These checklists are designed to help new international students preparing to travel to the United States for the first time.

Things to Do Well Before Leaving

  • Log in to the Pre-Arrival Checklist on the iHawks system. The Checklist will give you information on how to arrange travel to the University of Iowa and from the airport to Iowa City, how to apply for on-campus housing, how to apply for your student visa, special activities and classes for new international students, and access to your personalized schedule for international student orientation as well as several other important pieces of information or tasks to complete before you leave home.

Items to Carry with You on the Plane

  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 for the University of Iowa
  • A valid passport with a U.S. visa for the University of Iowa (Canadians are not required to have a visa)
  • Your admission letter from the University of Iowa
  • Your financial support documentation
  • Your airplane ticket(s)
  • Cash, traveler's checks, or any international bank card (ATM or debit card); $800-$1,000 in U.S. currency for travel emergencies and settling-in expenses. (Problems with flight connections could make it necessary for you to spend the night in a hotel, which could cost $100 or more. Try to prepare for all unexpected expenses associated with international travel.)
  • Phone numbers and e-mail addresses of emergency contacts at home and in the United States
  • Phone numbers and e-mail addresses of relatives, friends, your University of Iowa academic department, the ISSS (319-335-0335 during regular business hours), and any contacts you have at the university
  • Documentation of treatment you have received for chronic medical problems
  • An English translation of your medical history and documents
  • Prescriptions for medications you take and a fresh supply of prescription medicines
  • Medical records (including vaccinations records) for your accompanying spouse/children (if applicable)

 Other Items to Pack

  • Your marriage license (if applicable)
  • Your academic transcript
  • Clothing appropriate for the season of your arrival in Iowa (summer is hot and humid with average high temperatures around 85°F/30°C; winter is cold and dry with average low temperatures around 15°F/-10°C and significant amounts of snow)
  • Adapters for electrical appliances (U.S. standard outlets use 110 volts)
  • Favorite recipes and items for sharing your culture with others; music, video tapes, postcards, photographs, or traditional dress (if you have room)