General Legal Advice to International Students


  1. If you own or operate a motor vehicle, you must purchase and have in your possession proof of liability insurance. The law applies even if you are borrowing another’s car. $500.00 mandatory fine.
  2. Be aware that most of the time used autos and most other used items do not carry any guarantees or warranties. You take the items “as is”; you take possession of the item in the condition that it is at the time of purchase. Have an independent, licensed mechanic thoroughly examine any used vehicle before you buy it. Always obtain a “bill of sale” or receipt from the seller.

Renter’s Rights/Obligations

  1. Do not sign a housing contract or lease without first having the document examined with Off-Campus Community Living, 217-333-0112.
  2. Landlords may not lawfully refuse to rent to you because of your sex, race, or national origin.
  3. Purchase inexpensive renter’s insurance for your house, apartment, room, etc., in case of theft or fire. The landlord is not legally responsible for your losses if losses occur.


  1. Beware of telephone and mail invitations to purchase items or earn prizes because you purchased an item. Most are scams. If you receive a response to a craigslist ad you placed (to sell something, to sublease your apartment) with a money order for more than you asked, do not deposit it in your bank account and send the extra somewhere else. It is a scam. Hold on to your money!
  2. Many U.S. students believe international students are wealthy. Do not make personal loans in any amount of money which you are not prepared to forfeit, or lose, forever. International students have been victims of unscrupulous borrowers in the name of friendship.
  3. Never give your debit card number, credit card number, identification information, etc. over the phone or on internet unless YOU initiated the transaction.


  1. When/if confronted by a police officer for any reason whatsoever, maintain a calm and polite attitude. Do not run from Police. Do not argue with the officer even if s/he is acting improperly. Student Legal Service can assist in resolving the matter in Court.
  2. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed on any public property, sidewalk, parking lot, etc., nor may an alcoholic beverage be transported, after being opened, in any type of motor vehicle, in any compartment, including in the trunk.

Notice to Non-U.S. Citizens

Nonimmigrant aliens subject to National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) Registration, or special registration, who are also enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) do not have to notify DHS separately of changes in educational institutions or addresses.

However, you must notify your educational institution of your change in address as soon as you are able to.

At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, you must do this through “Enterprise Applications” by following these steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Select “Student & Faculty Self-Service”
  3. Then “University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign”
  4. Then Log in with your netID and password
  5. Then Select “Personal Information”

For information on “Maintaining Status” (available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese), and other issues related to Student and Exchange status visit How to Navigate the U.S. Immigration System.

“Maintaining Status” is Step 7 contained in the link, “Steps 7-9: While in the United States”.