F-1/J-1 Students Frequently Asked Questions

New/Prospective Students

How do I become a student at the University of Michigan?

You must apply and be admitted to an official program of study at U-M. To learn more about U-M programs and colleges please visit the links below.

Can I apply for financial aid? Can I apply for University of Michigan scholarships?

International students may not apply for US federal or state financial aid, but are eligible for other financial aid and scholarships. U-M Office of Financial Aid is the best resource for information on scholarships and financial aid. Because financial aid opportunities are limited for international students, we encourage you to apply for scholarship/grants from private organizations and your home country.

Do I need to have a health check/immunizations before getting a visa or coming to the U.S.?

No, health checks and immunizations are not required by the U.S. or by U-M.  Students in Michigan Housing are required to submit documentation showing whether they are vaccinated for COVID-19 and other routine immunizations under the university's vaccination policy.

 University Health Service (UHS) has information about immunizations that are recommended to protect your health. 

How do I find housing?

The University Housing Office is an excellent resource for information about off-campus (privately owned) and on-campus (University owned) housing. Refer to Life in Ann Arbor, Housing for more information about these and other housing options.

Do I need a physical exam to attend the University of Michigan?

No. The US government and U-M do not require any physical exam prior to arriving on campus.


Do I have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee?

If you are issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a new SEVIS number, you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. You do not have to pay the fee for change of level, transfer, extension, or other updates to your program of study. F-2 and J-2 status holders do not have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.

For complete details and to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee visit the Student Exchange and Visitor Program website.

After paying, print a copy of your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt and keep it with your I-20.

My visa was delayed. What can I do?

Delays are usually caused by additional security and background clearances due to your citizenship, ties to specific countries, or field of study. These additional clearance checks may take several weeks to several months to process. There is no way to circumvent or expedite this process. If a security check is going to delay your arrival to the University of Michigan, please notify your academic department directly. Department policies for late arrival vary. Additional assistance may be requested through the M-Passport portal > Requests > Visa Assistance.

For visa application information and recommendations please visit the US Immigration and Visas portion of our website and the US Department of State website.

How do I “check-in” when I arrive to the University of Michigan?

New F-1 and J-1 students are required to complete an online check-in. Change of level students are also required to complete a check-in for their new level. Since the check-in is online, you do not have to visit the International Center in person to check in. Mandatory Immigration Check-in for Students explains how to complete your check-in.


I’m traveling, what do I need to re-enter the United States?

For complete details please refer to the Travel Advisory and Automatic Visa Revalidation portions of our website. F-1 students on OPT, please refer to the Travel While on OPT portion of our website.

What happens if I try to enter the United States without a valid travel signature?

If you arrive at a US port of entry without all the required documents, the customs officer may deny you entry into US. As an alternative, the officer may issue you an I-515A. This document allows you temporary admission into the US. To maintain your nonimmigrant student status, you must submit the required documentation listed on your I-515A to SEVP within 30 days. We recommend that you keep a copy of each document before mailing the original to SEVP.

For complete details please refer to the Department of Homeland Security website.

My F or J student visa expired. Do I need to renew my visa?

Your F or J visa (the sticker in your passport) is an entry document; you do not need a valid F or J visa to remain in the US.  If you plan to travel outside of the US with an expired visa, you need to apply for a new visa while outside of the US unless your travels qualify for automatic visa revalidation.

For complete details about obtaining a visa, please refer to the Travel Advisory portion of our website.

Can I get official verification of my immigration status at University of Michigan?

Yes. You may request an Immigration Status Verification Letter from the International Center that verifies your F-1 or J-1 status. Please request this letter through the M-Passport portal > Requests > Standard Letter.

Family/Life in Ann Arbor

Can my spouse/children join me in the US?

F-1 Students

Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may join you in the US as F-2 dependents. Please complete an Add F-2 Dependent Request to obtain an F-2 I-20 via the M-Passport portal > Requests > Add F-2 Dependent. Your dependent needs an I-20 to apply for an F-2 visa or change status while in the US.

J-1 Students

Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may join you in the US as J-2 dependents. Please complete an Add J-2 Dependent Request to obtain a J-2 DS-2019 via the M-Passport portal > Requests > Add J-2 Dependent. Your dependent needs a DS-2019 to apply for a J-2 visa or change status while in the US.

Can my family members visit?

Yes. Most visitors need a B-2 tourist visa to enter the US. Visitors from certain countries may be eligible to visit the US for up to 90 days without a B-2 visa through the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program. For complete details please refer to the Invite Family Visitors to the US portion of our website.

Can I get a driver's license?

Yes. Michigan Driver's Licenses are issued by the Secretary of State. Please refer to Michigan Driver's License or State Identification Card for detailed information about obtaining a driver’s license.


I'm interested in finding a job. Can I work?

Government regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to be in the US for the primary purpose of attending school. On-campus employment is allowed up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during official university vacations and holidays. J-1 students must receive pre-approval for on-campus employment.

Off-campus employment is allowed only under specific circumstances with pre-approval. For more information, refer to Employment Options for F-1 Students or Employment Options for J-1 Students.

Can I get a Social Security Number?

F-1 students are only eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) when employed on campus or approved for off campus work.  J-1 students are eligible for an SSN based on their J-1 status.

To apply please refer to the Applying for a Social Security Number and Card portion of our website.

Do I need a Social Security number before I begin working?

Once you are employed in the US, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). If you SSN is pending, you may begin work and get paid. For more information refer to "When a Social Security Number is Required".

Do I Need to File Taxes?

Yes, if you were present in the US during a calendar year, you are required to file tax paperwork in the following year. For example: if you were in the US in 2015, you must file tax paperwork in 2016 even if you did not work.

The US Internal Revenue Service is in charge of taxes. Please refer to their website for official forms and information.

GLACIER Tax Prep software is available free of charge to any international student or scholar with a UM/Ann Arbor uniqname and password.

For complete details, please refer to the tax portion of our website and the U-M Payroll Office.


GLACIER Tax Prep says I need a “No Employment Letter” from University of Michigan. How do I get this letter?

The U-M Payroll Office can provide this letter.  To request the letter, email [email protected]

I am using GLACIER Tax Prep but have questions.

Click on the Help link at the top of any Glacier Tax Prep screen. You will then be able to send a question to the Glacier Tax Prep Support Center. The Support Center will send a response to the email address in your Glacier Tax Prep record.

Where should I mail my tax form(s)?

GLACIER Tax Prep will automatically produce a PDF instruction sheet for you. These instructions explain how to assemble and prepare your tax forms and where to mail them.

I graduated last year and am on F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training. Can I still have access to GLACIER Tax Prep?

Yes, as a U-M/Ann Arbor F-1 OPT student or J-1 student on Academic Training you are still eligible to use GLACIER Tax Prep.

Enrollment/Student Status

Do I have to be enrolled full time?

F-1 and J-1 students must maintain full time enrollment during Fall and Winter terms. The Spring/Summer term is optional unless it is your first term of study. Full time enrollment is:

  • 12 credits  for undergraduate students
  • 8 credits for graduate students
  • 6 credits for student with GSI/GSRA appointments

To enroll less than full time, you must receive authorization from the International Center for reduced course load, concurrent enrollment or PhD full time equivalency.  Please note that visit and audit courses do not count towards full-time enrollment.

Can I get official verification of my enrollment status at University of Michigan?

Yes. You may request an official enrollment certificate from the U-M Office of the Registrar. Your academic department may be willing to verify your program progress or academic standing as well.

I have not finished my degree, but my I-20/DS-2019 will expire at the end of this semester. How can I extend it?

F-1 Students

If you need more time to complete your academic program, you must submit an I-20 Extension Request prior to the expiration date on your current I-20. Submit the completed request and all required documents at least 30 days before your program end date via the M-Passport portal > Requests > Extension of I-20.


J-1 Students

If you need more time to complete your academic program, you must submit an DS-2019 Extension Request prior to the expiration date on your current DS-2019. Submit the completed request and all required documents at least 30 days before your program end date via the M-Passport portal > Requests > Extension of DS-2019.

Other Questions

I moved. How do I report my new address?

Report your address in Wolverine Access following the Address Notification Guidelines. F-1 and J-1 status holders must report any change of the current address and permanent addresses within 10 days of the change. The “current” address must be your US residential address. The “permanent” address must be your home country residential address.

I will go to a different academic institution in the United States. What is the procedure to move/transfer to a new school?

To request a transfer, F-1 students should log in to the M-Passport portal, click on Requests > Transfer Out, and follow the instructions from there. J-1 students should submit our J-1 Transfer-Out Form & Checklist and follow the instructions on the form. On your transfer release date, your SEVIS database record will be moved from University of Michigan sponsorship to your new institution. After that, your new school will be able to prepare an updated, “transfer” I-20 or DS-2019 reflecting your new sponsorship. Once your SEVIS record has been transferred, you will no longer be affiliated with our institution from immigration perspective, so you should no longer work or study here.

How do I update my name or citizenship in university records?

To officially correct or update your personal information in university records and on your I-20, submit a copy of your passport to the Office of the Registrar. They will update university systems and notify the International Center (IC). If needed, the IC will print a new I-20 and notify you via email when your new I-20 is ready for pick up.

The Registrar Offices are located:

2200 SAB 515 E. Jefferson St. (Central Campus)

2202 LL North Pierpont Commons (North Campus)


Write a letter asking that your personal information be updated. The letter must include:

  • Full name
  • Current status
  • UMID number
  • Specific details regarding your old information and the new, correct information
  • Signature

Submit the letter and copy of your passport to the Office of the Registrar

University of Michigan Office of the Registrar
Student Services 2200 SAB
515 E. Jefferson St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2090 USA


[email protected]

Please attach your passport copy in PDF format. Do not embed the copy in the email message.

I am no longer in F or J status. How do I update my information in university records?

To update your immigration status in University of Michigan records, submit a Personal Data Change Form along with supporting documentation. You can submit these securely through Wolverine Access.

You may also submit the form and documents in person, via mail, or via fax to Wolverine Services.

How do I update/change my F-2 dependent’s personal information (name, country of citizenship) in the university records and on their I-20?

If it is your F-2 dependent’s name/country of citizenship that needs to be updated, please send an e-mail to the IC ([email protected]) requesting the update. Please attach a copy of the dependent’s passport. An IC advisor will work on your request for a new F-2 I-20. You will receive an e-mail when the new I-20 is ready. Please allow 5-10 business days for processing.

Where can I find information about the “green card lottery”?

The U.S. Department of State Diversity Immigrant Program (green card lottery) enables randomly chosen people to obtain permanent residence in the United States. For Diversity Visa information updates, please check the U.S. Department of State's Diversity Visa Program page.

I have some more questions. How can I meet with an advisor?

The U-M International Center offers immigration advising services to F-1 and J-1 students and dependents. Our immigration advisors can respond to all issues relating to F and J immigration regulations and relevant immigration documents and respond to issues related to adjusting to the U-M environment and U.S. culture. We recommend email, virtual meetings, or calls to avoid as much in-person contact as possible while the pandemic persists. Unlike the past, we will not hold in-person Walk In hours for Quick Question Advising (QQA). However, there may be occasions when coming to the IC in person is merited or times when our advisors determine that an office visit is the most effective way to address a matter.

My documents got lost/stolen. What should I do?

If you lost your documents on campus, we recommend contacting any "lost and found" desk or office in the building or department where you think you lost your passport.

If the building’s lost and found does not have your documents, contact campus police (Department of Public Safety) and the Ann Arbor Police Department. Both agencies have "lost and found" departments. Here are their phone numbers:

U-M DPS: 734.763.3434
Ann Arbor Police: 734.994.2874

Sometimes, passports found on-campus are delivered to the International Center. We always contact the student/scholar as soon as possible whenever this occurs.

If possible, we recommend waiting at least one week before contacting your country's embassy or consulate about replacing your lost passport because it often takes a while for lost documents to be returned to you.

If you know that your documents were stolen, make sure to report it to the police and get a copy of the official police report.

If your documents are never found, there are different procedures that you must follow to replace each one of the documents you lost:

  1. To replace your passport, you will need to contact your home country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. and follow their instructions on what you need to do to obtain a new passport. Contact information can be found at Embassies and Consulates Nearest Michigan.
  2. You cannot replace your visa (a sticker with your photo placed in your passport) while in the U.S. Next time you leave the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Fortunately, you do not have to have a visa in your passport while you are in the U.S., it is only required for travel. Please see "How can I renew my F or J visa?"
  3. If you were issued an I-94 when you entered the U.S., you may be able to print a replacement Form I-94 at www.cbp.gov/I94. If you cannot print your replacement I-94, come to the International Center to speak with an International Student Scholar Advisor.
  4. You can request a replacement of your I-20 or DS-2019 from our office. Please log in to the M-Passport portal, click on Requests, and submit the Reprint I-20 or Reprint DS-2019 request.
  5. If you are an F-1 student on OPT, and your EAD card was lost/stolen as well, you will have to apply for a replacement card with USCIS. Follow the OPT application instructions Sending Your Complete OPT Application to USCIS provided by the International Center, including the fee payment, with the following exception:
    Check box for “Replacement of lost Employment Authorization Document” at the top of Form I-765.

Identity Theft Concerns:

If any of your financial documents (such as credit cards, checks, ATM cards, etc.) were lost/stolen, contact your banking institution to cancel or put a temporary hold on your accounts.

You may want to check your credit report to make sure no one has opened a credit card or other account under your name. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires 3 companies to provide you with one free credit report every 12 months. See the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's web page Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. For a free credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com.

Feel free to email, phone or visit our office if you have further questions.

How do I update my funding information?

If there has been a significant change in your funding, please send an e-mail to the International Center ([email protected]) explaining the changes. Your email must include:

If needed, the IC will print a new I-20 and notify you via email when it is ready for pick up. This process usually takes 7-10 business days.

Where can I find information about mentorship?