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F-1 and J-1 Students



Welcome, Global Spartan! Congratulations on your admission to Michigan State University (MSU). We look forward to assisting with your transition to the university and welcoming you to campus. 



As a new international student, you are required to complete two orientation programs – International Student Orientation and New Student Orientation (NSO).

International Student Orientation will focus specifically on what you need to know as an international student while studying at Michigan State University.

New Student Orientation (NSO) is required for ALL new students*, not just international students. You will receive information about NSO directly from the New Student Orientation Office. Please contact NSO directly at nso(at)

*Graduate students are not required to do NSO but are required to do International Student Orientation.  



What to expect from International Student Orientation:

Desire2Learn (D2L) Modules

Desire2Learn (D2L) is MSU's online learning system. Instructors use D2L to give students access to course materials, collaboration, submission of assignments, online testing, grades and other resources. Learning how to use D2L is an important step in getting ready to study at MSU. 

The International Student Orientation D2L modules will consist of:

  • Getting to know OISS
  • Immigration and Arrival
  • Health Insurance and Healthcare
  • MSU COVID-19 Mandates and Resources
  • Life in the U.S.
  • Next Steps and Resources 

You will receive additional communication from OISS when the D2L modules are available as well as when they need to be completed. 

Orientation Assistants

You will be assigned an Orientation Assistant based on birth month. Your Orientation Assistant will be an international or domestic undergraduate student currently studying at MSU. They will be available to assist with your transition experience, reinforce important messages from OISS, share personal stories and advice, and support with in-person orientation activities as you arrive and adjust to campus. You can expect to hear from your Orientation Assistant beginning in May!  

In Person Welcome Events

Beginning the week of August 22, OISS will have International Student Orientation in-person welcome events. Participation is not required though it is highly encouraged. More information to come throughout the Summer!



How OISS will communicate with you throughout the Summer:

Welcome Weekly

As an international student you will be automatically added to our newsletter list. From May - August you will receive a biweekly newsletter in your MSU email. This newsletter will have important information and reminders to help you prepare for your arrival to East Lansing!  

You can find the previous Welcome Weekly newsletters here!

OISS Website 

The OISS website will be updated throughout the Summer as we continue to finalize details for Fall 2022. Be sure to check back regularly for updates.  

Social Media 

Be sure to follow @OISSMSU on Facebook and Instagram. We will be posting helpful videos and information, as well as student takeovers, throughout the Summer.  



 Other Information and Resources:

I-20 and DS-2019 Issuance

Once you have provided all required documentation to the Office Admissions, please plan for 2-3 weeks for your I-20 or DS-2019 to be issued.

To check the status of your I-20 or DS-2019, after you have reached the 2-3 week timeline, please email oiss(at)

To check the status of your admission to MSU, please contact either the Office of Admissions or The Graduate School directly. 

Enrollment Requirements for Initial I-20: F-1 Students

On April 18, 2022, the U.S. government announced it will extend flexibilities for remote learning for F-1 students studying at U.S. academic institutions due to the COVID-19 through the end of academic year 2022-23. You can read the April 18, 2022 broadcast message here.  

The academic year comprises the following academic semesters: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and summer 2023. See the university’s published academic year calendar here.   

F-1 international students entering the U.S. with an 'initial' status Form I-20 and a new SEVIS ID to attend MSU are required to enroll full-time and have at least one in-person or hybrid course. This includes students coming to the US for the first time and students returning to the US and MSU after an extended time away.  

If you have questions related to your courses or course modalities, please contact your academic advisor.    

COVID-19 Requirements

You can read about the COVID-19 Requirements here: SPECIAL MESSAGE: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements 

Department or College Specific Orientation: Graduate Students

Your academic department or college will email you with department or college specific orientation information. If you have not received an email from your department or college, contact them directly. Most departments and colleges have graduate program directors or secretaries. They are often the best person to contact for this information. You can usually find staff directories on department and college websites. A department and program directory is available to find appropriate contact information.  

Earliest Arrival Date

The earliest date that students with an initial I-20 or DS-2019 can attempt to enter the U.S. is 30 days before the program start date. 

Latest Arrival Date

New students should enter the U.S. by the start of classes. If you will not enter the U.S. by the start of classes, email OISS at oiss(at)

Documents Required to Enter the U.S.: F-1 and J-1 Students

In order to enter the United States, students must present the following documents to the immigration inspector at the port of entry:

  • A valid passport (valid six months beyond the date of entry)
  • A valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (not required for Canadians)
  • A valid I-20 or DS-2019 Form
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Original financial documentation
  • Admission letter from MSU

Documents Required to Enter the U.S.: F-2 and J-2 Dependents

Documents Needed to Enter the U.S. in F-2 or J-2 Status: 

  • A valid F-2 I-20 or J-2 DS-2019 issued by MSU
  • A valid F-2 or J-2 visa stamp
  • A valid passport (valid six months beyond the date of entry) 

Required Immigration Check-In After Arriving in the U.S.

International Students in F-1 and J-1 status must complete Immigration Check-In online with OISS. After arriving in the U.S. students will be required to fill out a check-in form online. A step-by-step guide to completing immigration check-in will be emailed to students for whom check-in is required. OISS staff will review your check-in submission and follow up with you by email if any further information is required. 

OISS Advising

OISS advisors are available to meet and answer your questions virtually via Zoom.

Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are assigned to a specific OISS advisor based on the student's birth month. 

You can find your advisor on the OISS Advising Team page