Planning Your Trip

When Can I Enter the U.S.?

Please note that under immigration regulations, you cannot enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the reporting date for the IEI. The reporting date is located on the I-20 and it is the last day you can enter the U.S.

F-1 students must attend the school whose I-20 they used to enter the United States for at least one term. Do not enter the U.S. on the IEI I-20 form if you have changed your mind about attending the IEI. Also, do not enter the U.S. on an I-20 form from a different school if you wish to attend the IEI.

What Do I Need to Bring With Me?

Your immigration documents: Do not remove anything from the envelope given to you by the US consulate that issues your entry visa. You will need to present all of the documents in this envelope to the U.S. Immigration Inspector at the port of entry. Keep your passport and other travel documents with you, not in your luggage.

How Much Cash Should I Bring?

You should have some American dollars in cash before you arrive in the U.S. Do not bring a large amount of cash because this is not safe. Most of your money should be in traveler’s checks (in dollars). You can also bring a check (preferably in dollars) to deposit in a local bank. This way you can open a checking account at a local bank when you arrive. There are many ATM machines on and around campus that you can use to get cash with your bank or credit card.

Should I Bring My Cellular Phone?

Please note that the cellular phone system in the U.S. is different and if you bring your cell phone from home it may not work. You may need to buy a new cell phone for use in the U.S. You may use your credit card to make international phone calls from pay phones once in the U.S.

Do I Need Immunizations or Health Records?

Illinois requires all college students to be immunized against certain vaccine-preventable diseases, listed below.

  • Measles – Two vaccinations required, on or after the first birthday. Must be live vaccine, which was available after May 1, 1971.
  • Mumps – One vaccine
  • Rubella – One vaccine
  • Tetanus/diphtheria – International Students: documentation of at least three tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations, the third given within 10 years of the first day of the start of classes.

You can show that you have had some or all of these immunizations on the Immunization Form sent to you by email. The Immunization Form MUST be completed, signed and stamped by your family doctor before you come to the U.S. This form CANNOT be completed after you have arrived. NOTE: If you are under the age of 18, this form must also be signed by a parent or guardian. Also, make sure that you provide a certified English translation if immunization records are not in English.

If you do NOT bring this form showing all the required immunizations, you will be required to get the immunizations at the McKinley Health Center for a charge. All international students must have a tuberculosis screening at the University of Illinois. The tuberculosis (“TB”) test is done at the McKinley Health Center for a fee.

Do I Need Health Insurance?

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requires that all students have health insurance. This includes students attending the Intensive English Institute.

Students can get health insurance by:

(1) purchasing University of Illinois student health insurance when they register at the IEI or

(2) purchasing private insurance in their home countries.

If students purchase private insurance, there is a MINIMUM amount of coverage required as follows:

(1) a minimum of $500,000 per illness or injury per academic year

(2) no less than an 80%/20% benefit plan for inpatient, outpatient, surgical procedures, and mental health

(3) the maximum annual deductible of $5,000.00 or less.


  • Students who purchase private health insurance must bring proof of coverage to the IEI office at the time of registration.
  • This proof must be in English
  • This proof must be in U.S. Dollars
  • It must include information that shows the minimum coverage has been met.

How Do I Get to Champaign-Urbana Illinois?

Most travelers coming to the IEI fly to Chicago or Detroit and then to Champaign-Urbana. When you make your airline reservations, you can check on a connecting flight to Champaign Willard Airport (CMI). Do not take a taxi from Chicago or Detroit to Champaign-Urbana since these cities are 3-6 hours away by car. You can take a bus from Chicago O’Hare airport.

By Airplane:

The University of Illinois Willard Airport (Airport Code: CMI) serves the Champaign-Urbana area.

By Train:

AMTRAK has service between downtown Chicago and Champaign.

By Bus:

Peoria Charter Coach provides service between Chicago O’Hare airport and Champaign.

Illini Shuttle provides service between Chicago and Champaign.

Greyhound Bus Lines daily service between downtown Chicago and Champaign.

How Do I Get From Champaign Willard Airport, Bus or Train Station to the University of Illinois Campus?

Use a taxi. The average cost for a taxi is $15. You can use a search engine to find “taxis near Champaign” (example list of taxicab services).

How Do I Get to the IEI?

The Intensive English Institute is located at 616 East Green Street, Suite 210 in Champaign. The entrance is between Subway & McDonald's, through the door with the “Intensive English Institute” sign, second floor, Suite 210. The nearest intersection is Green and Wright Streets and Green and Sixth Streets. The IEI office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please remember that the IEI is not open on Saturday and Sunday.