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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.

Where is ISSS located?

OIP's International Student and Scholar Services is located in the James Madison Administrative Complex Building 6, which is directly behind the Massanutten Hall, in Suite 23. Our G.P.S. address is 1031 Harrison St. - Harrisonburg, VA 22807 - USA.

What are the office hours for ISSS?

Normal office hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 (noon) - 5:00 p.m. (17:00) Eastern Time. However, office staff are occasionally at meetings during those hours, so you are encouraged to schedule an appointment or phone ahead to be sure to find someone available.

How do I register for classes?

First Year students and Transfer student will receive direction for course registration through the OneBook steps. For more information about the OneBook refer yourself to the Orientation Office website. 

How do I transfer credits to JMU?

The Transfer Advising web site will provide information about transferring credits from another school.

Should I bring my cell phone from home and simply obtain a US sim card?

Yes! As a matter of fact to enable you to use your cell phone from home as soon as you arrive in the US, every new student who is issued an I-20 from our office is also provided, in that same mailing, with a CampusSIMs card. The monthly plans allow for temporary and/or permanent commitment with campusSIMs. The process is fairly simple and consists of a few steps which need to be taken care outside of  the US and while in the US. Refer yourself to this diagram for more information:

campusSIMS explanation flyer

For more information about the sim card registration process, watch this video tutorial.

What is the Health/Immunization form? How important is it?

The Immunization form provides confidential immunization and brief health history on all students at JMU.  All students are required to submit an immunization form (available in 10 different languages) to the University Health Center.  Without it you will be unable to attend classes. 

Please be sure to have your form completed.  If you are unable to receive all the immunizations, you will be required to get them.  Many of the immunizations are available at the University Health Center, however their are fees associated.   For more information, check out the University Health Center web site.

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.