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International Students in F-1 or J-1 Status

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

International Student Orientation Program

A complete list of activities will be available via the Pre-Arrival Checklist in the iHawks system one month before the first day of each semester. 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
Placement Exams

International students in F-1 or J-1 status enrolling for fall should complete any required placement tests by the end of May, or as soon as possible thereafter in order to be eligible for early enrollment.

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. This website will also provide details on early move-in for students who will be living in an on-campus residence hall.

Pre-Arrival Information and Departure Checklist

Check-in instructions

Check for details on the iHawk self-service portal for New Students one month before the orientation start date.

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

Undergraduate 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. New graduate students on a student visa are charged a $250 orientation fee.

International Students not in F-1 or J-1 Status

New international students not in F-1 or J-1 status are required to attend an academic orientation program provided by Orientation Services (but do not attend the week-long orientation program offered by the International Student and Scholar Services). During this program you will earn more about University resources, meet your academic advisor, and register for classes.You can choose your orientation program date through your Admissions Profile on MyUI beginning in March for students entering in the summer or fall semesters or October for students entering in the spring semester. 

Making your reservation

The date of your academic orientation program will vary depending on whether you are a first-year or transfer student, the semester when you will begin taking classes, and whether you need to take an English Proficiency Evaluation. If you have questions, contact Orientation Services at or 319-335-1497, Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Central Standard Time.