Document processing times: During the COVID-19 pandemic, please expect increased processing times for documents. We encourage you to plan ahead as much as possible, especially for time-sensitive requests. Students should submit applications well in advance of any deadlines to ensure that they are maintaining their immigration status. Please remember that ISSS can make updates in SEVIS as needed, but that there may be a delay in receiving the new I-20 or DS-2019 document.
We generally cannot expedite requests due to the high volume of applications we receive. If you feel that it is necessary to request an expedite, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member for consideration.
iSTART is the ISSS case management system for international students and scholars. It is comprised of e-forms which allow students and scholars to make electronic requests to update their I-20 or DS-2019. It also allows ISSS to ensure integrity in managing records and personal information for our student and scholar population.
If you are experiencing any issues accessing a specific e-form, or routing your form to your academic advisor, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Apply early! Some requests are time-sensitive, and it generally takes ISSS up to five business days to issue a new document.
- If you are required to list/prove funding in your application, make sure you have met the minimum funding requirements.
- Route your form to the correct second approver (advisor). Some departments require you to send the e-form to a specific advisor; if you are unsure who this is, check with your department or college.
- You will receive a series of e-mails once you have submitted the application. Your document is ready when you receive the final approval e-mail. Please only contact ISSS if it has been over five business days since the e-form was submitted to our office, and you have not received the approval e-mail.
- E-mail A: Confirms that the form has been submitted either to the ISSS office or routed to your advisor.
- E-mail B (sent only if form needed a second approver): Confirms that your advisor has submitted the form to ISSS.
- E-mail C: Approval e-mail. Student can pick up the new I-20 or DS-2019 the next business afternoon.
- If you need your document mailed, please make sure you choose the correct mailing option, and provide the correct mailing address.
Some requests in iSTART ask for students to verify funding sources for their expenses. For some requests, students may also be asked to submit proof of funding. Visit the Calculating Funding page for more information.
The following are the types of online services available for international students through the iSTART system.
f-1 Student & J-1 students
- Address Update
- Reprint Request
- Program Extension
- Biographical Information Update (Name/Country of Citizenship)
- Funding Update
- Change of Field of Study (Undergraduate)
- Change of Field of Study (Graduate)
- Reduced Course Load
- Change of Graduate Program
- Add a Dependent
- Transfer Out
- Resuming Studies at the University
f-1 students only
- Curricular Practical Training
- Optional Practical Training
- OPT Re-request (to change or cancel a previous OPT request
- OPT STEM Extension (additional 24 months)
- Cap-Gap Extension
- E-forms for OPT/OPT STEM Reporting
- OPT: Employer Information Update
- OPT: SEVP Reset
- OPT: Unemployment or Permanently Leaving US
- 6/12/18/24 Month STEM Participation Reporting
- OPT STEM: Employment Self-Evaluation
j-1 students only
- Academic Training
- Change of Status to F-1
- Change of Status to J-1
- Social Security Application Information [Download ]
An information sheet regarding Social security applications for international students.
- Driver's License Application [Download ]
A factsheet to help international students in their application for a State of illinois Driving License.
- Change of Status: Dependent to Student [Download ]
Use these instructions when filing a Change of Status to F-1 request to USCIS. Whilst the instructions specifically pertain to changing from a dependent status (F-2, H-4 etc) they can be used for changing from any eligible status to F-1.
- Change of Status: Student to Dependent [Download ]
Use these instructions when filing a Change of Status to F-2 request to USCIS. Whilst the instructions specifically pertain to changing from a student status (F-1) they can be used for changing from any eligible status to F-2.
- Change of Status: F-1 to J-1 [Download ]
Use these instructions when filing a Change of Status from F-1 to J-1.