Students who have been absent from the U.S. for 5-12 months must request a new Initial Attendance I-20 . This applies only to those students who took a break in their studies and were not registered during the absence. This does not apply to students on a study abroad program or PhD students who continued to research or write for the thesis/dissertation and maintained normal registration with the University of Iowa.

This request is not for students who have been unenrolled and absent from the U.S. for more than 12 months. Such students would need to submit a brief reapplication form to the Office of Admissions. Please contact them directly at


  1. Log in to your iHawk account (click the blue login button) using your HawkID and password. Go to "F-1 Student Services" and complete the e-form "Request I-20 After 5-12 Month Absence."
  2. Once you complete the e-form, your academic advisor will need to review it. Your advisor will receive an email message from ISSS which will provide a link to review your request. Your advisor will be asked to comment on your request.
    • If you are advised by the Academic Advising Center, you should e-mail your advisor before they will approve the e-form request.
    • If you are advised in an academic department, your departmental advisor may also prefer that you e-mail them; it is a good idea to inform your academic advisor that he/she has been sent an email from the ISSS that will need to be reviewed and approved.
  3. After your advisor comments on your e-form request, you will receive an e-mail from ISSS telling you that we have received it. An ISSS advisor will review the application and will then contact you by e-mail to inform you of the decision or if additional information is needed.
  4. Once you obtain the new I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee again for your new I-20 SEVIS identification number.
  • If during the absence your visa did not expire, please contact the U.S. Consulate that issued the visa to ensure its validity before departing your home country. The Consulates may some time take action to cancel visa without you, or ISSS knowing this. Therefore it is IMPORTANT to take this step.
    If your visa is confirmed to be valid by the U.S. Consulate, you can use it for travel back to the U.S. ** as long as you have a new I-20 and paid the SEVIS (or I-901) fee.
    ** Be aware that using the new I-20 and unexpired visa may result in a "Secondary Passport Screening" at the Customs and Border Protection (immigration) check-in at the first U.S. port of entry. The screening helps CBP officer to cross check your immigration record if there is not sufficient time in the 'immigration check-in" line. IMPORTANT: The screening could cause you to miss your connecting flight so please make sure to adjust your flight schedule if you are using unexpired visa with a new I-20.
  • If you're using unexpired visa for re-entry into the U.S., the SEVIS fee receipt must be presented at the first U.S. port of entry.
  • However, if your visa had expired during your absence, then a new visa must be obtained using the standard visa application process. In obtaining a new visa, use the same financial documentation that was used for issuing a new I-20. This documentation may be also required at the first port of entry in the U.S..
  1. You will not be able to re-enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of your program as listed on your new I-20.
  2. You must check-in with ISSS upon your return no later than the first week of classes. You should bring all immigration documentation when checking-in.
  3. Please remember that you will not be eligible for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training until you have been registered full-time for one full academic year (summer sessions excluded).