Orientation for International Students in F-1 or J-1 Status

New undergraduate international students in F-1 or J-1 status (and those who plan to be) are required to attend a week-long orientation program provided by International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).

International Student Orientation Program

A complete list of activities will be posted on the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) website about two months before the first day of each semester, but the week-long ISSS orientation program generally covers:

  • Immigration regulations affecting your stay in the United States

  • Adjusting to life in a new culture and to life at a U.S. academic institution

  • Information about Health Care and Health Insurance

  • Information about the class registration process and the academic system at Iowa

  • An introduction to campus and community resources, including library and technology resources

  • An on-campus English Proficiency Evaluation

Plan early arrival

Because the required ISSS program is a week long, you should plan to arrive in Iowa and on campus at least one day before the ISSS orientation program begins (this is the date given on your I-20 or DS-2019).

Students are responsible for paying their own living expenses throughout the period of the ISSS orientation program. Refer to the ISSS Website to find out when the program will occur (usually, it's held a few weeks before classes begin). This web site and e-mail messages will also provide details on early move-in for students who will be living in an on-campus residence hall.

Departure Checklist

Check-in instructions

Check for details on the iHawk self-servce portal for New Students about two months before the first day of each semester.

  • Early arrival—If you arrive a few days before the ISSS program, you may go through a preliminary check-in and pick up an Orientation packet.

  • Late arrival—Students who arrive after the ISSS program begins will likely experience delays and inconveniences related to many matters, including housing and registering for classes. Students who are unavoidably unable to arrive on time must contact ISSS to ensure that they will be able to register on time. Students who cannot arrive on time may be required to defer admission to another semester.

Orientation fee

Students who are required to go to the ISSS orientation program (those in F-1 or J-1 status, with the exception of students on exchange programs) are charged a $120 orientation fee on their first University bill.