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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 office hours for ISSS?

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 of items and learn about up coming events.  If you would like to meet with an advisor, ISSS hosts Walk-In hours on Wednesday - Friday from 11 am - 4:30 pm, otherwise you will need to schedule an appointment by calling 540.568.6119 or email to  

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 assiting students in their oof campus housing experiences ranging from moving in, getting settled, paying utilities, etc...

Do I need a health insurance plan? What if I already have one?

Every student on an F or J visa needs health insurance coverage. International students at JMU will be automatically added to the Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) health insurance plan unless they have a comparable plan from a different health insurance. 

To be exempt from the requirement of paying for the policy supported by JMU, you need to compete an Insurance Waiver Form and return it to ISSS along with copies of your current policy with English translations and verification of sufficient benefits. The deadline to submit this waiver form is the end of the second full week of classes each semester.

Can a package be sent to my campus mailbox prior to my arrival on-campus?

Yes you can, but there are several things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Did you sign a housing contract? In order to ensure that you are guaranteed on-campus housing (and that a campus mailbox is therefore created) you will need to have signed a housing contract (which is one of the OneBook steps).
  • Only items fitting in a "moving box" will be accepted. In other words, large bulky items will not be stored in the JMU mail center and make it more challenging to retrieve your package.
  • Keep in mind that it will be challenging for you to pick-up your package when you arrive. It may only be 2 or 3 days after your arrival on campus when you will be able to obtain your package from the mail center as the mail center will most likely be closed when you arrive, and you will be busy with orientation programs.
  • The heavier you package is, the more challenging it will be for you to take it from the mail center to your room.

If a package should be sent to your campus mailbox, it will need to be send to the following address:

[Student's First Name] [Student's LAST (Family) Name]
James Madison Unversity
800 South Main St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 - USA

Will there be bed sheets and/or linens when I arrive in my room?

No there will not be any, but here are a few options worth considering:

  • If you live on-campus, you could purchase some from Residence Hall Linens. The information can be found in the Office of Residence Life's Moving-In section of their website. Make sure to also refer yourself to the "Can a package be sent to my campus mailbox prior to my arrival on campus?" section of the Frequently Asked Questions. 
  • A shopping trip will be provided during Transitions at which time you will be able to purchase items for your rooms including bed sheets and linen. Keep in mind that the timing of the shopping will most likely be after after your first night in your room.
  • You may want to add a sleeping bag or a basic sized-bed sheet for your first night.
  • You could also consider spending your first night in Harrisonburg at a local hotel. Refer yourself to the arrival section of this webpage for more information about overnight accomodations.

How do I complete the Emergency Phone Notification step?

It is required that everyone completes the Emergency Phone Notification step, now considering that you are most likely abroad and do not have a US phone it makes it somewhat challenging to know which phone number to include. It turns out that you are given the option of opting out by only sharing your e-mail address. Once you are on campus and will have had the opportunity to purchase a cell phone, you will then need to update your information with your cell phone number.

Can my parents/family attend orientation? How long should they stay?

To help parents and family members better understand the university and learn more about their student’s transition to JMU, we have designed a program (in August) just for them!  The program begins on move-in day and concludes the following afternoon. Students’ schedules simply become too busy that they do not find enough time to spend with their parents/families.

What is the positive service indicator from ISSS that I see 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 thing 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 |

How can I get the positive service indicator removed?

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.