The University of Iowa

International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services

The official source of information and support for international students and scholars at the University of Iowa.


Recently, the University of Iowa announced that students with exceptional financial need can apply for financial assistance from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF). While this funding has been available to U.S. citizen students in the past, we’re happy to say that this time it will also be available to international students. That means that any international students who have experienced unanticipated financial hardship will be eligible to apply for this financial assistance to cover either the cost of attending the university or emergency costs related to COVID-19.

International students will be able to apply for this funding through an application which will appear in MyUI in October. We will send another message once the application is ready, but we wanted to send this message now to let international students know that they are eligible. There will also be a second round of funding during the spring semester for students who have a need at that time.

Dear students,

We’d like to inform you of some important announcements regarding U.S. Immigration rules. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that there will continue to be flexibility related to online courses for the 2021-2022 academic year, a presidential proclamation restricts travel from India, and the U.S. Department of State announced an expansion of National Interest Exemption Waivers making it easier for students to enter or return to the U.S.

SEVP announced that online classes will continue to count the same as face-to-face classes for academic year 2021-2022.  This means that you can maintain your F-1 status by registering for any number of online or in-person classes as long as the total number of credits meets the minimum to be considered a full-time student (12 semester hours for undergraduates and 9 semester hours for graduate students).

A new presidential proclamation was signed on Friday which restricts travel from India.  The restriction means that all international students and scholars who live in or travel through India must wait 14 days before they can enter the United States unless they qualify for a waiver.

Fortunately, the Department of State announcement means that students coming back to the U.S. or entering for the first time can fly directly to the U.S. without spending 14 days in another country.  Now all students are eligible to travel directly to the U.S. up to 30 days before the start of fall classes. The waiver is automatically granted, and students do not need to apply for it.

Everyone travelling to the U.S. must still present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken 3 days before their flight leaves for the U.S.  One of the best ways to ensure that you do not contract Covid-19 while travelling is to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Student Health has vaccines available.  You can find a schedule of upcoming clinics and information on scheduling your appointment here.  We encourage everyone interested in getting the vaccine to do so as soon as they are able.

While these changes are welcome ones for students travelling back to the U.S., the pandemic is not over, and things can still change quickly. Please remember that there are many resources at the university which can help you manage the stress you may be feeling, especially the specialists at University Counselling Services (call 319-335-7294 or click here to schedule an appointment) and Student Care and Assistance (call 319-335-1162 or email 

We in ISSS will continue to update you as swiftly as possible whenever there is an immigration change that could affect you.


Our mission

International Student and Scholar Services of the University of Iowa provides leadership in international education and intercultural learning through services to international students and scholars, their dependents, the University, and the surrounding community.  We enhance the academic, cultural, and social pursuits of our students and scholars through exceptional immigration and personal advising as well as outstanding cross-cultural programming and training.


ISSS is more than the "immigration" office.  Although helping international students and scholars in F, M, and J status with immigration issues is a significant part of our work, with nearly 9000 in-person visits to advisors each year and thousands of electronic forms processed, we are also heavily involved in intercultural and adjustment programming for students and scholars, providing cultural competency and intercultural awareness training for staff and faculty, and supporting the Iowa City area community to be a welcoming place for international visitors.

Learn more about the programs and services we offer:

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Zoom and In-Person Walk-In Hours

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From left to right: Redwan Bin Abdul Baten, Frankline Matanji, Siau-Tong Ding, Mishma Nixon, Shuhui Lin

Event highlights benefits of campus involvement by international students and scholars

International students and scholars recently had an opportunity to learn about campus involvement from current and former leadership team members of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB). Sponsored by International Student Support & Engagement (ISSE) and International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), the event was held on Friday, August 27, and featured four panel members—each with significant leadership experience in campus student organizations. Shuhui Lin, International Student Support and Engagement Coordinator, moderated the panel.