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COVID-19 Info for Incoming Exchange Students

Right now, there are many unknowns still about the fall semester at Iowa State University due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is some information about COVID-19 as it relates to classes and activities at Iowa State University. This information will most likely change for the fall semester. Changes will be made to this page when appropriate. Last Updated: 6/9/2021


If you want to stay up to date with COVID-19 in the state of Iowa as a whole, please see the COVID-19 in Iowa website.


Masks are not required on campus for those who are fully vaccinated, and highly recommended for those who are not vaccinated. Some business in Iowa require masks, but most do not.


Most classes will be offered in person for the 2021-2022 academic year. Incoming exchange students should expect to take at least 12 credits of in person or hybrid classes while at ISU in order to keep their visa status. (12 credits is 4 classes)

It is not possible to complete a fully online semester while ALSO staying in your home country. If a student is not able to come to Iowa for the semester, they will not be able to do the exchange semester.

Visas and Flights

Iowa State University has no relationships with consulates around the world, so we would not be able to intervene on a student's behalf to get visa appointments, faster processing times, etc. Students should consult with their home university's international office or their local USA consulate to see if they would be able to get a visa to come to America.

We understand flights right now may be limited. Students should still try to arrive by the reporting date listed on their DS-2019 If students are having difficulties being able to arrive by the reporting date or the start of classes for the fall, they should contact their exchange coordinator.

Additionally, Iowa State is unable to refund visa costs or flight costs for incoming exchange students if they are unable to attend in the fall.

COVID-19 Vaccination

There is no expectation at this time that students coming for the fall semester are required to have the COVID-19 vaccination before arriving.


There will be opportunities for incoming exchange students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination while at Iowa State, either prior to the start of the fall semester or close to when classes begin. The next steps guide sent to incoming exchange students will have more details. These vaccinations are free of charge, and are not required.


If you are no longer able to come or no longer want to come to Iowa State for the fall semester, there may still be a possibility you could come to Iowa State for the spring 2022 semester. You first need to talk to your home university to see if they would allow you to defer to a future semester and you also need to ask your exchange coordinator at ISU. Please email them both before emailing Iowa State Admissions about this option.


If you are no longer able to come or no longer want to come to ISU for the fall semester, and you also do not want to defer to a future semester, please contact your home university. Your home university should then contact your ISU exchange coordinator with this update. If you have already completed a housing contract, this will be canceled too, there is nothing you need to do and you will not need to pay anything for your cancelled contract.

Iowa State COVID-19 Response Page