INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION (ISO)

ISO 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 the ISS Check-In and attending ISO, you will fulfill this obligation.

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

Please enter the following 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.

You need to update both of these systems separately.

Step 2: Complete the ISS Check-in

The ISS Check-in can be completed online through Terra Dotta. Step-by-step instructions for this process are listed here on our website.

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

    • You cannot complete the ISS Check-in online 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.

Step 3: Attend ISO

We suggest that you arrive in Madison at least 2-3 days before your first orientation, whether it is with ISS or your school or department, to ensure a smoother transition to your new environment.

Please see below for ISO dates.

Orientation Dates

Fall 2020 International Student Orientation (ISO) and ISS Check-in will be done virtually. All information regarding these two important requirements for incoming international students will be delivered to you via your Terra Dotta portal.

As part of ISO, you will be required to complete certain modules in Terra Dotta. These modules will be published and accessible in your Terra Dotta portal by mid-August.

ISS will also organize and facilitate synchronous, virtual engagement sessions at the beginning of fall semester to support you in your transition to studying at the university and living in Madison. More information about these sessions will be shared in the coming weeks here on our International Student Orientation (ISO) page and in your Terra Dotta portal.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stay safe and healthy and we look forward to welcoming you to campus soon!

Friday, June 12, 2020
9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time(CDT)
via Webex (meeting link below)

Summer 2020 International Student Orientation (ISO) will be a real time virtual session led by ISS staff. All transfer and change of status international students who are starting their programs in the summer term must attend this virtual ISO on June 12th.

Change of education level students who completed a program at UW-Madison and are now starting a new degree are invited and highly encouraged to attend ISO.

All international students starting their programs in summer term must also complete the ISS Check-in in the Terra Dotta portal within 15 days of their program start date on their I-20/DS-2019. 

Here are the slides from our 2020 Summer ISO Presentation.

 

Friday, January 17, 2020
8:00 a.m.- 12:15 p.m.
Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue

ISO Welcome Lunch 
Immediately following orientation at Grainger, 12:15 – 2:00 p.m.
Union South, Varsity Hall

All newly admitted students must attend. You do not need to register in advance.

After the Welcome Lunch, there will be an afternoon program of free activities for you to enjoy at Union South including the following:

    • International Student Welcome Fair: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. in the Northwoods Room (3rd floor of Union South)
    • Bowling, Billiards & Board Games with BRIDGE: 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. in the Sett Recreation Center (basement floor of Union South)
    • Badger Trolley Tours of Campus & Downtown: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m., 2:55 – 3:40 p.m., 3:50 – 4:35 p.m., 330 N. Orchard Street (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Orchard Street Entrance)

ISS CHECK-IN

In-person ISS Check-In will be offered on the following dates:

    • Wednesday, January 15: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Memorial Library, Rooms 231 & 224
    • Thursday, January 16: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Memorial Library, Rooms 231 & 224
    • Friday, January 17: 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. in Union South, Wisconsin Idea Room

Please bring the following materials and information with you to the ISS Check-In:

If you complete the ISS Check-In in Terra Dotta by Monday, January 13, 2020, you do not need to come to the in-person ISS Check-In sessions on January 15-17.

Step-by-step instructions for completing the ISS Check-In in Terra Dotta are listed here on our website.

Please note the following important points related to the ISS Check-In:

    • You cannot complete the ISS Check-In online 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 more than 30 days before your program start date.

For questions regarding International Student Orientation (ISO), ISS Check-In, or other concerns related to your student visa, please contact ISS via email at iss@studentlife.wisc.edu or by phone at 608-262-2044. ISS office hours through the end of 2019 are listed here on our website.

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.

Once again, we suggest that you arrive at least 2-3 days before your first scheduled orientation.

What will I learn at ISO?

Compliance and Maintaining Status – Students will be able to . . .

    • Summarize basic federal regulations and institutional policies they must comply with in order to maintain their nonimmigrant student visa status.
    • Identify ISS’ location, contact information, and the immigration advising services and resources it provides.
    • List and describe the function of important immigration documents and agencies related to their visa status.
    • Recognize benefits and authorizations they are eligible for as student visa holders.

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

    • Define “scam” and discuss types of scams and techniques for avoiding them.
    • Identify strategies and resources for maintaining personal safety.
    • Recognize basic U.S. laws and how to navigate administrative processes such as obtaining a Driver’s License and Social Security Number.
    • List campus departments and offices external to ISS which provide services for international students, including health and well-being, disability support, and academic success.

Transitions and Engagement – Students will be able to . . .

    • Describe challenges they may encounter during their transition to UW-Madison and identify strategies and resources for adjusting to living and studying in the U.S.
    • Identify ISS programs which provide opportunities for engagement, co-curricular education, and transition support.
    • Recognize campus and community organizations external to ISS which offer opportunities for extracurricular engagement and networking.

What will I learn through the ISS Check-in?

Students who complete the ISS Check-in will be able to . . .

    • Recognize key requirements of maintaining their visa status as outlined in the International Student Agreement.
    • Differentiate entry documents, such as the U.S. visa and I-94, from standard immigration documents, such as a passport.
    • Demonstrate a basic understanding of how to navigate Terra Dotta to submit a request

Who must attend ISO?

All newly admitted F-1 and J-1 students must attend ISO. F-2 and J-2 dependents do not need to attend.

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?

No. Change of Education Level students are not required to complete ISO and the ISS Check-in. However, ISS encourages them to participate in ISO to review and reinforce their understanding of important rules and regulations for maintaining their 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. You must also complete the ISS Check-in after you have entered the U.S. if you have an initial attendance I-20/DS-2019.

Events

 

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