Are you a newly-admitted international student? Here are some general tips and information on the next steps towards becoming a Rambler.
The Office of International Programs (OIP) assists international students with immigration documents, but it does not admit international students. To attend Loyola University Chicago, you must first be admitted through one of Loyola's admission offices.
For information about admission requirements, tuition and program offerings, visit the appropriate admission office:
- International Admissions
- Graduate and Professional Enrollment
- Stritch School of Medicine
- Undergraduate Admission
All new F-1 and J-1 international students need a Loyola University Chicago certificate of eligibility Form I-20 or DS-2019. Students need this document to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, to transfer to Loyola in F-1 or J-1 status, or to change their status to F-1 or J-1. After being admitted to a Loyola program, OIP will process your I-20 or DS-2019. If you have questions about the status of your immigration documents, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the general steps to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa:
- Get your I-20/DS-2019 from the International Student and Scholar Services team. If you have not yet received your I-20/DS-2019 it may be because you are missing required documents. Please contact email@example.com for questions.
- Apply early for your F-1 or J-1 visa as there can be a lengthy waiting period (Canadian citizens do not need a visa, but must use the I-20 when clearing customs)
- Pay your SEVIS fee before you go to the United States embassy or consulate. For more information on how to pay this fee, visit https://www.fmjfee.com/index.html.
- Make Appointment with US Embassy or US Consulate in your home country. To learn more about obtaining a US Visa visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html.
Be sure to bring all of your supporting documents with you to your visa interview; these include but are not limited to:
- Your I-20
- Your I-901 fee receipt
- Your passport
- Your acceptance letter
- Any scholarship letters you've received
- Financial support documents
Here are some general tips to keep in mind at your visa interview; please note that these are general suggestions (not hard rules) and every visa experience is different:
- Dress appropriately -- think of your visa appointment as a job interview and dress accordingly.
- Be sure to establish ties to your home country -- F-1 and J-1 visas are non-immigrant visas, so applicants must therefore show that they have reasons to return home following the completion of their studies.
- If possible, use English during the interview.
- Present clear and understandable financial documentation.
- Do not bring parents or family members to your interview and speak for yourself.
- Be able to explain how the degree you're pursuing at Loyola University Chicago supports your long-term personal or professional goals.
- Be concise. Your visa interview may not be long, so try to explain yourself as clearly and simply as possible.
International students should make their housing arrangements several months before they arrive in Chicago. Students who plan ahead have more housing choices than students who wait until they arrive in the U.S. Students who wait may also incur the cost of staying in a hostel or a hotel while they search for housing.
You are considered an undergraduate student if you are seeking a bachelor's degree. If you are married, you are not permitted to live in on-campus housing and should make off-campus housing arrangements.
With some exceptions, Loyola generally requires all undergraduate students in their first or second year to live on campus in residence halls. For detailed information about on-campus housing, please contact the Department of Residence Life at 773.508.3300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.luc.edu/reslife/.
You are considered a graduate student if you are seeking a master's degree or higher. The Department of Residence Life offers some graduate student housing. However, many graduate students live off campus. Residence Life can refer you to off-campus housing resources.
General Housing Information
When searching for an apartment, be sure to keep in mind the distance to campus and/or public transportation like the El system. Prices can vary widely based on location, amenities, and size so shop around to find the best fit for you. The Office of International Programs recommends first visiting Loyola’s student classifieds website at https://lucweb.luc.edu/iggy/index.cfm as people in the Loyola community post ads for apartments or roommates here. You can also use our Off Campus Housing resources here: https://www.luc.edu/reslife/resources/off-campushousing/
Entering the United States
You will need to bring the following documents with you in the plane:
- Passport valid for at least 6 months after arrival
- F-1 or J-1 visa stamp for entry
- Immigration documents (I-20/DS-2019)
- Evidence of financial support
- Letter of acceptance from Loyola
- Receipt of I-901 fee payment
- OIP contact information -- tel. 773-508-3899 or email email@example.com
Keep these documents with you -- do not check them in your bags.
Getting to Chicago
You may travel to Chicago by plane, train or bus. For more information about these travel options, click one of the following links:
- Airline Phone List
- Greyhound Bus Lines
- Metra (Chicago commuter train)
- Midway Airport
- O'Hare International Airport
Getting to Loyola
A taxi is the easiest way to travel to Loyola. A one way trip from O'Hare International Airport should cost about $30–35. Since Midway Airport is much farther from campus than O'Hare, a one way fare will cost at least $50; for this reason we recommend flying into O'Hare if possible. You can also travel to Loyola by using the Chicago Transit Authority(CTA) system of buses and trains. While this is a much cheaper option, there is no direct route to Loyola and so you will have to make at least one transfer along the way.
Use these windy city resources to get around town, find good food, sign an apartment, and more!
Megabus—A great way to get around the region and see some sights.
Transit Chicago—Your best option to get around the city.
Ventra Card—Questions about your Ventra card…go here!
Metra—Need to go to the suburbs? This is how you do it!
Chicago Weather—Keep an eye out, Chicago weather can change quickly!
Chicago Tribune—One of Chicago’s newspapers.
Chicago Sun Times—Another newspaper.
Chicago Reader—This newspaper explores more alternative stories.
Chicago Metromix—Find something fun to do!
Chicago's Best—Highlights some of the best Chicago restaurants!
Time Out Chicago—Full of helpful reviews of activities and restaurants.