New & Transfer Students

NEW students


Welcome to Rush University! Here are the next steps you will need to take as a newly admitted student. 

Request an I-20

After you receive your Rush admission letter, you will complete the I-20 Request Form. International students use the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” to pay their SEVIS fee, apply for a student visa, enter the United States and to apply for benefits after arrival.

Document Checklist - Below is a list of documents necessary to issue your I-20.

  • Admission letter
  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Proof of financial support
  • TOEFL scores or waiver
Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

SEVIS – the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System – is an electronic database used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain record of international students studying in the United States. There is a one-time fee for each record maintained in the system which you will need to pay. For more information about the SEVIS fee click here.

Apply for a Student Visa

All nonimmigrant visitors, except Canadians, are required to have a visa to enter the United States. For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Steps to take:

  1. Complete the DS – 160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You will need to upload a passport format photograph for the application.
  2. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Check expected appointment wait time here.

Documents Checklist - Below is a list of documents to bring to your visa interview.

  • Passport – valid for at least six months beyond the program start date
  • Form I-20
  • Rush admission letter
  • Evidence of financial support
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
Plan for Your Arrival

Rush University welcomes you to Chicago! As an F-1 student you may not arrive in the United States more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20. If you plan to enter more than 30 days before your program start date you will need to enter as a visitor. You will then need to leave the U.S. and re-enter as a student within the 30 days prior to your program start date.

After securing your travel plans, please email them to so we can anticipate your arrival.

Arriving in the US

Everyone arriving at a port-of-entry meets with a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer for inspection prior to picking up their luggage. The officer will ask you for the following documents, so please be sure to have them on you at all times:

  • Rush University issued I-20
  • A valid passport (must be valid 6 months into the future)
  • A valid F-1 visa

Due to an increase in screenings at the U.S. border, we recommend you also carry the following documents with you:

  • Rush University admission letter
  • Evidence of financial support

Entry stamp

The CBP Officer will stamp your travel document with an entry stamp. The entry stamp you receive should have a written “F-1” indicating your recorded entry status. Additionally, it should be marked “D/S” for “Duration of Status”. Duration of Status indicates you have been admitted in F-1 status for the duration of your academic program noted on your I-20. If you are unable to read what the CBP Officer has written, ask to ensure it says you are entering with an F-1 visa for Duration of Status.

Form I-94

Customs and Border Protection keeps an electronic record, Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, of everyone entering or leaving the United States. Visit the I-94 Website to download your I-94. You will provide the Office of International Students a copy of your I-94 at check-in, but will also want to keep a copy for your own records.

Additional Resources Study in the States and U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Getting from the airport

Finding Housing

Registering for classes

Attending New Student Orientation

Transfer students
After being admitted to an academic program, an F-1 student is eligible to transfer to Rush University if he or she is in valid F-1 status at the time of the transfer.
Transferring to Rush University

Here are the steps for transferring an I-20 to Rush University:

  1. Be admitted to an academic program at Rush University.
  2. Complete the top portion of Rush University’s Transfer Verification form and request the international advisor at the school you currently attend complete the bottom portion.  Upon completion the Transfer Verification form should be emailed to
  3. Submit an I-20 Request form with a copy of your passport, visa, I-94, proof of financial support, admission letter, TOEFL score/waiver and current I-20. 
  4. Register for classes and attend orientation.
  5. Rush University International Student Services will alert you by email when your Continued Attendance I-20 is ready to be picked up. This second I-20 confirms your record has been transferred to Rush University.

Please be reminded, there may be no more than 5 months between schools from either the last day of attendance or last day of Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), whichever is later.

Traveling while Transferring an I-20

Transfer students may travel outside the United States between school programs, but need to re-enter using their Rush University I-20 not the I-20 from a previous school. Students who travel with a valid visa issued for a pre-Rush University institution may re-enter with that visa as long as the SEVIS number on the visa matches the SEVIS number on the I-20.

If you will be traveling between school programs and your visa is not valid, please plan to apply for a new visa while in your home country.

For a reminder of which documents you should have with you when you travel, please visit planning your arrival to Chicago

Transferring from Rush University

If you are planning on transferring from Rush University to go to another U.S. institution, please email International Student Services with the date you would like your I-20 transferred.

Contact Us

International Student Services Armour Academic Center, Suite 440 600 S. Paulina Chicago, IL 60612

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone: (312)942-2030