life as an international student

There is a lot know when you first arrive at the University of Illinois. We hope that these pages will help you adjust to the University and Champaign-Urbana!

your immigration status

As an international student, the following are your responsibility:

  • Keep your passport current.
  • Update your residential address in UI-Integrate no more than 10 days after you move.
  • Do not let your immigration documents (I-94 and I-20 or DS-2019) expire.
  • Inform ISSS if you wish to change your department or degree level.
  • Maintain a full-time course load of study (12 credit hours in most cases).
  • Request official permission to accept work outside of the University of Illinois.
  • Make sure that all travel documents are in order before taking any trip outside the U.S.
  • Pay U.S. and Illinois income tax if required to do so.
  • Complete an employment authorization form (I-9) in your hiring department if you will receive a University paycheck.
  • Do not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Transfer students must complete F-1 or J-1 transfer procedures within the time frame allowed by the regulations.
  • Be aware of immigration law. Never seek advice from a friend; ask ISSS if you are in doubt.

Please check here for further information about maintaining your immigration status.

Full Course Load

Guidelines to a full course load


F Travel Information
J Travel Information

Record Keeping

Please keep all of your previously issued immigration documents, you may need them again if trying to change to another status in the US or applying for work authorization.


Academics at the University of Illinois

Classroom culture
The environment in your classroom in the US may be different from what you have experienced at home. US classrooms encourage participation, group work, and may be a little less formal than what you are used to.

Academic advising

Graduate Advising
Undergraduate Advising

Office Hours
Time allotted by Professors or Teaching assistants for students to come to their office and address questions about the course.

Writer's Workshop

campus Life

Campus Visitor's Guide

Registered Student Organizations


Quad Day

Each August during Welcome Week, the Quad fills for Quad Day, where Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) advertise their clubs all in one location


Cross-Cultural Opportunities

International Hospitality Committee
English Language Resources

campus services

Counseling Center

Cross-cultural Opportunities

McKinley Health Center

Student Health Insurance

ISSS publication

Healthcare Publication


Hiring guidelines for international employees
F-1 Employment Options
J-1 Employment Options

On-campus work

F-1 and J-1 students are able to work on-campus (paid by the University of Illinois) for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. You may work 40 hours per week on campus during the Summer semester (provided it is not your first or last semester), and during scheduled campus breaks.

Assistantships and tuition waivers

F-1 and J-1 students are able to work up to a 50% assistantship while school is in session – 20 hours per week. Usually a 25-50% assistantship comes with a full tuition waiver. Also, if you hold a 25-50% assistantship, you are only required to be registered for 8 credit hours instead of 12 credit hours.

Pay periods and the "Work Week"

For scheduled pay periods for University of Illinois employment, see the OBFS website
Please remember that the “work week” is calculated from Sunday through Saturday, so you will need to keep track of your time with that in mind.

I-9 forms

Please make sure that you will out this form with your hiring department before you start work. Form I-94 will be needed - paper Form I-94 (front and back) OR Electronic Form I-94 (accessible from


Local Transportation

Champaign County Visitor's Bureau: Transportation Guide

University of Illinois: Transportation Guide

MTD Bus System
Remember, riding the MTD bus system is free with your icard.

Bicycle Riding

Champaign County Bikes

Campus Bicycle Shop


It is quite possible to live in this area without owning a car. Owning a car can be very expensive. Cars, especially used cars, need maintenance and at times require repair, which can be very costly. As an automobile owner and driver you are also required to purchase license plates, insurance, and fuel. It is important to consider all of these costs before you decide whether a car is in your budget.

life in champaign-urbana

managing your finances

Recent News

Calendar & Workshops