MENU Office of International Services

Incoming Exchange Students

The University of Illinois at Chicago has established exchange partnerships with a number of universities around the world. Exchange programs give UIC students the chance to study at a university outside the United States and, in return, give a student at a partner university a chance to study at UIC. The information provided below is intended for incoming exchange students, or students at a partner university who would like to study at UIC. Outgoing exchange students, or UIC students who would like to study at a partner university outside the U.S. should consult the UIC Study Abroad Office website.

Application Process

The application process for incoming exchange students is a collaborative effort. Various UIC units are involved including the Office of International Services, Academic Departments, and UIC Admission. General questions about the application process, however, can be directed to the Office of International Services at

  • Nomination: To begin the application process, an authorized coordinator at the home institution must nominate the interested student(s) for the UIC Exchange Program through a nomination form. The coordinator should download and complete the fillable pdf form, sign [hard or digital signatures are acceptable], and return by email attachment to with 'Exchange Nomination' in the subject line. UIC does NOT accept self-nominations for exchange. 
  • Application: The Office of International Services will provide the home institution coordinator and student with the UIC Exchange Program Incoming Exchange Nomination & Application Directions. This document will explain the application process in detail.
  • Admission: After the student submits a completed application to the Office of International Services, it is forwarded to the relevant academic department for consideration. If the academic department agrees to host the student, UIC Admissions will conduct a final review of the application, and, if approved, issue the official admission letter.
  • Deadlines: Nominations and applications must be received by the following deadlines to be considered for the corresponding study terms. Applications received by the Early Action Deadline will receive advanced notification of admission and priority consideration for on-campus housing, course selection, and immigration document processing.

Study Term

Nomination Deadline

Early Action Application Deadline

Final Application Deadline

Fall Semester
August - December

February 1

March 1

May 15

Spring Semester
January - May

June 1

July 1

Oct 1

Summer Session I

November 1

December 1

February 1

Summer Session II
June - August

November 1

December 1

February 1


  • Immigration & Visa Requirements: After admission to the UIC Exchange Program, students must submit documentation so that OIS can issue a Form DS-2019 or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. The DS-2019 allows the student to apply for a J-1 visa at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Prospective exchange students can read more about the OIS Documents and how to submit them on the OIS website. Required evidence of funding amounts for exchange students is listed in the financial section of this page.           


Exchange students at UIC study alongside regular UIC students in lectures, classes, discussion groups, labs and studios. The language of instruction is English and regular attendance and active participation is expected by the faculty.  

  • Length of program: The academic calendar at UIC is based on semesters. The fall semester runs from August to December, the spring semester runs from January to May. In addition, there are two summer sessions, summer session I which runs from May to June and summer session II which runs from June to August. Exchange students may apply for one or two semesters/sessions.
  • Learning Agreement: Prospective exchange students should outline their intended field of study and a list of desired courses in the Learning Agreement which is included in their application to the UIC Exchange Program. This allows the Office of International Services to forward the application to the appropriate academic department for review. Students and their home institution coordinators can refer to the UIC course catalog for a list of classes generally offered at UIC. Please note that not all courses listed in the UIC course catalog will be offered during the exchange student’s chosen term of study and some courses may be full by the time an exchange student arrives on campus and registers for courses. Therefore, it is highly recommended that prospective exchange students and home institution coordinators remain flexible in this regard and prepare a list of courses that includes several options which would be acceptable by the home institution.
  • Course Registration: Exchange students will register for courses directly with their hosting academic department at UIC. In general, course registration can only be completed after the exchange student has arrived in Chicago and completed the Immigration Check-in with the Office of International Services. OIS will communicate directly with incoming exchange students regarding their specific plan for course registration.
  • Additional Considerations: While studying at UIC, exchange students should take at minimum 75% of their courses in the field of study indicated on their application. Students may take additional courses outside their intended field of study at the discretion of their home institution. Please see the Maintaining Status section of this page for additional course selection considerations.


Preparing for the financial aspects of the UIC Exchange Program is important. This includes understanding responsibilities regarding tuition and fee payment, how to view and pay your UIC student account, and how much money to budget for living expenses while in Chicago.

  • Tuition: Exchange students pay tuition to their home institution and are not charged UIC tuition during their time in the UIC Exchange Program. Please consult your home institution coordinator for details on how to pay your tuition bill while you are in Chicago.
  • Fees: Exchange students are charged some UIC fees as outlined in the appendix of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the home school and UIC.  For example, most exchange students pay a one-time Orientation /Arrival Fee ($149 as of fall 2018) to UIC unless it is specifically waived in the MOU.
  • Student Accounts & Billing: Student billing and payment at UIC is handled by University Student Financial Services & Cashier Operations. Exchange students can pay for applicable fees and CampusCare health insurance coverage (if not waived by deadline) via the USFSCO website.

BILLING DISCLAIMER: All UIC students, including exchange students, are automatically charged tuition and all fees upon registering for courses. Exchange students will see this bill shortly after confirming their course registration - don’t panic! OIS will notify USFSCO to waive tuition and the fees specified by the MOU for each exchange student. However, there can be a delay between the date USFSCO is notified and the date the fee waiver is reflected on the exchange student’s account. Exchange students should be mindful of any payment deadlines and communicate questions about the student bill to OIS in a timely manner.

  • Additional Estimated Expenses: In addition to tuition paid to the home institution and fees paid to UIC, exchange students should plan funding for additional costs such as living expenses and books/supplies. Below are estimates of these expenses based on living in Chicago and studying at UIC for one year. These are also the amounts exchange students must show as evidence of funding to qualify for a DS-2019 form.

Estimated Expenses



Living Expenses









TOTAL for 1 semester exchange



TOTAL for full year exchange





Exchange students may choose to live on-campus with UIC Housing or off-campus in private accommodation. It is recommended that students select UIC Housing.  Selecting private off-campus housing could result in unforeseen costs, unreliable maintenance, difficult commuting and lessened access to university services. It is the responsibility of the exchange student to secure his or her own accommodation as housing is not arranged by the UIC Exchange Program.

  • On-Campus Housing: Campus Housing provides a variety of convenient, secure, and socially-engaging residence halls right on the UIC campus. Exchange students interested in immersing themselves in the UIC college experience can visit the Campus Housing website for more information on residence hall options, pricing, and application deadlines.
  • Off-Campus Housing: Exchange students interested in living off-campus can find resources on the OIS website and the Commuter Student Resource Center website.

Health Insurance

Exchange students on a J-1 visa are required to maintain health insurance for the duration of their stay in the U.S. The level of coverage must meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of State.

  • Campus Care: Exchange students, like all registered UIC students, are automatically enrolled in UIC’s student health benefit program, CampusCare. CampusCare provides some, but not all, of the health insurance coverage required by the U.S. Department of State. Exchange students may choose to stay enrolled in CampusCare and purchase supplemental health insurance coverage to meet the DOS requirements. Alternatively, exchange students can waive CampusCare if they are able to present evidence of equal or better health insurance coverage. Please note that waiving CampusCare coverage and corresponding charges must be done directly with CampusCare and by their deadlines. Presenting evidence of health insurance coverage to OIS during Immigration Check-In does not waive CampusCare.
  • Private Health Insurance: Exchange students may utilize privately-purchased health insurance provided that it meets the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. To utilize health insurance purchased in your home country, documentation must be available in English and submitted through the CampusCare waiver process and OIS Immigration Check-In.



The Office of International Services hosts International Student Orientation at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and during the summer sessions. Exchange students should attend the ISO offered at the beginning of their program at UIC and plan their arrival to UIC accordingly. Please see the OIS website for more information about International Student Orientation.


Maintaining Status

Exchange students enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa, and therefore, are responsible for maintaining J-1 status for the duration of their program. Below are some general tips for maintaining J-1 status, however, exchange students are encouraged to connect with an OIS Advisor regarding any doubts or concerns. Additionally, maintaining J-1 status is covered during International Student Orientation.

  • Immigration Check-In: Upon arrival in Chicago all exchange students must complete an Immigration Check-In with OIS. Along with presenting immigration documents, exchange students must submit evidence of health insurance coverage that is in English and meets the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of State for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Enrollment: J-1 exchange students must enroll full-time during the UIC Exchange Program. For undergraduate students, full-time at UIC is defined as 12 credits or more per semester. For graduate students, full-time is 9 credits or more per semester. Additionally, J-1 exchange students are limited in their ability to enroll in online courses. Please see the OIS website for more information about full-time enrollment requirements.
  • Employment: J-1 visas are first and foremost student visas. Therefore, regulations surrounding J-1 employment are strict and the consequences for violating them can be severe. Information about J-1 employment can be found on the OIS website. However, please consult with an OIS Advisor prior to participating in any work or training activity, paid or unpaid. 
  • Address Updates: J-1 exchange students must maintain a current local (U.S.) and permanent (international) address at all times. Exchange students should report address changes to OIS within ten days.
  • Travel: J-1 exchange students who wish to travel outside the U.S. during their UIC Exchange Program should confirm that they have valid immigration documents, including an updated DS-2019 travel signature, prior to departure. More information about travel and how to update a travel signature can be found on the OIS website.
  • Departure: J-1 exchange students have a 30 day grace period after the program end date listed on their DS-2019 during which they may remain in the U.S. to travel or prepare for departure. Work, study, and re-entry to the U.S. are not permitted during the 30 day grace period. More information about departure procedures, including how to formally notify OIS or your departure, can be found on the OIS website.

Getting Involved

Cultural exchange is at the heart of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Participants in the UIC Exchange Program are encouraged to get involved on-campus so that they can interact with UIC students, share their home culture and learn about U.S. culture. Below are just some of the opportunities for involvement available at UIC.

  • OIS Programs & Events: The Office of International Services hosts a variety of cultural and social programs throughout the academic year. The majority of these programs are free of cost to exchange students and provide an opportunity to connect with the broader UIC international community. For a list of upcoming OIS programs and events, please see the OIS website.
  • Trade Winds: One of OIS’ signature programs, Trade Winds, is and intercultural friendship program in which international students and U.S. students are placed in small groups and encouraged throughout the semester to educate each other about their cultures, countries, perspectives and life experiences. Trade Winds is a fantastic opportunity for exchange students to build meaningful intercultural relationships in their short time at UIC. Learn more on the OIS website.
  • Center for Student Involvement: UIC has a vibrant student community and the Center for Student Involvement organizes programming for students throughout the year. Check out their website for upcoming events and a list of student organizations to join.
  • Campus Recreation: Exchange students who are interested in athletics can visit the UIC Campus Recreation website for information on their work out facilities, sports clubs, and intramural sports leagues and tournaments.