Iowa is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". Iowa was a part of the French colony of New France. After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. Iowa is occasionally known, by Iowans, as the "Food Capital of the World". In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, biotechnology, and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.

The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of fifty states and a federal district, as well as several territories. It is commonly called the United States (US, USA, U.S. or U.S.A.) and colloquially as America. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is situated in the northwest portion of the continent, with Canada to its east and Russia to its west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with around 315 million people, the United States is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area, and the third-largest by both land area and population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse and is home to a variety of species.



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.


Americans celebrate a variety of federal holidays and other national observances throughout the year. American holidays can be secular, religious, international, or uniquely American.

With the wide variety of federal holidays, and the many levels of American government, it can be confusing to determine what public and private facilities are open on or around a given federal holiday. You can usually find such information in the daily newspaper or by calling the office you wish to visit.

The following are American federal holidays and other common national observances. Federal holidays are indicated as such.

New Year's Day is January 1. The celebration of this federal holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. Many Americans make New Year's resolutions.

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African-American clergyman who is recognized for his tireless efforts to win civil rights for all people through nonviolent means.

Groundhog Day is February 2, and has been celebrated since 1887. On Groundhog Day, crowds gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow after emerging from his burrow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter weather.

Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. The day was named after an early Christian martyr, and on Valentine's Day, Americans give presents like candy or flowers to the ones they love. The first mass-produced valentine cards were sold in the 1840s.

Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday observed the third Monday of February to honor George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is commonly called Presidents' Day and many groups honor the legacy of past presidents on this date.

Easter falls on a spring Sunday that varies from year to year. Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy.

Earth Day is observed on April 22. First celebrated in 1970 in the United States, it inspired national legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Earth Day is designed to promote ecology, encourage respect for life on earth, and highlight concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water.

National Arbor Day was proclaimed as the last Friday in April by President Richard Nixon in 1970. A number of state Arbor Days are observed at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south to May in the far north. The observance began in 1872, when Nebraska settlers and homesteaders were urged to plant trees on the largely treeless plains.

Mother's Day celebrates mothers the second Sunday of May. President Woodrow Wilson, who issued a proclamation in 1914, asked Americans to give a public expression of reverence to mothers on this day. Carnations have come to represent Mother's Day, following President William McKinley's habit of always wearing a white carnation, his mother's favorite flower.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed the last Monday of May. It originally honored the people killed in the American Civil War, but has become a day on which the American dead of all wars, and the dead generally, are remembered in special programs held in cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places. The flying of the American flag is widespread.

Flag Day, celebrated June 14, has been a presidentially proclaimed observance since 1916. Although Flag Day is not a federal holiday, Americans are encouraged to display the flag outside their homes and businesses on this day to honor the history and heritage the American flag represents.

Father's Day celebrates fathers the third Sunday of June. Father's Day began in 1909 in Spokane, Washington, when a daughter requested a special day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who raised his children after his wife died. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.

Sturgis Falls CelebratioOn one of the last weekends in June, the Cedar Falls community celebrates with a weekend-long party featuring a parade, various kinds of music, craft sale, and numerous activities for all ages.

Independence Day is July 4. This federal holiday honors the nation's birthday - the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks. The flying of the American flag is widespread.

Labor Day is the first Monday of September. This federal holiday honors the nation's working people, typically with parades. For most Americans it marks the end of the summer vacation season and the start of the school year.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31. On Halloween, American children dress up in funny or scary costumes and go "trick or treating" by knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbors are expected to respond by giving them small gifts of candy or money.

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11. Originally called Armistice Day, this federal holiday was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I, but it now honors veterans of all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans' organizations hold parades, and the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation's first Thanksgiving.The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition and almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is December 7. In 1994, Congress designated this national observance to honor the more than 2,400 military service personnel who died on this date in 1941, during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by Japanese forces. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the United States to enter World War II.

Christmas Day is a federal holiday celebrated on December 25. Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans. 



Links to websites are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

Immigration Laws/Regulations

With any questions, please contact International Services Office.
SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
U.S. Department of State: Operates Embassies and Consulates around the world. State issues the visas.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Responsible for controlling movement of people into the United States. Also responsible for monitoring people while in the U.S. and for enforcing federal law. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) and The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) are all subdivisions of the DHS. These three bureaus were formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The title “Immigration and Naturalization Service” still appears on many official documents and forms.
Form I-94: Arrival & Departure Record.
Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for academic and Language Students. A Dept. of Homeland Security form.
Form DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor status (J-1). A Dept. of State form.
Visa: Issued by the Department of State, tells the Immigration & Naturalization Service that you have been approved by the State Department to seek entry to the U.S.

Your Responsibilities
  • Notify the Registrar's office of any change in your address as soon as it has occurred. You may do this in person by visiting the Registrar's office in 227 Gilchrist Hall, or by using the electronic form available at MyUniverse.
  • Notify International Services after each address change too.
  • Remain a full-time student, or discuss any underenrollment BEFORE the semester begins.
    • 12 or more credit hours are full-time for undergraduate students
    • 9 or more credit hours are full-time for graduate students
    • CIEP Students should contact Phil Plourde or the CIEP office staff if they have questions about full-time CIEP enrollment or enrollment in part-CIEP and part-credit bearing courses.Remain a full-time student, or discuss any underenrollment BEFORE the semester begins.
  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future. If it will expire soon, International Services will help you find out how to renew your passport with the assistance of your country's embassy or designated consular office in the U.S.
  • Check your e-mail account regularly.
  • Never work off-campus without first talking to the International Student Advisor.
  • Remember that you have the right to be employed on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during academic semesters and full-time between semesters and over the summer vacation.
  • You must speak with the International Student Advisor if you are taking a course that requires an off-campus internship, or if an internship or similar work project is a required part of your degree program. Do this before the semester when this internship is scheduled to take place.

Useful links:

Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services main directory of forms, including current application fees
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. DHS Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
U.S. DHS Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
ICE SEVIS Information Page
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State Director of Embassies and Consulates around the world
U.S. Social Security Administration
Directory of Foreign Embassies/Consulated in the U.S.

Life in the U.S.

This information is meant to provide some, but not all generalities about people in the U.S.

Many people in the U.S. have a number of friends with whom they share something in common. A U.S. student might consider you a friend, but he or she might only invite you to do something once or twice a semester. This is not because he or she doesn’t like you. It simply means that life in the U.S. is very busy and U.S. students tend to have many commitments (work, community activities, and family) in addition to their studies.

Americans generally prefer to avoid elaborate social rituals. If the meeting involves more than just socializing, it may be somewhat formal (like a job interview), but Americans generally like to treat everyone similarly with little concern for title or status. That is why people with “important” positions may invite you to call them by their first name. Americans prefer an atmosphere, in which all are considered equal.

Greetings – How are you?
This is a common greeting in the U.S., but very often the person who asks the question “how are you?” does not wait for a response. Some international students think this is very rude, but it is not intended to be. It is not customary for the person asking this question to wait for a long answer. It is customary to reply, “fine” or “okay.” You might also reciprocate the question. He or she will most likely answer with the same brief response.

People in the U.S. have “sensitive” noses that do not like the smell of the human body. There are entire stores devoted to selling sweet-smelling soaps, deodorants, and lotions. Most people shower at least once a day, and tend to change/wash clothes a lot. You may notice that most students will not wear the same shirt for more than one day at a time – even if it is still clean!

Time and Appointments
The American lifestyle can be very rushed because Americans value their time and try to use it efficiently. They often schedule their days in advance and plan appointments when they need to take some “time” from another person. Since time is valuable, Americans are normally very punctual for appointments. To avoid misusing the valuable time of another person, Americans demonstrate respect for the other individuals by calling to inform them if they will be late or must cancel an appointment. There is a well-known statement that time is money, which is often associated with Americans’ perception of the value of the time.

Although Americans are informal, they generally are conscious of time. Appointments are expected to begin promptly. Guests invited to a home for dinner should arrive on time because the meal is often served first. Hospitality takes many forms: a formal dinner served on fine dishes, an outdoor barbecue with paper plates, or a leisurely visit with no refreshments. Hosts generally want guests to feel at ease, sit where they like, and enjoy themselves. It is not unusual for either guests or hosts to agree on a reasonable limit of time for the visit if schedules are pressing. Guests are not expected to bring gifts, but a small token such as wine or flowers might be appreciated. Hosts inviting close friends to dinner may ask them to bring a food item to be served with the meal. Americans enjoy socializing; they gather in small and large groups for nearly any occasion, and they enjoy talking, watching television or a movie, eating, and relaxing together. (Taken from

Americans typically keep at least 1 ½ to 2 feet of distance between themselves and others when they are talking. They may stand closer when speaking to family members or intimate friends. Personal space is important, as is minimizing physical contact with others. As friendly gestures, though, they may pat others on the upper back or shoulder, or they might briefly touch another person’s arm. Only close friends may hug or embrace.

Eating styles and habits vary among people of different backgrounds, but Americans generally eat with a fork in the hand with which they write. They use a knife for cutting and spreading, setting it down as they begin to eat. When a knife is used for cutting, the fork is switched to the other hand. People eat foods such as french fries, fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza, and tacos with the hands. They generally place napkins in the lap. Resting elbows on the table is often considered impolite. After-dinner refreshments such as dessert or coffee are frequently served away from the dining table. Guests are expected to stay a while after the meal to visit with the hosts. In restaurants, the bill usually does not include a service charge; leaving a tip of 15 percent is customary. (Taken from


There are a number of circumstances when tipping/gratuity/voluntary extra payment is expected.  Many service personnel depend on tips for the majority of their income.  For example:
Waitresses or waiters in restaurants (15% of the bill)
Hairdressers or barbers (10-15% of the bill)
Taxi drivers (15% of the fair)
Bellhops in hotels ($1 per piece of luggage min)
Porters in airports ($1 per piece of luggage min)  
Never tip public officials, including police officers. 

Arabic Culture Video on Tipping

Measurement Conversion

Metric system is not the widespread system in the U.S.

To change Centigrade to Farenheit, multiply C by 9/5 and add 32.  To change Farenheit to Centigrade, subtract 32 and multiply by 5/9.
0C = -18F 
10C = -12F
20C = -7F
30C = -1F
40C = 4F
50C = 10F
60C = 16F
70C = 21F
80C = 27F
90C = 32F
100C = 38F

To change kilometer to miles, multiply by .62 
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 foot = 30 centimeters
1 yard = .09 meters
1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

1 square inch = 6.5 square centimeters
1 square foot = .09 square meters
1 square yard = .8 square meters
1 square mile = 2.6 square kilometers
1 acre = .4 hectares

1 ounce =  28 grams
1 pound = .45 kilograms
1 short ton = .9 tons

1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
1 tablespoon = 1.5 mmilliliters
1 fluid ounce = 30 milliliters
1 cup = .24 milliliters
1 pint = .47 liters
1 quart = .95 liters
1 gallon = 3.8 liters
1 cubic feet = .03 cubic meters
1 cubic yard = .76 cubic meters

Money/Money Mangement

Ways to Save Money in College

Managing the Money You Have
Get a free checking and savings account.
Take the free checks that the bank offers in the maximum amount they allow.
Failure to keep track of your bank/checking account can easily cost you money via overdraft fees.
If you have to have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible; no annual fees and with only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency.
Pay credit card bills on time.

Don't drink, or drink less, especially when socializing in bars and restaurants.
Don't smoke.  Cigarettes are very expensive and are a serious public hazard.  Smoking is not allowed on UNI campus.

Before purchasing a textbook, consider borrowing it from someone else on campus or from the campus library.
If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks.

If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, be sure to utilize it.
Have a coffee fix? Make your own.
Don’t tip just because someone poured you a cup of coffee.
Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out.
Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store.
Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free.

Computers - Hardware and Software
If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials.
While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment.
Software is another high-dollar item. Also shop online software clearinghouses for discounted products from all vendors.
Decline extended warranties.

Entertainment- Music, Movies, Arts and Culture
Forget about the T.V. You can watch cable television through your computer.
Trying to save money on going out to the movies? Hit the matinee showings. Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental.
Rent DVDs as a group.
Buy used CDs at the local music shop. Turn in your old CDs for credit and you may never have to exchange real money!
Avoid spending money this weekend. Be creative in what you choose to do, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pickup game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book.
Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.

Off-Campus Apartment Living
Get a studio apartment or split rent with roommates.
Rent a place that will have all appliances provided.
Pay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees.
Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible
Turn off lights; use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers.
If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic.

If you have to shop, make sure you patronize places that offer student discounts.
Shop for stuff you really need during the tax-free week - available in many regions of the country.
Shop early or late for Christmas and the holidays.
Create Christmas and holiday gifts with your own two hands.
Get a few friends together to pitch in for the price of an annual membership at a place like Sam’s Club or Costco.
Buy in bulk.
Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping.
Learn how to shop for clothes at the consignment shop.

Try to get an apartment which is close to campus.
Don’t take the car to campus.
Walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard your way around town.
Public transportation is cheap, too.

Save money by doing the least amount of traveling necessary. Road trips are great fun, but you will put out money for gas, accommodations, food, drink and entertainment. When it’s all said and done, your long weekend will smack your wallet.
Name your own price for a flight or accommodations, if you must travel, by using services such as Priceline. Factors such as current events and gas prices may cause travel prices to fluctuate.
Check prices for Amtrak or Greyhound versus air travel. Both companies offer student discounts.
A student travel discount card will get you nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation if you are traveling nationally or internationally: STA Travel and International Student Identity Card, ISIC

The Cost of Keeping in Touch
Refer to cell phone comparison sites that offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company.
Save time and save money on your next cell phone plan: avoid text messaging.
Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. This will only work if you use your cell phone on a minimal basis.
Communicate via email, instant messengers, create a blog, share photos on Flickr, or invite friends to visit your MySpace site.
Use an inexpensive or free internet phone calling service: Skype; Vonage; Google Talk; Trillian & Gaim; Facebook; international calling cards

Shop for your personal items at a discount retailer. Money strategists suggest buying the “store brand” as a cost-saving alternative, as well.
Doing laundry costs money: bring your own detergent versus buying the single use from the machines; buy discounted detergent or on sale only; bring your own drink and/or snack versus buying from the vending machine while in the laundry mat; fill the machines to capacity.

Enroll in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning. Exercise will keep you healthier and happier and will fill up time you might otherwise have spent spending money.
Feeling down and getting the urge to splurge? Instead go for a run, a bike ride, or a brisk walk. You’ll get some exercise-induced serotonin coursing through your brain and the feeling will cost you nothing.

Personal Hygiene

Below please find some tips for American appropriate and proper hygiene practices:

Most Americans wash with soap at least once a day to control body odors and brush your teeth with toothpaste at least in the morning and evening. Use underarm deodorant/antiperspirant to control perspiration odors, and wash hair as often as necessary to keep it from becoming oily.

Most Americans use perfume, cologne, mouthwash, and other scented products to give yourself an odor that others will presumably find  pleasant. However, do not use too many scented products.

Most American women shave their underams and legs.  Women also wear varying amounts of makeup on their faces. The amount of makeup considered acceptable is based solely on personal tastes and preferences.  

Clothing should not emit body odors. Most Americans wash clothing that has taken on the smell of the wearer's perspiration before it is worn again. 

Generally, you should be clean. Makeup, perfume, and cologne are not necessary for social acceptance, but cleanliness is definitely expected.

Social Security/Employment

International Students at UNI will have the opportunity to apply for a Social Security Number after being hired for an on-campus job, or if they have been awarded a graduate assistantship. Social Security Numbers are issued for employment purposes only. The Social Security Administration requires proof of employment at UNI before they will accept an application for a Social Security Number.

How to Get Social Security Number and Social Security Card
To get an original number and card, you'll first need to be hired for an on-campus job or be awarded a graduate assistantship. The next step is for you to meet with Ms. Jan Rogers in the payroll office. You may schedule an appointment to meet with her by calling 273-6212. She will complete some paperwork that will be sent to the Student Employment Office here at UNI, then to International Services. When it has been signed by Ross Schupbach, the International Student Advisor, you will be contacted by telephone or e-mail. You will then be able to make arrangements for International Services to transport you to the Social Security Administration office in Waterloo, or you would be free to go there on your own to apply. You will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5), and show your I-20 or DS-2019 form, your passport, visa and I-94 card. You must submit your application in person at the Social Security Administration Office located at 3121 Greyhound Drive in Waterloo.
To get an application:
Use on the Internet
Pick one up at International Services
Call 1-800-772-1213
Or, visit a local office
There is no charge to get a Social Security card. This service is FREE.

How to Replace Your Social Security Card
To get a duplicate card because yours was lost or stolen, or a corrected card because you have changed your name, call or visit your local Social Security office to use this FREE service. You'll need to:
Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).
Show evidence of your identity. If you need a corrected card, we need to see one or more documents which identify you by the old name on our records and your new name. The document showing your current identity must be of recent issuance so that we can determine your continued existence.
Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were born outside the U.S.
Your duplicate card will have the same name and number as your previous card. Your corrected card will have your new name and the same number as your previous card.

Proving Your Identity
Some documents that are acceptable to prove your identity are:
Driver’s license
Employer ID card
School ID card
Marriage or divorce record

Protect Your Social Security Number and Records
Your Social Security number is used to keep a record of your earnings. Here are some things you can do to protect your earnings record and to make sure it is accurate:
Keep your number and card in a safe place to prevent theft
Show your card to your employer voluntarily when you start a job, so your records are correct. Don't rely on your memory
Check your name and Social Security number on your pay stub and W-2 form to make sure they are correct
Notify us every time you change your name

Providing Your Number to Others
If a business or other enterprise asks you for your Social Security number, you can refuse to give it to them. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested. For example, utility companies and other services ask for your Social Security number, but do not need it; they can do a credit check or identify their customers by alternative means.
Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:
Why your number is needed
How your number will be used
What happens if you refuse
What law requires you to give your number

The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours. Our primary message is this - be careful with your Social Security number and your card to prevent their misuse. If you think someone is misusing your number, ask us for the leaflet, When Someone Misuses Your Number (Publication No. 05-10064).

What to Do Once You Receive Your Social Security Card
Take your card to the Registrar’s office so that they can update your main UNI student record.
If you are employed on campus, you must also take your card to Jan Rogers in the UNI payroll office as well as your job supervisor. 
If you are a graduate student, you must also notify the UNI Human Resources Office.


Most international students are eligible to work part-time on campus when jobs are available. There are many job opportunities on the UNI campus for students with student (F) visas or exchange visitor (J) visas to work. The pay is usually in the range of $7.50 - $9.50 per hour. F and J visa holders are not authorized to work off campus as a means of support except under extraordinary circumstances. An online job board can be viewed

With questions about working off-campus or Optional Practical Training, please contact International Services Office


Nearly everyone in the U.S. must pay federal income tax. In addition, State of Iowa collects income taxes. An income tax return is a report that you must make to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the U.S. Government for any calendar year when you earn income in the United States. Fortunately, you do not need to do these alone. Free help is available! Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps international students prepare income tax returns. VITA was established by the Internal Revenue Service to help low income people who may find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. The program also provides accounting students an experiential learning opportunity as they work with taxpayers. For more information, please go to during the tax season January 1 - April 15. 

If you earned income in the U.S., you will need to file an income tax return with the U.S. government, specifically with the IRS. Income taxes can be confusing and complicated, so you are encouraged to seek free assistance from the VITA volunteers. Be sure to bring your W-2 form from UNI and any other tax forms you have received. You will also need your I-20 or DS-2019 form, your passport and I-94 card.
If you did not have a job, you should still file IRS form 8843, available here: You will only need to complete Part I and Part III before signing at the bottom of the form and sending it to the IRS at the address indicated in the instructions.
April 15 is the deadline for filing all tax returns!


Selected Websites 

Travel Agencies

Gulliver's Travel Store Inc 233-3502 1026 Alabar Ave Waterloo
Humble Travel Services 277-2202 125 Main St 
Short’s Leisure Travel Service 234-5577 1203 Ridgeway Ave Waterloo 

Travel by Air 

Eastern Iowa Airport (Airport Shuttle info
Waterloo Regional Airport

Airport Travel Tips and Airport Parking Guide

Getting to Nearby Airports

Airport Shuttle Service 
Homeport Shuttle

Travel by Bus

Greyhound  800-231-2222
Megabus 877-462-6342
Metropolitan Transit Authority (local travel) 234-7513 1515 Blackhawk St Waterloo
Trailways Bus Lines  234-2833 416 Sycamore St Waterloo
Transportation (Ryder) 277-0196 514 Savannah Park Rd Waterloo



Links to websites and telephone numbers are provided for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement by the International Students and Scholars Office.

U.S. Government/U.S. Laws

U.S. Government
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of the fifty states that is the United States of America.  The federal government includes three distinct branches of government: legislative, executive, and judiciary.  These branches have various powers defined by the U.S. Constitution.

Executive Branch 
The executive branch of the government is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. The president, vice president, department heads (cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies carry out this mission.
Judicial Branch
Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws and how they are applied. They also decide if laws violate the Constitution—this is known as judicial review, and it is how federal courts provide checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches.
Legislative Branch
Article I of the Constitution establishes the legislative or law making branch of government. It has a two-branch Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives—and agencies that support Congress.

U.S. Laws
The U.S. laws consist of many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of the federal government of the U.S. It sets out the boundaries of the federal law, which includes constitutional acts of Congress, constitutional treaties ratified by Congress, constitutional regularions promulgated by the executive branch, and case law originating from federal judidiary.

Legal age to drive in Iowa 17
Legal age to smoke sigarettes in Iowa 18 
Legal age to consume alcohol in Iowa 21 

U.S. History
The history of the U.S. traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in 1776; however, it traces back to prehistoric times and Native Americans.  UNI offers many classes on the U.S. History: United States History to 1877, United States History Since 1877, U.S. History from 1929 to 1960, Recent United States History, History of Iowa, among others.