Select Page
Home » Rackham Life » International Students

International Students

U-M has welcomed international students from the earliest days of its graduate programs. Today, more than 2,400 Rackham students are citizens of more than 90 countries.

Good to Know

This information is to help new international students become familiar with resources available across the university and in Ann Arbor more generally. The offices you will find here are able to provide the best advice and help needed to answer international student questions.

University Offices

International Center

The U-M International Center provides a variety of services to assist international students, scholars, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan. The International Student and Scholar Services team serves as a key resource to the U-M community in the following ways:

  • Advises international students, scholars, their dependents, and university departments on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations related to F and J visa categories
  • Recommends and approves immigration benefits
  • Verifies, tracks, and submits visa status notifications through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), as required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Advises on adjustment to United States society and American culture, academic concerns, and community resources
  • Processes DS-2019s, I-20s, travel signatures, and letters needed for travel, employment, maintaining status, social security numbers, and other immigration related matters
  • Conducts workshops and orientation sessions for international students, scholars, and U-M departments

Overall, it would be impossible to list all the extensive information and resources available on the International Center website.

Campus Information Centers (CIC)

The Campus Information Centers serve as the comprehensive information and referral source and provide accurate and timely information about campus resources, facilities, services, procedures, and events. CIC also coordinates the online university events calendar, Happening@Michigan, and the online listing of all departments and organizations.

English Language Institute (ELI)

The English Language Institute (ELI) is an independent unit offering credit-bearing courses within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The ELI offers a variety of courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) for nonnative speakers of English enrolled at and visiting the University of Michigan. The courses are designed to enable students to enhance their linguistic and communicative skills in order to become effective, fully participating members of the academic community both during their time on campus and beyond. Approximately 80% of ELI’s students are graduate students, with the remainder comprised of undergraduates and visiting scholars. ELI courses are taken concurrently with other courses.

In addition to the EAP courses during the fall and winter semesters, the ELI features a number of special instructional programs. These include courses and workshops for graduate student instructors (GSIs) and two full-time summer intensive programs: English for Academic Purposes and English for Business Studies. Other special services include Speaking Clinics, Graduate Writing Clinics for International Students, and the Conversation Circles Program.

Rules and Regulations

U.S. Immigration Visas

Before making travel arrangements to come to the University of Michigan, you will need to obtain an appropriate U.S. visa. The following list provides resources to help you obtain a U.S. visa and enter the United States legally.

For further information regarding visas and immigration, please visit the International Center website.

Bringing Money and Other Items to the United States

You may choose to bring large sums of money with you in the form of cash, money order, or traveler’s checks when entering the United States. You may bring as much money as you wish, however, any amount of money exceeding the allowed $10,000 (U.S. dollars) maximum must be declared in advance. When you arrive in the U.S., you are required to declare all monies that you are bringing into the country. You will receive Form 6059B Customs Declaration, which must be filled in completely and truthfully. If you do not declare your money, the penalties for non-compliance can be severe. Your money might be taken away, you will be required to provide a written explanation of your failure to comply, your case will be evaluated, and you might have to pay a considerable fine.

For further information about what you can and cannot bring into the United States, refer to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency website. Also, consult the Welcome to the United States (PDF) publication by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Mandatory Immigration Check-In

The International Center hosts a Student Check-in Presentation at Rackham each year and ALL International Students who have received an I-20 or DS-2019 from Rackham Graduate School are required to attend one of the offerings of the presentation.

You will receive an email this summer from the International Center with information on how to register for one of these check-in sessions. If you have not received an email by mid-August, please contact [email protected].

Settling In

Banking Information

F- and J-visa holders do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. Banks will ask you to fill out an Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that you are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.

Warning: Only fill out W-8BEN forms that you receive from your bank or download from the Internal Revenue Service website. Instructions for filling out the form are available on the IRS website. W-8BEN forms received in the mail are not valid.

Health Insurance

If you are an F-1 or J-1 international student or a J-1 visiting scholar whose Form I-20 or DS-2019 was issued by the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), you are required to have health insurance coverage for yourself and any F-2 or J-2 dependents while at the University of Michigan. Health insurance coverage is coordinated through the U-M International Center. For contact information and office hours, see U-M Health Insurance Office Hours and Location.

Driver’s License and Michigan Personal Identification Card

In order to get a Michigan driver’s license, you must pass a written test, a road sign test, a vision test, and a driving test. If you do not need a driver’s license, but do need extra identification, you can get a State of Michigan Personal Identification card at any Michigan Secretary of State office for $10. However, the Secretary of State office will not issue you an ID card if you have a Michigan driver’s license, a driver’s license from another state, or a driver’s license from another country.

For more information on driver’s licenses and ID cards, eligibility and requirements, and applying for a driver’s license or ID, please visit the International Center website.

On-Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus while attending classes. The work does not need to be related to your field of study. You must maintain legal F-1 or J-1 status while engaging in on-campus employment. J-1 students sponsored by the University of Michigan should complete the on-campus employment authorization form to obtain written approval from the International Center. For more information on on-campus employment eligibility and opportunities, please visit the International Center website.

Social Security

A Social Security number (SSN) is used to report your wages to the U.S. government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security numbers can be assigned to foreign workers who are authorized to work in the United States. For more information on when a social security number is required, eligibility for a social security number, and applying for a social security number and card, please visit the International Center website.