Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison! We are excited that you have chosen to study here, and we look forward to welcoming you to campus.

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 requires you to register with UW-Madison before starting your program of study in the United States. By completing the Immigration Check and attending ISO, you will fulfill this obligation.

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Step 1: Update your addresses in your Student Center in MyUW

  • Mailing address – Your local address in Madison
  • Home Address – Your foreign address
  • Emergency Contact
    • Access the local address and emergency contact registration tool in MyUW.
    • The easiest way to update 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. Your emergency contact can be someone here or abroad. If you have problems updating your emergency contact information, contact the DoIT Help Desk.

You need to update both of these systems separately.

Please complete this step before checking in with ISS.

Step 2: Complete the immigration check with ISS

Please bring these materials:

We will scan your documents and verify that you have completed step 1 above.

You can find the Immigration Check dates and locations for your starting semester below.

Step 3: Attend ISO

We suggest that you arrive in Madison at least 2-3 days before your orientation to ensure a smoother transition to your new environment.

See ISO dates below.

Orientation Dates

Undergraduate degree-seeking

You need to register for SOAR first. Your ISO is built into your SOAR schedule.


Your ISO is built into your SOAR schedule.

Graduate and Professional

Register and attend one of the sessions available.

  • Thursday, August 22, 2019, 3-5 p.m., Grainger Hall
  • Monday, August 26, 2019, 3-5 p.m., Grainger Hall
  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 9-11 a.m., Union South (this session precedes the New Graduate Student Welcome event)

Exchange and Visiting International Students (VISP)

Friday, August 30, 2019, 8 a.m. – 12:05 p.m., Grainger Hall

Please arrive 10 minutes early. Plan to stay for the entire program.


Immigration Check-in

Location: 2nd floor, Memorial Library

August 19 – August 29th
Monday through Friday
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Updated check-in dates:

Check-in is unavailable August 30th.

Extended check-in hours: Sunday, September 1st, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Immigration Check is closed on Saturday, August 31st, and Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

Students must attend an orientation session before their program of study begins. All sessions will be held in Memorial Library, Room 126.

June arrivals:

June 14, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

July arrivals:

July 12, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Early August arrivals:

International Student Summer Institute (ISSI) students:
August 1, 2019
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.


Immigration Check

ISS Office, 217 Red Gym
716 Langdon Street

Monday through Friday (no Saturdays or Sundays)
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

January 18, 2019
8:00 a.m.- 12:15 p.m.
Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue

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

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

Immigration Check

January 11-17 & January 22, 2019 (excluding weekends)
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

January 18, 2019
1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

2nd Floor, Red Gym
716 Langdon Street

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 30 days before your program start date. Check the program start date listed on your form I-20/DS-2019.

We suggest that you arrive at least 2-3 days before your scheduled orientation.

What can I expect from ISO?

At International Student Orientation (ISO), you will learn about:

  • How to maintain your F-1 or J-1 visa status
  • Resources on campus that are available to you
  • Where to go if you are sick (hint: it’s University Health Services)
  • Your Student Health Insurance Plan
  • Co-curricular events and activities especially designed with you in mind

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.


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