INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION (ISO)

ISO & ISS Check-in Steps

ISO is for new students who are beginning a program of study or returning on an initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires you to register with UW-Madison before starting your program of study in the United States. By completing ISO and ISS Check-in in your Terra Dotta immigration portal, you will fulfill this federal requirement.

This year, International Student Orientation and ISS Check-in does not require you to come to the ISS office. Please complete them online.

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Step 1: Update your addresses and emergency contact in your Student Center in MyUW

Please enter the following contact information in your MyUW Student Center before completing the ISS Check-in in Terra Dotta:

    • Mailing Address (local address in the U.S.)
    • Home Address (address in your home country)
    • U.S. Phone Number (if applicable)
    • Emergency Contact
      • The easiest way to update your emergency contact is to search for “Emergency” in MyUW. Your emergency contact is the person the university can contact in case you are injured, missing, or incapacitated. If you have problems updating your emergency contact information, contact the DoIT Help Desk.

How to update your contact information in MyUW

Step 2: Complete International Student Orientation and ISS Check-in

UW-Madison F-1/J-1 students who have an I-20/DS-2019 with a Spring 2023 start date must complete:

International Student Orientation (ISO) on Canvas, the University’s online learning platform. (Opening on December 15th, 2022)

ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta   (You do not need to come to the ISS Office for Check-in.)

Per federal regulations, you must complete these requirements by the 15th day after the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019.

Please note the following important points related to the ISO & ISS Check-in:

    • We encourage you to start your Spring 2023 ISO on Canvas before you arrive in the U.S.
    • You cannot complete the ISS Check-in in Terra Dotta until you have entered the U.S. and have an I-94 record.
    • Per U.S. federal regulations, you may not enter the U.S. with an “initial attendance” I-20/DS-2019 more than 30 days before your program start date.

How to Complete ISO and ISS Check-in

Dates & Requirements

Following students must complete virtual International Student Orientation (ISO) and ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta (Complete them online. You do not need to come to the ISS office). The ISO Canvas Course for the Spring 2023 term will open on 12/15/2022. 

UW-Madison F-1/J-1 students who have an I-20/DS-2019 with a Spring 2023 start date including:

Students who are first-time travelers to the U.S.

Transfer students from another U.S. institution

Students returning from a Leave of Absence with a new Initial Attendance I-20

Change of education level students

Change of visa status students

Per federal regulations, you must complete ISO and ISS Check-in requirement by the 15th day after the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019.

 

How to complete ISO and ISS Check-in

 

We encourage you to start your Spring 2023 ISO on Canvas before you arrive in the U.S., and complete your ISS Check-in as soon as you arrive in the U.S. Completing Spring 2023 ISO & ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta is your only ISS orientation requirement for activating your F-1/J-1 visa status.

Our office will be hosting an International Student Welcome and Information Fair (ISWIF) for all students attending UW Madison. More information on this transition resources for new students is available in the link hereAttending these ISS programs and events is optional and free of charge. Please join us and get involved in student life in the spring semester!

Frequently Asked Questions

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When can I arrive in the United States?

If you are a newly admitted F-1/J-1 student, you are allowed to arrive up to 30 days before your program start date. Check the program start date listed on your form I-20/DS-2019.

What will I learn through ISO?

ISS’ Role and Maintaining F-1/J-1 Student Visa Status – Students will be able to . . .

    • Recognize ISS’ role in supporting them, including providing advising, immigration updates, and document production services; transitional and engagement programs; international student advocacy; and compliance and co-curricular communications.
    • Summarize key federal regulations and institutional policies they must follow in order to maintain their nonimmigrant F-1/J-1 student visa status.
    • List and describe the function of important immigration documents and agencies related to their visa status.
    • Identify benefits and authorizations, such as off-campus employment, that they are eligible for as F-1/J-1 student visa holders.

Using Terra Dotta and the ISS Website – Students will be able to . . .

    • Recognize how to navigate Terra Dotta to submit requests, send information requests, schedule an appointment with their ISS advisor, and perform other tasks.
    • Identify the various sections viewable on the ISS homepage and how to navigate them and perform a search to find the information they need.

Health, Safety, and Student Success – Students will be able to . . .

    • Describe challenges they may encounter during their transition to UW-Madison and identify campus resources that support their health, well-being, and overall success during their adjustment to living and studying in the U.S. (further elaborated on through the Global Badger Success Fridays series).
    • Recognize key U.S. laws, campus policies, and resources for staying safe during their studies.
    • Define “scam” and discuss types of scams and techniques for avoiding them.

Who must complete ISO and ISS Check-in?

All newly admitted F-1 and J-1 students must complete ISO and ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta. Additionally, transfer students from another U.S. institution with a “Transfer Pending” I-20/DS-2019, students returning from a leave of absence on an “Initial Attendance” I-20/DS-2019, change of education level students, and change of visa status students must complete ISO & ISS Check-in. F-2 and J-2 dependents do not have any ISO and ISS Check-in requirements.

How is ISO different from SOAR?

ISO is for all students with an F-1/J-1 visa.

SOAR (Student Advising, Orientation, & Registration) is for all undergraduate first-year and transfer students who are studying a degree program at UW-Madison.

Graduate and professional students do not attend SOAR. If you are a graduate or professional student, check with your academic department for your program’s orientation. All graduate students should also attend the Graduate Student Welcome.

Exchange students and non-degree visiting students also do not attend SOAR.

If I'm an undergraduate first-year or transfer student, do I have to go to both ISO and SOAR?

Yes. Both ISO and SOAR are mandatory programs designed to support your success at UW-Madison.

I am a Change of Education Level student at UW-Madison. Do I need to complete the ISO and ISS Check-in requirements for new international students?

Yes. Change of Education Level students are required to complete ISO and ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta. Completing ISO helps reinforce your understanding of important rules and regulations for maintaining your F-1/J-1 student visa status.

I took a Leave of Absence from UW-Madison. Do I need to complete the ISO and ISS Check-in requirements for new international students?

Maybe. If your Leave of Absence from UW-Madison was longer than 1 year, you are required to complete all ISO requirements. If you have an “Initial Attendance” I-20/DS-2019, you must complete ISO and ISS Check-in after you have entered the U.S.

Events

Tue 07

PEACE (Practicing English and Cultural Exchange)

February 7 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Wed 08

Career Fair Preparation Workshop

February 8 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Thu 09

Global Badger Experience Grant Info Session

February 9 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Tue 14

Global Café

February 14 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Wed 15

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshop

February 15 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Check back often for updates!