International Studies & Programs

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Once you arrive at MSU, plan for 1-2 weeks to get settled. There are a few things you will need to do upon arrival to get started at MSU and VIPP. Please review the information below, and remember that your program coordinator is here to help.

Download the VIPP Long Term Program Arrival Preparation Flyer (PDF).

Korean Version of VIPP Long Term Program Arrival Preparation Flyer (PDF)

Chinese Version of VIPP Long Term Program Arrival Preparation Flyer (PDF)

Checking In

OISS Check-In 

After your arrival, you should complete the government check-in process online at with the guidance of your program coordinator. Make sure to bring your DS-2019 and passport and copies of your passport information page, visa page, entry stamp page, and your I-94. Your I-94 can be downloaded on the website of the Depart of Homeland Security. During the online check-in, you will also take a short training of J1-Student Basics to familiarize yourself with the policies, rights, and requirements of J1-students. After you complete the training, you should download a certificate and submit it as part of your check-in. If this government check-in is not completed within 28 days of the program start date written on your DS2019 form, the SEVIS record will indicate “No Show” and you will not be in valid visa status. After your government check-in is completed, you should also update your domestic and international addresses, as well as emergency contact information at


Important OISS Documents

OISS (Office for International Students and Scholars) provides support to Michigan State University’s international students, scholars and families. Their services include advising on compliance with U.S. immigration regulations and conducting orientations and other programming that help international students and scholars adjust to the academic, cultural and social life of MSU. The following documents illustrate the important immigration information, regulations and compliance that VIPP participants should know.    


VIPP Orientation

Each semester VIPP offers orientation to newly arriving participants and provides essential information related to academic and cultural life.

Safety and Security

We take your and your family's safety and security seriously. We encourage you to sign up for MSU Alert in order to receive quick and easy notification in the event of an emergency at campus. Sign up at

VIPP Tuition Payment

Paying Program Fees

Within three weeks of your arrival you are expected to pay your program fees. You can either pay online via Transact (formerly known as Cashnet) by clicking the button below or write a check to Michigan State University. For detailed instruction how to pay fees online using Transact, view the document below. If you'd like to pay in person, please consult with your program coordinator. 

Transact Step by Step Instructions
Transact Step by Step Instructions Chinese


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Managing Your MSU Student Account

Once you are admitted to our program, we will generate your MSU student account information prior to your arrival in the U.S. including PID number, NetID, MSU Email and a temporary password. Our program coordinator will send you your PID number, MSU NetID and temporary password information to log in to to download your DS-2019. After you arrive at MSU, you should login to to register and update your current U.S. domestic address (if already known) and your emergency contact information.

Besides your NetID and password, MSU has added steps to safeguard personal and institutional data by applying two-factor authentication. Here are the instructions to set up the two-factor authentication: (1) visit and log in using your MSU email and password. (2) From the user drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner, click “Settings”; (3) Click “Edit Profile” in the top-right corner of the screen, look for the “Extra Verification” section, and click “Set up” for your preferred verification method. (4) Download the Okta Verify mobile app on Google Play Store or Apple App Store in your cell phone and click “Next”; (5) You will see the screen with a QR code. Launch the Okta Verify app on your mobile device, select Add an Account, and follow the in-app instructions.


Obtaining your MSU ID

After OISS check-in, you go to the MSU ID Office to get your MSU student ID. There are lots of benefits this card will give to you. 

Your ID Benefits

Once you are accepted to our program you will receive a MSU Student ID. There are a lot of perks being a Spartan. Your Student ID will help you save money on events  and activities happening around campus. MSU offers hundreds of performances, exhibitions, academic lectures, and special programs each year. As a fellow Spartan, you have access to all of these things with your MSU Student ID.

Make sure you're getting all the perks. Use your MSU ID to:

  • Attend movies for free at Campus Cinema Centers 
  • Watch shows and concerts at a discounted price at Wharton Center 
  • Purchase student dining plan and enjoy healthy meals at MSU cafeterias  
  • Receive discounts at any MSU intramural sports location 
  • Receive discounts for MSU sports games 

For details, visit our blog post about it.

You can also browse to discover events that MSU offers in the arts and culture. 

Mandatory TB Awareness Course

To protect students' health and safety, MSU requires all newly entering international students to view a TB e-learning module and complete a quiz at The TB e-learning module and quiz will be loaded as a course entitled Tuberculosis (TB) Awareness. You should login to your D2L account and complete the short "course." It’s required for all international students. Failing to do so will result in a hold on your student account and you will not be able to register until the hold is lifted.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. 

Applying for Drivers License and SSN

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit identification number, issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and qualified foreign nationals-including those in F and J status who meet the requirements.

Read this document to check if you are eligible for SSN.

SSN - Applying at the SSA Branch Office

J1 Student SSN Letter

Driver's License

All Michigan residents must obtain a driver’s license as soon as possible after arrival in order to legally drive. Below information is copied from Office of International Students and Scholars at MSU. For details, visit their website.

It is also required by Michigan law that all drivers have no-fault insurance on their vehicle. Every owner of a car must buy certain basic coverages in order to get license plates. It is against the law to drive or let your car be driven without no-fault insurance. If you have an auto accident, no-fault insurance pays for your medical expenses, wage loss benefits, replacement services, and the damage you do to other people’s property. It does not matter who caused the accident. 

What every driver in Michigan must know


International students and scholars who will be in Michigan for a semester or more are considered Michigan residents and are therefore eligible to apply for a Michigan Driver’s License or Identification Card. All Michigan residents must obtain a driver’s license as soon as possible after arrival in order to legally drive. There is no grace period during which you may use your home country license to drive.

Short-term visitors who will be in Michigan for less than one semester are not considered to be Michigan residents and are therefore not eligible for a Michigan Driver’s License or Identification Card. However, you are eligible to drive in Michigan with your home country’s driver’s license and a certified English translation as long as your country appears on the “International Drivers’ Licenses and Reciprocity Update” (PDF)* list. The International Driving Permit by itself does not grant permission to drive in Michigan; however the combination of the home country’s driver’s license and the International Driving Permit does indeed grant permission to drive in Michigan for your short-term visit.

Driver’s License Application Process 

Step 1: Present your identification at the Secretary of State Branch Office.

Step 2: Take tests on written knowledge, road signs, and vision.

Step 3: Take driving skills test.

Step 4: Return to the branch office to finalize your license application.

License Translation 

If you already have a driver’s license from your home country, an English translation can make the Michigan licensing process 30 days faster.

STEP 1: Find a translator. You cannot do your own translation. Your translator must be someone who is a graduate student or a faculty member at MSU who can speak your language.

STEP 2: Your translator must type the translation into this PDF template.

STEP 3: Your translator must print the translation and sign it in the lower left corner.

STEP 4: You bring the translation to OISS. OISS will verify your status and your translator's position at MSU, then sign the translation in the lower right corner.