Current F-1 Students
As an F-1 student, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with F-1 regulations and Loyola University Chicago policies.
Your I-20 and your visa are two entirely different documents, but both are required to enter the United States. Your I-20 will be issued by the ISS team once you have been admitted to Loyola University Chicago and you've submitted the required documents. You will use the I-20 to apply for your visa.
Within two weeks of a change, you will need to notify the ISS team to update your I-20 if you:
- Change your major
- Change your name or address
- Require a program extension
- Move from degree to degree (e.g. bachelor's to master's)
While your I-20 needs to remain valid while studying in the United States, your visa does not. Your visa is an entry document to the US and does not need to be renewed as long as you remain in the US.
According to US immigration regulations, the primary purpose of the F-1 classification is for full-time study in pursuit of an educational objective. F-1 students should expect to be enrolled full-time for the duration of their program of study.
Full-time is defined as:
- 18 credit hours for ELLP students
- 12 credit hours for undergraduate students
- 9 credit hours for graduate students
- 8 credit hours for law students
- 6 credit hours for Quinlan Business Graduate students
Notify OIP of any accompanying dependents who will be in F-2 status and provide biographical information (full name, date of birth, address, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information) regarding those dependents. OIP is required to report information to USCIS regarding your dependents and to issue a Form I-20 for each dependent. F-2 dependent I-20s are generally issued at the same time as F-1 I-20s, but can be issued later should dependents choose to join the F-1 visa holder at a later date.
Documents Required for Re-entry to the United States
Have the following documents available (not packed in checked luggage) when you arrive at the port of entry to the US:
- A passport that is valid at least six months past return to the United States
- A valid F-1 or J-1 entry visa stamp - Canadian citizens do not need entry visas to enter the United States
- A valid Form I-20 ID or DS-2019 with a recent signature from OIP - please be sure to have your I-20 signed at least one week prior to your travel outside of the United States (I-20 Travel Signature and Update Request)
- Any previously issued I-797 Approval Notices from USCIS (if you changed your status to F-1 or J-1 after arriving in the United States)
- Your current EAD (if you are on OPT)
Additional documentation recommended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) includes evidence of your financial resources, your letter of acceptance, and the contact information of your ISS team (email@example.com, 773-508-3899).
Any F-2 dependents will also need to have their I-20s endorsed for travel prior to departure from the country.
If you have completed your program of study, you have 60 days to legally remain in the US beyond the expiration date of your I-20, (or beyond the completion date of your program, whichever is earlier). This 60-day period is known as your "grace period." During the grace period, you can change to a new degree program, transfer to a new school, or prepare to depart the US.
U.S. immigration regulations require you to report any change in your U.S. local address within 10 days of the change.
You may satisfy this requirement by updating your profile in the Mailing Address section of LOCUS within 10 days of the change. OIP will receive the information from LOCUS and electronically notify USCIS of the change within 21 days, as required by immigration regulations.
The Office for International Programs (OIP) is required to report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the status of our F-1 and J-1 international students. Questions? Contact the ISS team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 773-508-3899.