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Checklist for New Faculty and Staff

Important things to consider and do before and soon after you arrive in East Lansing.


Before You Arrive

Tell your new supervisor at MSU when you will arrive in East Lansing. Your supervisor or department may wish to arrange to pick you up at the airport, have lunch or dinner with you, and provide other assistance. Your supervisor or department will also tell you when your first day of work will be, where to park, where your office will be, who to check-in with on your first day, when your orientation with Human Resources will be, and provide you with orientation and on-boarding information for your new job. 

Learn more about moving to East Lansing and living in the Greater Lansing Area:

MSU WorkLife Office Relocation and Community Connections
MSU Human Resources Toolkits for New Employees
Campus and Community Resources
Things to do in Greater Lansing

Contact Your Country's Embassy in the U.S.

You may want to let your home government know that you are in the United States. They may have a registry for citizens who are in the U.S. so that they can contact you in an emergency. 

Here is a resource to find the embassy of your country that is closest to East Lansing. Many countries have embassies in Detroit, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. 

Embassies & Consulates Around The World

Find A Place to Live

It is important to search for housing before you arrive in East Lansing. Learn more on our Find A Place to Live webpage.

Get a Cell Phone

There are many cell phone companies that offer service in the Lansing area and nationwide. You can decide to sign a contract for one or two years with one company or you can buy a month-to-month service that you can cancel anytime. The U.S. has a law that requires cell phone companies to allow customers to keep their U.S. cell phone numbers if you decide to change companies. This is called "porting". If you decide to change companies, make sure you "port" your current cell phone number. 

If you are unsure of which company to buy a cell phone plan with, you can buy a month-to-month or pre-paid cell phone at stores like Meijer and Target. You can decide later to change to another company and keep the cell phone number you have. 

When you decide to buy a cell phone plan with a company, you may be able to continue using your current phone or the company may required you to purchase a phone through them. Companies will often offer cheaper prices on new phones for new customers. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to upgrade or get a new phone with the company until your contract period ends. Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing or purchasing service online. 

The Whistle Out website provides comparisons between cell phone companies. 

Open a Bank Account

There are many banking options in the Lansing area. Michigan State University has a connection with the MSU Federal Credit Union  (MSU FCU) which includes MSU FCU ATM machines on campus, however, you may choose to open a bank account with different bank. 

Contact the banks that you are interested in to find out how to open up a checking or savings account and get an ATM card. 

You may also want to ask about wire transaction fees to compare costs before deciding on a bank to use. 

Here is a list of banks in East Lansing on Google Maps

Attend Orientation

MSU Human Resources and Department Orientation

Your supervisor or department will give you an orientation schedule. This will include an orientation with MSU Human Resources and may also include other orientation programs or on-boarding training schedules with your department. 

MSU Human Resources Orientation for Support Staff

MSU Human Resources Orientation for Faculty & Academic Staff

J-1 Check-in and Orientation with OISS

If you are in J-1 or H-1B status, you will need to check-in and attend an orientation provided by OISS. Please refer to the following pages for more information.

J-1 Scholar Orientation

Enroll in Health Insurance

Health care is very expensive in the United States and the U.S. government does not provide financial support for international employees. This is why it is important that you and your dependents are enrolled in a quality health insurance plan soon after your arrival to the US.  

As an employee of MSU, you may enroll in health insurance through the university. During new employee orientation with Human Resources, you will be given information about the different health insurance plans and monthly premium costs (monthly fees). You must enroll in your MSU insurance within 30 days of your employment start date.  

Choosing a health insurance plan can be difficult and confusing. Here are some resources you can use to learn more about health insurance plans offered to MSU employees: 

MSU Human Resources Health Care Overview

MSU Human Resources Employee Health Care Common Questions and Answers

MSU ALEX - The virtual benefits counselor

Apply for a Social Security Number

The U.S. social security number is required in order to be paid for work in the United States. Originally created in 1936 to keep track of the earning history of workers for social security benefits, it has become a universal identification number in the U.S. The social security number is used by telephone and cell phone companies, banks and home mortgage companies, home rental agencies, utility companies (gas and electric), cable and satellite television companies, doctors and hospitals, and many other companies and agencies in the U.S. 

MSU will need your social security number in order to pay you. Human resources will give you more information about this during orientation. 

While you will not need to show your social security card very often, you will need to memorize your number. Once you have your social security card, do not carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers.

Learn more about the history and current use of the social security number in the United States

Learn how to apply for a social security number

Identity Theft

Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name. You may not know that you are the victim of ID theft until you experience a financial consequence (mystery bills, credit collections, denied loans) down the road from actions that the thief has taken with your stolen identity. 

Learn more about identity theft and how to prevent it

Enroll Your Children in School or Childcare

Finding childcare for your young children can be stressful. Every parent wants to find a childcare option that makes them feel comfortable. The MSU WorkLife Office has resources to help parents find the right care for their children:

MSU WorkLife Kids & Parents

All children in Michigan between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. To enroll in kindergarten, a student must be 5 years old on or before December 1st in the year in which they enroll. Public schools are free to all children and books and supplies are often provided. There are a variety of classes students may enroll in at the middle and high schools.

Parents are required to fill out information on vaccinations and other medical details for each child. By law, the school must have a record in English of your child's immunizations. If such a record does not exist or is inadequate, you will be asked to have your child immunized in order to be allowed to attend school. The schools will ask for a birth certificate or legal proof of birth and may ask that the child have a physical exam. Take any records of your children's school work, in addition to their passports, when you enroll them.

There are typically three levels of public school education and are referred to as: 

  • Elementary School: Kindergarten through 5th grade 
  • Middle School: 6th grade through 8th grade 
  • High School: 9th grade through 12th grade

Each school district is required by law to provide free and appropriate education for all children. If you have a child who is has a disability or has a problem, other than lack of English proficiency, that makes it difficult for him/her to be in an ordinary classroom without help, contact the Special Education section of the East Lansing School District at: (517) 333-7459. This office will find the right program for your child and provide whatever help he/she needs. Education is the right of every child. 

Learn how to enroll your child in school by visiting the website for the school district where you live. 

East Lansing Public Schools

Haslett Public Schools

Okemos Public Schools

Lansing Public Schools