
- I am traveling outside the U.S. soon. Do I need to get a signature on my I-20?
Check the bottom of page three of your I-20. If there is a signature that will be more than 6 months old when you return to the U.S., you should come to the Office for International Programs for a new signature. According to immigration law, the signatures are valid for one year (as it says on your I-20), but port of entry officials recommend a more recent signature. For more information about documents needed for travel, visit travel instructions.
- When should I apply for post-completion OPT?
If you wish to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion of your studies, it is recommended that you apply early. You can apply 90 days before and 60 days after your complete your program of study. You may start your OPT as early as the next day after your final term of study ends (not your graduation date) or as late as 60 days after that date. The processing center must receive your application before the end of that 60-day grace period. For more information, visit our page on Optional Practical Training.
- Can I work in the U.S.?
F-1 students have several opportunities to work in the U.S., both on and off Loyola's campus. For more information, see employment options for F-1 students.
- If I came to the United States in visitor status (B-1/B-2 visa category), is it possible for me to study? Is it possible to change my status from within the U.S.?
The U.S. immigration service does not allow students in B-1/B-2 visitor status to enroll in a course of study without first applying and obtaining approval for student status (mainly F-1 status). Recreational, short-term classes that are not the primary purpose of the visitor's presence in the U.S. may be allowed. For further consultation, please contact us.
- I am a current international student. Is it possible for my family to come to the U.S.?
It is possible for your immediate family members (spouse or children) to come the U.S. to stay with you for the duration of your studies. These family members should apply for F-2 visas (dependent visas of the F-1) at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. You would first need to get new I-20s from OIP. For further information about this process, see dependents in F-2 status.
For short-term visits (one month or less) or for non-immediate family members, it is suggested that they apply for visitor (B-1/B-2) visas from the U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.
- I am out of status. What should I do?
Depending on how long you have been out of F-1 status, there may be a possibility for regaining that status. It is important to apply for reinstatement as soon as possible. You should contact OIP as soon as you realize you are out of status, so that we can provide one-on-one advising to discuss your options. For an appointment, please contact us.