The University of Iowa

Orientation Overview

Attendance at Orientation is Required

Please note that attendance is expected at all orientation sessions. If you do not attend required sessions, a registration hold will be placed on your record for the following semester.

What to Bring to Orientation Check-in

  • Your passport
  • Your I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students) and all forms from prior institutions
  • Any other immigration documents received for dependents in F-2 or J-2 status.
International students attend orientation in the IMU

English Proficiency Evaluation

If you are required to sit for an English Proficiency Evaluation, one will be scheduled for you. The $120 fee for the test will be added to your first University bill.

Orientation Fee

All new undergraduate international students are assessed a $120 orientation fee by International Student and Scholar Services.  All graduate international students are charged a matriculation fee of $250.

Questions About Orientation

Questions on orientation should be addressed to International Student and Scholar Services, telephone 319-335-0335 or email


New J-1 Students, please see the F-1 tab for Orientation Overview

Required Check-in

New and returning scholars are required to check in with ISSS and participate in a mandatory orientation session. Sign up for the scholar check-in prior to your arrival in the U.S. by logging into the iHawk system.  You will find the scholar check-in schedule under the Session Sign-Ups section and select a date and time on the calendar within 72 hours upon arrival. Checking-in enables ISSS 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 cancelation 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: scholars arriving in the U.S. after March 31, 2013 will identify an appropriate University of Iowa health insurance plan during check-in)
  • 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 well as details about the health insurance requirement, 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.