Orientation / Arrival Information
Getting to Loyola
What to Bring to Chicago
You can purchase most household items and school supplies, including computers and books, in Chicago. The items you must bring with you from your home country are:
- Cash (U.S. dollars) or travelers' checks to cover transportation from the airport to campus. If you haven't found a place to live, you should also bring money to cover 5-7 days of temporary lodging and food in Chicago. This amount could vary between $500-$1,000 in cash or traveler's checks depending on your lifestyle. You can arrange to have additional money sent/wired to Chicago after your arrival. For more information about housing options, please see Housing.
- Clothing for a climate that is very hot and humid in the summer (June - September: 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit) and very cold in the winter (November - March: 0-40 degrees Fahrenheit). You may purchase additional clothing after your arrival in the many discount clothing stores in the Chicagoland area.
Entering the U.S.
You will need to bring the following documents with you in the plane:
- Passport valid for 6 months after arrival
- F-1 or J-1 visa stamp valid for entry - check to make sure it reflects your correct visa classification
- Immigration documents (I-20 or D-2019)
- Evidence of your financial resources
- Letter of acceptance from Loyola
- Your paper receipt for the SEVIS fee
- The name and contact information of your designated school official or sponsor. To view a list of Loyola designated school officials, click here.
Keep these documents with you at all times and not in your checked baggage! Failure to do so may result in you being denied entrance to the U.S. if your baggage is lost or delayed
Before boarding your plane to Chicago here are some things you should know:
- If you are an initial student or exchange visitor entering to attend school for the first time, you cannot enter the United States more than 30 days before the program start date indicated on your I-20/DS-2019.
- When you receive your nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the consular officer will seal your immigration documents in an envelope and attach it to your passport. You should not open this envelope! The Customs and Border Protection Officer at the U.S. port of entry will open the envelope.
If you are traveling by aircraft, the flight attendants on board will distribute CF-6059 Customs Declaration Forms and I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Forms for immigration before you land at your initial point of entry in the United States. Please make sure that you complete the white version of the I-94 form. Complete these forms while you are on the aircraft and submit them to the appropriate Customs and Border Protection Officer upon your arrival. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.
After you get off the airplane in the U.S., you will go through an immigration inspection. As you approach the inspection station, have your: passport, SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019, Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record, and CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form available for presentation to the Customs and Border Protection Officer.
Inform the CBP Officer at the port of entry as soon as possible that you will be a new student or exchange visitor in the U.S. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school or exchange visitor program where you will enroll/participate. The inspector may ask to review your admission and financial documents, so have them available. The inspector will then stamp your I-20 or DS-2019, return it to you, and staple the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record into your passport.
The I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 are proof of your legal admission to the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student. Please keep these documents safe at all times.
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. This can be impractical if you are traveling with large amounts of luggage and so a taxi may be your best option.
You can order a taxi in advance or you can wait in the general taxi line at the airport. If you order a taxi the operator will tell you where to wait as it is separate from the rest of the taxi line. When your taxi arrives, give the driver your campus or off campus housing address. The trip to campus from O'Hare will take about 45 minutes and about 90 minutes from Midway. When you arrive at your address the driver will tell you the final charges. Be sure to give the driver a 15% tip as well.
Orientation and Check In
All new students are required to attend an international student orientation, which specifically covers information about your non-immigrant status in the U.S. The U.S. Immigration required document check in will also take place at this orientation. Information about orientation will be sent to you along with your I-20 or DS-2019 form.