New and returning scholars are required to check in with ISSS and participate in a mandatory orientation session. Upon arrival, scholars should be directed to contact ISSS at (319) 335-0335 to schedule an appointment. Checking-in enables ISSS the to validate the J-1 scholar's program participation in SEVIS, the U.S. government's real-time informational database on foreign scholars. Failure to check in may result in the termination or cancellation of a scholar's SEVIS record.

Scholars should bring the items listed below to the check-in appointment. Scholars should also bring immigration documents for dependents in J-2 status.

  • DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94
  • Proof of health insurance (Note: a scholar must obtain health insurance that meets the minimum coverage levels)
  • University identification number

Additionally, scholars will need to provide a local address, phone number, email address and emergency contact information.

During the orientation session, scholars will receive helpful information about the campus and local community as wells as details about the health insurance requirement (unpaid scholars will enroll for their UI insurance program at this time), attendance at the required immigration regulation session, and how to obtain a university identification card and social security card (if employed by the University of Iowa). Scholars who are female or have a female spouse receive information about the International Women’s Club. Finally, scholars will be informed about educational and social events, activities, and trips, organized by ISSS with the generous assistance of a group of volunteers from the Iowa City community, a group which includes many retired UI faculty members.