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International Student Responsibilities

Helpful Websites 


On Campus: Housing is available on the Estherville, Emmetsburg and Spencer campuses. Housing contracts also include a meal plan. You must apply for housing online prior to the start of the  semester.

Apply online at:

Off Campus: Many Iowa Lakes students live off campus in private apartments, rooms, and rental homes. The conditions of the rental vary with the landlord. Costs per month vary depending on  the individual situation. Utility costs, deposits and contract requirements, distance from the college, and furnishings are some of the factors you need to keep in mind as you look for off campus housing. 

We wish you success in your academic pursuits!


Students with F1 status have certain rights and obligations under the regulations of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This brochure outlines the most important of these responsibilities.

Immigration Documents

Passport: Your passport must be valid at all times. If you lose your passport, contact your home country’s embassy or nearest consulate to have it replaced.

I-20:  All F and M students that study in the United States need a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”  Read and clearly understand the information on the I-20.
If you lose your I-20 or need to make any changes, request a new one from your Designated School Official (DSO).  The I-20 is valid until the date indicated under program end date in the third section of the front page. Keep your initial I-20, and any other copies you may be issued, in a safe place.

Form I-94:  The Arrival and Departure Record is the I-94, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. After April 30, 2013, most Arrival and /or Departure records will be created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport.  If provided a paper form, the admitting CBP Officer generally attaches the I-94 to the visitor's passport and stamps the departure date on the form.

In both circumstances, an electronic I-94 or paper I-94, the visitor must exit the U.S. on or before that date stamped on the form or in the passport.

If a visitor departs by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), their departure from the U.S. can be independently verified and it is not necessary to take any further action.

If a visitor departs by land and has a paper form I-94, the I-94 must be turned in to a CBP Officer at a land border when exiting the U.S. on or before the date stamped on the form.

Registration and Course Load

Registration and Attendance: You must enroll and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours, with only one online course (no more than 3 credit hours) counted towards your full course load requirement per semester.  If you fail to attend classes, Iowa Lakes is obligated, to report to ICE; which could result in the termination of your I-20 and thereby revoke your student status.

Withdrawals: You cannot withdraw from a class if it means that you will have fewer than 12 credit hours for the term. Doing so may result in the termination of your I-20.

Summer: The summer term is optional unless you enter the U.S. for the first time on an I-20 with a summer start date. These students must enroll in at least 12 credit hours.

Reduction in Course Load:  With approval, in advance, from the International Student Coordinator, you may register for less than 12 credit hours if:

  1. Final Term of Study - If all requirements for your degree will be completed at the end of the term, you only have to take the courses needed to finish.
  2. Special Circumstances - If you have an illness or other medical condition, a doctor can provide documentation that you need a reduced course load. You must resume full-time study when the condition is resolved.


On-Campus Only: You may work up to 20 hours per week on campus while school is in session in any student services or educationally affiliated job.

Holidays and Vacations

You may remain in the U.S., and maintain your F1 status, as long as you are in good SEVIS standing, intend to register for the next term, and you have not reached the completion date on your
I-20 before you resume your studies.


Within the U.S.: You may travel if you maintain your lawful status and have your valid passport, I-94, and I-20 in your possession.

Outside the U.S.: You may leave the U.S. at any time. You have the right to return, provided you have:

  1. Valid passport with valid F or M visa (if applicable)
  2. Signed Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”
    * The second page of your I-20 must be signed each year by a DSO at your college.
  3. Proof of financial support
  4. Designated School Official’s contact information
  5. Iowa Lakes Acceptance Letter
  6. SEVIS fee payment receipt

Return to a different school: You must obtain a new I-20 from the new school before you attempt to re-enter the U.S. Entering the country using the I-20 for a school you do not plan to attend can cause serious immigration problems.

Length of Stay in U.S.

You may study in your educational program until the program end date.  If you need additional time and meet certain requirements, you may apply for an “extension of study” 30 days before the I-20 expires.  An extension will not be granted when the reason for the extra time needed is due to having failed classes.

Completion of Degree Requirements

You have 60 days following the completion of your program to decide if you wish to transfer to another school for a higher degree, apply for a different degree, or depart the U.S. Your 60-day grace period begins at the end of your program, not at graduation. At the end of the 60 days your SEVIS records and legal status will be automatically terminated.

Address Change

You must inform Iowa Lakes and ICE within 10 days of moving. Students can download the immigration form (AR- 11) to report address changes from

Health Insurance

All Iowa Lakes international students are required to have health insurance that includes repatriation of remains. Iowa Lakes purchases this insurance for you and it is part of your processing and health insurance fee.

Failure to Comply with Responsibilities

If you fail to comply with your immigration responsibilities, you may lose your student status and not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F1 students.

We are pleased to offer information, counseling and assistance on all federal regulations related to maintaining your F1 status.

For more information, please contact a member of the team listed in the right hand side column.

It is the policy of Iowa Lakes Community College not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age employment, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, creed, religion and actual or potential parental, family or marital status in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code §§216.6 and 216.9, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d and 2000e), the Equal Pay Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 206, et seq.), Title IX (Educational Amendments, 20 U.S.C §§ 1681 – 1688), Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.).

If you have questions or complaints related to compliance with this policy, please contact Kathy Muller, EOE Officer, 19 South 7th Street, Estherville, IA 51334, 712-362-0433,, or the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Citigroup Center, 500 W. Madison, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661, phone number 312-730-1560, fax 312-730-1576.

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