International Student Admissions
International students wanting to attend Iowa Western must apply to the College, send required documentation, receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20), and obtain a Student Visa. Details on completing the admissions process are listed below. Please note: you must complete the admissions process prior to the acceptance deadline for the term you wish to begin.
Per college policy, all transcripts, test scores, correspondence, or other materials submitted in conjunction with an Application for Admission become the permanent property of Iowa Western Community College and will not be returned, copies, or forwarded. Should a student need copies of their transcripts or documents for other purposes they will need to be obtained from the originating institution and/or organization. Please remember to keep copies for your records and Visa appointment.
1. Complete an Application for Admission
Getting started at Iowa Western is easy. Simply complete the FREE Application for Admission and start working on the next steps.
Apply Online! Enter your name exactly as it appears on your passport. When asked to choose the student type that best describes you, please select International Student, NOT New or Returning Student.
2. Send Transcripts
Any school document sent by a student is considered Unofficial. For admission purposes, we accept unofficial copies, however they still must be certified true copies authenticated by your school or Ministry of Education. Iowa Western requires Official transcripts (list of classes with grades), examination results, and completion certificates to be sent directly to Iowa Western from your high school and/or university. These must be received within your first semester of attendance. If not received within the first semester, you will not be allowed to register for any future semesters.
- Mailed Official documents must arrive directly from the school in a sealed envelope before the end of your first semester.
- For high school transcripts, a student may bring documents in a signed/stamped envelope from the school that has not been opened.
- Schools may also email (from a verified school official email address) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Documents issued directly by your country’s government (original documents) must be brought in-person to be looked over and verified.
Any transcript or document issued in a language other than English must be sent with an English translation. When a translation is necessary, Iowa Western requests a literal translation, signed by a certified translator.
If you have completed post-secondary coursework and would like to receive potential transfer credit*, please have your official documents evaluated by either a member of NACES (https://www.naces.org/members) or AICE (https://aice-eval.org/endorsed-members/). Evaluations must be addressed to Iowa Western and arrive from the evaluation service in a sealed, stamped envelope; or electronically if that is a service the evaluation company provides. Please note that these evaluations have a fee, and there is not a guarantee that courses will be transferred in.
*Unfortunately, we are unable to evaluate college transcripts/diplomas from countries outside of the US. Please note that we are not able to accept most credits from institutions outside of the US. However, if you get your degree evaluated by a professional third-party service, the department chair may be able to evaluate whether your degree is equivalent to the necessary requirement(s) for your program at IWCC.
3. Submit Proof of Financial Support
As part of the admissions process, students need to provide proof of financial support. To do so they must complete and return IWCC’s Financial Affidavit along with a bank letter that is dated within six months from the day of submission. Unfortunately, International Students are not eligible for FAFSA (Federal Student Aid).
Students and/or their sponsors should submit a bank letter that reflects an account(s) with currently available funds (i.e., checking and savings accounts). The letter should include the date, full name of the sponsor (or self), and confirm that the total amount in the account has sufficient funds to match or exceed our estimated costs (minus any scholarship awarded). All documents need to clearly state the currency type represented. Further instructions can be found within the Financial Affidavit.
Bank statements reflecting account numbers and transaction history shouldn’t be submitted. Also, Iowa Western no longer accepts proof of employment, portfolios, or investment accounts.
A literal English translation should accompany all documents.
Updated 2/23/22, effective immediately
4. Send Passport
Email, fax, or mail a copy of your valid, unexpired passport.
5. Proof of English Proficiency
The language of instruction at Iowa Western is English. All students are required to submit proof of English proficiency before beginning classes.
You may choose to meet this English requirement by submitting results from an approved standardized aptitude test. Iowa Western accepts TOEFL, IELTS, SEPT, EIKEN, Duolingo, and Pearson results. Test scores cannot be more than two years old at the start of the term for which you will be accepted. If you have completed your education within the United States, exam requirements may be waived unless your program requires minimum scores for acceptance. Alternatively, students may provide documentation proving that they originate from or have completed education in one of the recognized Waiver Countries. A complete list can be provided by the college.
6. Form I-20 Issuance
Once all admission steps have been satisfied and a student has been accepted to Iowa Western, a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) will be issued. By default, this document will be sent to you electronically to the preferred, personal email submitted with your Application for Admission. After you receive the electronically transmitted I-20, you should print a copy to present at any required interview and upon arrival at a U.S. Port of Entry.
Electronic Issuance (Default): Iowa Western is authorized to electronically sign all signature fields of the Form I-20; in addition, we may scan and email the Form I-20 to F and M students and their dependents. Approval of electronically signed and electronically transmitted Form I-20s is supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Social Security Administration. Official SEVP Policy Guidance.
Please note that IWCC will not release documents to unauthorized third parties. The Form I-20 may only be released directly to the F-1 student, or in the case of minors, their parent, or legal guardian. Exceptions may apply if U.S. courier services do not operate in your country or if you live in an area that makes deliveries difficult or unsecured. All exceptions will need to be submitted and approved by the Student & Exchange Visitor Program prior to the release of a Form I-20 and admission package.
7. Obtain a Visa
International students must complete all the above admissions steps before a Form I-20 will be issued. Once you receive your Form I-20 you will need to make an appointment to apply for a Student Visa with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Form I-20 is required before you can apply for an F-1 Visa. A Visa is required to enter the United States.
F-1 and M-1 Student Visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your program of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.
Applying for a Visa takes a lot of time and preparation. Refer to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you intend to apply, start early, and follow the steps below:
Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
After you have been accepted to a United States institution and been issued a Form I-20 you are expected to pay the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 Fee. The U.S. government requires that all prospective students applying for “F”, “M”, or “J” Visas pay this SEVIS Fee. The current fee is $350 and is non-refundable. Visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more.
Complete the Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160)
You must complete the online Visa application and print the confirmation page to bring to the interview. You will be expected to pay the non-refundable Visa application fee. Some United States Embassy and Consulate locations require this fee prior to the Visa interview, others will ask for it after issuance of your Student Visa. The fee depends on different factors such as the Visa type being issued and your nationality.
Gather Required Documentation
All applicants for a Student Visa must provide:
- A Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility
- Completed non-immigrant Visa application (DS-160)
- A passport valid for at least 6 months after your proposed date of entry
- Receipt of payment for SEVIS Fee
All applicants should be prepared to provide:
- Transcripts and diplomas from all institutions attended
- Scores from any standardized tests taken
- Financial evidence that shows you or your financial sponsor have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for no less than one academic year. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor owns a business, please bring business registration, licenses, and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements
- Proof of intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
Please refer to your U.S. Embassy or Consulate website and the Student Visa guide found at www.travel.state.gov for updated and detailed instructions.
Canadian Students do not need a Student Visa. Once students have completed all admission requirements and obtained a Form I-20 they will present this form to the Port of Authority (Customs and Border Patrol) agent upon first entrance to the United States. At that time, the Customs Agent will issue an Admission stamp and create an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. Canadian students must have a Form I-20 and an Admission stamp whenever they intend to cross the border.
If you are currently studying in the United States on an F-1 visa, you will need to have your SEVIS record transferred to Iowa Western. To do so, you will need to submit all the required documents as mentioned above, along with a copy of your valid passport, visa page, and Form I-20 documents from all previously attended institutions. Please also let us know your travel plans, so that we can best advise you on the timing of your transfer/entry into the U.S.
8. Make Travel Arrangements
Once you’ve obtained your Visa you can make travel arrangements. Before you book your flight contact email@example.com to get a list of important dates such as Residence Life move-in, orientation, and the first date of the class.
You should seek Omaha, Nebraska as your final destination. Omaha’s Eppley Airfield is only 15 minutes from Iowa Western. Note that you will need to make arrangements for transportation from the airport. You can contact one of Omaha’s taxi services by calling (402) 333-TAXI (8294).
Please be sure to bring any necessities with you on your travels. You will need to bring enough money to last your first week as you may not be able to open a bank account immediately. Also, your first payment towards tuition and housing costs will be due. It is best to bring travelers’ checks or a credit card rather than large amounts of cash.
Please note: Visa regulations prohibit students from arriving more than 30 days in advance of the Program Start Date listed on your Form I-20.