International Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I apply after the deadline?

Applications received within two weeks of the start of classes will be processed for the next semester.


If you submit your application for the Fall term is submitted within two weeks of the fall term, your application is processed for the Spring term.

If you submit an application for the Spring Term within two weeks of the start of classes, your application will be processed for the next Fall Term.

Can I work while I'm in college?

Yes, you may work up to 20 hours per week in a student services job on campus while school is in session. You may work full-time for a student services job on campus during school breaks.

International students are not authorized to work off-campus. If you feel you must work off-campus, you must first contact the Iowa Lakes International Students Coordinator.

To find out about job openings, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-712-362-7920.

Can I get Financial Aid?

F1 international students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

International students are welcome to apply for scholarships through our online scholarship application. 

Apply for Scholarships

Can I take online classes?

Yes, you may take online classes over the summer because it is not a mandatory term, but you may only take one online class during the Fall and Spring semester. You must be enrolled as a full-time student. This means you have to take a minimum of 12 credits. Of those 12 credits, no more than 3 credits or one class can be online.

For more information contact:

Corey Meyer
International Student Liaison
cmeyer@iowalakes.educreate new email 

Can I transfer to Iowa Lakes if I am out of status?

No, Iowa Lakes does not accept students who have an out-of-status SEVIS record.

Can International Students get a Driver's License?

Yes, you may obtain an Iowa Driver’s license/ID provided you demonstrate the following:

  1. You must present acceptable proof of identity and residency to the Iowa Department of Transportation. The Iowa DOT will not issue a DL or ID if your immigration document shows your remaining status time is less than 30 days.
  2. Not be canceled, suspended, or revoked in any state.
  3. Provide proof of Social Security Number (SSN). If you are a temporary foreign national not authorized for employment, you do not have to document a SSN, but the Iowa DOT will verify your USCIS number. Make sure you are not authorized for employment. If you are eligible for employment but do not have a SSN, you are required to obtain and present one. 
  4. The Iowa DOT will electronically verify your name, date of birth, and SSN with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Make sure your document is up to date and accurate to avoid delay. If you need to correct or update information at the SSA, do so several days before applying for a DL or ID card. For information on how to do this, visit Your SSN will not be listed on your DL or ID. The Iowa DOT will assign you a unique DL or ID number.
  5. Pass a vision test.
  6. Pass all applicable written and practical driving test(s).
  7. Pay applicable fees

opens in a new windowVisit the Iowa Department of Transportation

Can International Students get a social security number (SSN)

Yes, you can get a social security number once you’ve provided the Social Security Administration with the following:

  1. Your current passport
  2. Your current I-20
  3. A letter from your designated school official that includes the following:
    a.  identifies you
    b.  confirms your current school status 
    c.  type of work you’ll be doing
    d.  employer
    e.  employment start date
    f.  hours you’ll be working

opens in a new windowVisit the Social Security Administrationopens PDF file

Do I need Health Insurance?

All students in F1 status are required to carry health insurance that includes repatriation of remains. Iowa Lakes purchases this insurance for you and adds the charge to your college bill.

Do I need a TOEFL score even if I’ve taken other tests such as the IELTS?

The TOEFL may be waived for students under the following conditions:

  • Students who have completed formal English studies and tested into college level English
  • Students who graduate from an English instruction high school equivalency program in the US
  • Students who graduated with an English instruction only high school in other countries if they score at the college English level in the SAT or ACT
  • Students from English speaking countries 
  • Students transferring in from an American college if they have taken English Comp 1 and received a grade of ‘C’ or better, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • It may be waived if the student has a master’s degree from an American university.
Does Iowa Lakes have student dorms or housing?

Yes, Iowa Lakes has student on-campus housing available on the Emmetsburg, Estherville, and Spencer campuses. For more information about housing options, visit the link below:

Living on Campus

How long can I stay in the United States?

You are allowed to stay in the U.S. for the “duration of status,” which means as long as you maintain a good SEVIS status. Your SEVIS status expires 60 days after your program end date, which is listed on your

If you qualify and get approved for OPT (Optional Practical Training), your program end date and thus your length of stay will be extended until 60 days after your OPT period is complete.

How will I pay for items not related to school?

Most local businesses will accept credit cards. Make sure to let your bank know that you will be living in Iowa to avoid fraud alerts that could result in them freezing your account.

You can always pay in cash with US Dollars.

Does Iowa Lakes have a Payment Plan?

Iowa Lakes has a payment plan that allows students to pay their tuition in installments. If you are interested in signing up for this plan, please see your campus cashier or sign up online through WebAdvisor in the “Self Service Manage Your Account.”

What documents do I need to travel within the U.S.?

To travel within the U.S., you will need your valid passport and I-20, student visa and a hard copy of I-94.

What documents will I need to travel in-and-out of the U.S.?
  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

opens in a new windowVisit Travel as an International Student

What if my Visa gets denied at the interview?

If your Visa gets denied, you can still be a student by taking classes online from your home country.

What if my VIsa Expires?

When your visa expires, you will need to obtain a new one when you leave the states if you wish to return. You do not need to get a new one while in the states. Your length of stay is for the duration of your status.

What is the weather like in Iowa?

Iowa has warm summer months and cold winter months. Plan to bring a range of clothing and remember to bring a warm winter coat, or plan to buy one.

U.S. Climate Data – Northwest Iowa
The chart below shows the general temperatures experienced in Iowa throughout the calendar year. The average annual precipitation is 30.74 inches, with the heaviest precipitation April-September and lighter precipitation October-March.

Will I Need a Bank Account?

No, you do not need a local bank account, but you can get one if you wish. 

If you get a job on campus, you will need a U.S. bank account for direct deposit payments. Iowa Lakes does not pay new employees via check. Some banks will require a social security number. 

What if I move or change my address? Do I need to inform anyone?

Yes, you need to let a DSO (Designated School Official) know your new address within ten days. They, in turn, will update your SEVIS record for you.


Corey Meyer
Admissions Enrollment Coach & International Student Liaison
cmeyer@iowalakes.educreate new email