International Student Services

The International Studies Office extends a warm welcome to all of our international students!

  • We want to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as international students.
  • We want to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as students at the University of Dubuque.
  • We are excited about the many opportunities for growth and fellowship that you will find here at the University of Dubuque.

Here, you can find valuable information and resources on the following topics:

|  Visa Regulations  |  International Student Employment  |  International Student Travel  |  
|  International Hospitality Program  |  Health Services  |  Get Involved!  |

In addition, you can view the Fall 2013 International Graduate Student Handbook! Change link to “current International Student Handbook”

Visa Regulations

F-1 Visa Regulations

Maintaining Status: 
Although the International Studies Office will make every effort to keep you informed of USCIS regulations, you are responsible for maintaining your legal F-1 status. The results of falling out of legal status, since the passage of recent new immigration laws, can affect your ability to enter the US in any status for many years. Please be careful in all matters concerning your legal status here as international students.

  • You must report to the International Student Advisor (International Studies Office, Heritage Center, Suite 306) as soon as possible (within 7 days) of your arrival in Dubuque.
  • You must have a valid (not expired) passport.
  • You must have a valid (not expired) I-20.
  • You must be enrolled full-time every semester (except summer). This means 12 hours per semester undergraduate and 9 hours per semester graduate.
  • You must follow correct procedures (contact the International Studies Office) if transferring, changing academic goals, or extending your program of study.
  • You are limited to 20 hours per week of on-campus employment (except for school holiday breaks). 
  • You may NOT work off-campus.
  • Keep all your immigration documents in a safe place. Keep ALL of your old I-20 NOT throw them away! You may need them in the future to prove that you have remained in status.

Please contact the International Studies Office with any questions or concerns you have about your immigration status.

F-1 Visa Applications:

A valid F-1 visa is only required to enter the U.S. Once you are within the U.S., and are maintaining legal status, your visa may expire without consequence to your immigration status. If you leave the U.S. with an expired visa, you will need to apply for a new visa before you return. For more visa information, see:

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International Student Employment

Employment for F-1 Students

A student in F-1 status at the University of Dubuque has limited opportunity for employment:

  1. On-Campus Employment: You may work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the fall and spring semesters and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during winter break and summer holidays if your I-20 is valid, you are in good academic standing, and you are enrolled full-time.

    To find what jobs are available, contact Student Employment, x3169, located on the third floor of the Myers Teaching and Administrative Center. (Before you can be paid by the University of Dubuque, you will need a Social Security card.)

    Social Security Card: To apply for a social security card, you must bring your I-20, passport with I-94, a letter from your employer stating that you are employed, and proof of employment (our local office accepts a signed timesheet) to the local Social Security Office, located at 1635 Associates Drive, Suite 101, Dubuque, IA 52002-2279. There is no charge for the card, and if your I-94 number is registered, you should receive the card in about two weeks.

    You can download the social security card application form from this website: 
  2. Optional Practical Training: After you finish your studies at the University of Dubuque, you may apply to the USCIS for up to 12 months of Optional Practical Training authorization to accept employment related to your field of study. For more information, please contact the International Studies Office.

  3. Other Employment Questions: Please contact the International Studies Office.

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International Student Travel

Travel Information for F-1 Students

Travel in the United States:   
You are free to travel within the United States while in F-1 status. However, you must be enrolled full-time during the fall and spring semesters in order to stay in status. You do not need to be enrolled for the summer session in order to stay in the U.S., provided there is less than five months between the end of your spring term and the beginning of the next fall term. 

Travel outside the United States:  If you plan to travel outside the U.S. during your school breaks, you should be sure to have the third second page of your I-20 endorsed for travel by the International Student Advisor at UD. If you find it necessary to leave the U.S. during the school term, be sure to request a letter of explanation from the International Studies Office before you go, explaining that you have University permission to leave school for the specified time. (USCIS officials may question your re-entry when your I-20 shows that your classes are already in session.) You can remain in the U.S. on an expired visa, but as soon as you leave the country you must renew it to gain re-entry.

If you plan to travel to neighboring countries, such as Canada or Mexico, remember that you may need additional visas from these countries.  

You will need to check with their embassies to find their regulations: 

If you plan to travel to U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, it is advised to bring all of your documents.

Travel Resources:  Everyone has their own ideas! But here are some resources to start with: Christmas International House arranges homestays over the Christmas holidays all over the US: 

International Student Identity Card offers you discounts on hotels, travel, theaters, museums, shopping, and restaurants all over the world, including the USA! You can purchase an ISIC card at

Use the Web! offers reduced airfare and travel packages to students.

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International Hospitality Program

Host Families are local residents (either families or individuals) who are paired with international students for the academic year. The hosts provide an informal introduction to life in the United States. Hosts and students can get together for many types of activities: meals, family outings, community events, or drives in the country, throughout the year. 

Students, in turn, can help their hosts learn more about other cultures. They might show pictures from home, prepare a meal, or invite their hosts to an international program on campus.

Conversation partners are usually fellow students who commit to meeting to help international students practice English by enjoying casual conversation. The International Studies Office and UDTS Student Chaplain's Office work together to provide a host family and/or conversation partner for each student who would like to have this relationship. Please contact the International Studies Office if you would like to take part in this program.

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Health Services

The University of Dubuque requires that all international students show proof of health insurance. As you may have heard, health care in America can be very expensive, and it is important for you to have adequate health insurance.

The University of Dubuque requires that international students purchase University-approved health insurance. The cost is approximately $86 per month and you will be billed for this when you arrive on campus. Our health insurance is provided through the Lewer Agency, The Lewer Agency specializes in international student insurance, and has been very helpful to our students in the past.

Please understand that health care in the U.S. may be different than health care in your home country. Health care in the U.S. is primarily private and can be very costly if you are uninsured or underinsured. Learning how to manage your health care in the U.S. will save you time and money.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • In the U.S., hospital emergency rooms are for emergencies only! Using the emergency room will always cost more.
  • If you are feeling ill and feel you need to see a doctor, follow these procedures to insure the lowest cost health care:
    • First, call Debra Runkle, University Medical Coordinator (phone 563-589-3244). As a UD student, you can be evaluated by medical personnel with no charge depending upon the illness or injury. (If you need medications, tests, or other procedures, your insurance will cover these as described in your policy.) For the best rates and care, always start with the University Medical Coordinator's office whenever possible.
  • If you need care after business hours, you can go to Finley Convenient Care (350 North Grandview, ER Entrance), but be sure to say that you are a UD student and show your Student ID and your insurance card. Hours are Monday through Friday 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and weekends and holidays 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • If you really cannot wait for one of these options, you can go to the emergency room at Finley Hospital, but expect to pay significantly more for this. In addition, your insurance will require a higher deductible than at the clinic.
  • Your insurance does not cover dental work or eyeglasses, unless you have some kind of accident that injures your teeth or eyes. You can purchase dental insurance or you can simply pay for your dental care on a per-visit basis. For more information contact the International Studies Office. 

Immunization Requirements: The University of Dubuque requires you to show proof that you have been immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Other immunizations are suggested, but this is the ONLY immunization that is required. It will be much less expensive AND more convenient for you to be sure you have this required immunization before you arrive in the United States. You are required to have two (2) doses of MMR immunization. 

All students must complete an Immunization Form and file it with the Medical Services Office (Stoltz Sports Center). You must include an official record, provided by your physician, clinic, or school to show that you have received the MMR vaccine. (You cannot just fill this in yourself! You must either have the form stamped and signed by your doctor, or you must attach a copy of your medical record.) If you do not have the MMR, it is strongly suggested that you get it before you come to the US....the immunizations will cost you about $150-$200 if you get them here, insurance does not cover them, and you will not be allowed to register for classes until you show this proof. If you do come to the US without the required immunizations, contact Debra Runkle, UD Medical Coordinator (563.589.3244) for help in scheduling the required immunizations immediately.

Although medical and immunization issues are handled through the Medical Services Office, the International Studies Office is always available to help you connect with this office or to help you connect with any medical or insurance information you need.

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Get involved!

Other International Events and Dates 

"Many Gifts, One Spirit" International Cultural Fair:
This annual fair celebrates the many cultures that make up our UD community. Its title comes from our University seal. The fair is held in the Fall each year. Anyone who wants to share information, artifacts, food, or performances celebrating their cultural heritage is encouraged to participate. There are some funds available to help support individual participation.

The International Friendship Club (IFC), a student organization, works with the International Studies Office to provide more international student programming throughout the year, including socials, holiday observances, and "field trips". Contact the International Studies Office or the UD calendar for up to date information!

For more information regarding IFC, please visit the IFC Facebook page!

The Asian Student Union (ASU) is another student organization that works with the Office of International Studies to promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse Asian population at the University of Dubuque.

The International Student Union (ISU) is a student organization that provides an innovative and fun way to share international cultures with the University of Dubuque campus through its students. ISU aims to provide additional services and help international students during their time at UD.

To learn more about ISU and becoming a member, please visit the ISU Facebook page!

Contact Information:

Phyllis Garfield
Director for International Studies
International Studies Office
Heritage Center, Suite 306 F
Phone: 563.589.3712
Fax: 563.589.3482

Alexander Saleh
International Studies Advisor
International Studies Office
Heritage Center, Suite 306 I

Jodi Troutman
Study Abroad Advisor
International Studies Office
Heritage Center, Suite 306 I