Frequently Asked Questions




What is ISSS?

JMU's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) offers support and services to our international community. We are committed to providing timely, accurate and helpful assistance to requests regarding visa issues, employment documents for foreign workers, and all immigration matters pertinent to the students, scholars, and staff of JMU. We also provide programs and services to enhance the stay of our international students and scholars, including social activities, informational sessions on issues such as culture shock, academic assistance, etc. Finally, we seek to provide educational programs to the entire campus community highlighting the numerous cultures represented on campus here and to increase awareness of cultures not currently represented.

What are the ISSS office hours?

Normal office hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (17:00) Eastern Time.  Students can stop by the office to pick up documents, drop off items, and learn about up coming events.  If you would like to meet with an advisor, please schedule an appointment by sending an email to isss@jmu.edu.

During the summer, advisors will be available Monday - Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Why am I being charged an international student fee?

The international student population at JMU has more than doubled in the past five years and we expect the numbers to continue to increase over the next several years. For this reason, in order to continue to provide quality programs, activities, resources and advocacy, JMU has instituted an international student fee which will be assessed to all F and J visa holding students enrolled in full-time undergraduate or graduate JMU courses. This $100 fee is posted on each student’s bill by the University Business Office every fall and spring semester. We have worked hard to keep costs as low as possible.

What is the positive service indicator from ISSS that I'm seeing on my account?

The positive service indicator from ISSS is a friendly reminder to you and your academic advisor that you are on a temporary visa and must contact ISSS if you drop below full-time enrollment, accept on-campus employment, or participate in an off-campus internship or practicum. A positive service indictor does not restrict you from enrolling in classes or conducting other business at JMU.

Is a positive service indicator the same as a hold on my account?

A positive service indicator is not the same as a hold.  Even though it is listed under holds, if you see the words positive service indicator- you do not need to worry about being able to enroll in classes.

image of the positive service indicator display in my madison

  **If you do have a hold from another department,  MyMadison provides instructions for clearing each negative hold. If you have questions about this, contact the Registrar’s Office (540)-568-6281 | registrar@jmu.edu.

How can I get the positive service indicator removed from my account?

The positive service indicator is not something you need to remove. If you only have a positive service indicator you do not need to worry! If you have a negative hold (see above) you need to follow the directions in MyMadison to get the hold removed.

Are there any scholarships available for international students?

Please see the Financial Resources page under Resources for more information about scholarships and other financial resources available to international students.

Do I have to file taxes?

YES! All F-1 and J-1 visa holders are required to complete and send at least one tax form to the Internal Revenue Service each year (whether or not you earned income in the U.S.). April 15 is the deadline by which you need to send your tax form(s) each year that you are studying in the U.S.  

Make sure to refer yourself to the Filing Taxes section of our webpage

What is the process for finding off-campus apartments and/or roommates?

Go to the following website: Off Campus Housing to start searching for roommates and apartments. This online database makes it very convenient for anyone to look for available apartments, roommates and/or sublets. You should then consider seeking the many resources the Off Campus Life office offers. It is dedicated to assisting students in their off campus housing experiences ranging from moving in, getting settled, paying utilities, etc.

What are the nearest airports?

The following is a list of the nearest airports to JMU's campus:

  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD)
    • Distance from campus: About 30 minutes. This airport provides a shuttle service to and from its airport. You can register and pay  online at the airport's website. [This is our  recommended airport.] 
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
    • Distance from campus: About 2 hours. [Make sure NOT to confuse this airport with Dallas Airport in Texas].

How can I get around?

Make sure to refer yourself to the university's transportation webpage to obtain an extensive and detailed list of on and off-campus transportation options

- To find out which bus goes from point A to point to point B (on/off-campus) and when, check out the Bus Finder

- One of the most convenient and cheapest ways to travel to Union Station (DC train Station) or the IAD airport and back during breaks is to use the Valley Connector. To reserve your seat call this number (540) 624-3011 at least 48 hours in advance.

- When traveling as a group in the area or to the airport, you may consider contacting the Green Shuttle - (540) 718-2954 or greenshuttleva@gmail.com.

What are some of the safety procedures set up in place?

JMU has an e-mail or text notifications to inform every JMU members in the event of an emergency or when the university is affected by inclement weather.

The JMU Public Safety department offers safety escorts to students. A safety escort will walk with you somewhere on campus in case you feel unsafe walking alone.

Safety Escort Number: 568-6913, or on campus, dial 8-6913.

Safety escorts are available to any student on campus, free of charge. Escorts are provided by carefully screened and trained student employees known as the Campus Police Cadets.

Cadets are on duty 7pm - 2am Sunday-Wednesday, 9pm-2am Thursday, and 9pm-3am Friday and Saturday.  Police officers will provide any escorts outside of those time periods.

Saferides is a group at JMU that offers rides to students. You can find more information on their website JMU Saferides.

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