Student Studying

After arriving at SJSU, you will need to complete the following.

1. Find Housing

Housing in the San Jose area can sometimes be a challenge to find but we have compiled resources for your search. For information about living on campus, please contact University Housing Services or consider the SJSU International House. A breakdown of local neighborhoods can be seen here.

2. Attend the Orientation

Undergraduate Students:

You signed up for your Transfer or FROSH (freshman) orientation through Next Steps. Punctual attendance at this orientation is mandatory. If you miss, or are late to the orientation, your admission to SJSU will be cancelled.  In addition to attending orientation, international students in F-1 status are required to report to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office to complete the required U.S. immigration check-in procedure. Continue reading for more details on how to meet this requirement. 

Graduate Students:

To have a successful academic career at SJSU, your attendance at the Graduate Student Orientation is highly encouraged.  During orientation, immigration requirements for maintaining your legal status and international student health insurance information will be presented.  In addition to attending orientation, international students in F-1 status are required to report to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office to complete the required U.S. immigration check-in procedure. Continue reading for more details on how to meet this requirement. 

3. Check-in with International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)

As a new F-1 international student, you are required to report to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)  upon arrival at SJSU. In order to meet this U.S. government requirement, you must attend an ISSS Immigration Check-In session. During this mandatory session you will  receive information on how to maintain your F-1 status. You will also meet the ISSS staff and other students, and learn about SJSU programs and events. *This session is for degree seeking student ONLY, not iGateways or SAS students.

Please follow these steps to register and prepare for your arrival to SJSU:

1)Register for an Immigration Check-in Session

To register, click HERE and select one of the available date/time options*. Space is limited, please register for ONE session only.  After you select the date, you will be directed to the Registration page.  Under quantity, select “1.”  You will receive an email confirming your registration.  

*Undergraduate Freshman and Transfer students are also required to attend the FROSH Orientation program on Friday, January 18th, 2019. The Immigration Check-In Session is NOT the same as Orientation.  

2) View the International Student Pre-arrival PowerPoint

After registering for a session, please take a few moments to view the International Student Pre-Arrival PowerPoint HERE to help you prepare for your arrival in the U.S. and answer some of the most common questions new international students have prior to arriving in the U.S.

3) Complete all Immigration Check-in assignments through CANVAS course
You will soon receive a separate email inviting you to participate in an online course through a platform called CANVAS. As part of the course, you will have to complete a few assignments before you arrive in the U.S. and a few more after you arrive in the country. Completion of all pre-arrival and post-arrival course assignments is mandatory for all new F-1 international students. Deadline to complete ALL the assignments: Monday, January 28th, 2019.

4. Clear All Account Holds

Before you are cleared to register for classes, you may encounter holds on your account. You will be able to view online, any holds that may have been placed on your MySJSU account. Below are some common holds students have encountered:

      • International Student Health Insurance

        SJSU requires all inbound international students to purchase the SJSU health insurance coverage prior to registering for classes. You can register for the mandatory SJSU health insurance online.

        International Students will not be able to register for classes without first purchasing SJSU health insurance. The comprehensive insurance program includes coverage for accidental injury/sickness, medical evacuation, and repatriation and is also valid when traveling outside the United States. You can view the insurance fees and purchase your insurance online

        F-1 students with dependents are recommended to also purchase health insurance for their F-2 dependents.

        You may purchase coverage in three different ways:

        • Annually, covering you from August 1 to July 31, or
        • Fall semester only, with coverage from August 1 to January 1, or
        • Spring/summer semester only, with coverage from January 1 to July 31.

        For additional information on how the medical system in the US works, please view this Healthcare in the USA Introduction video or review their information chart.


        How to purchase the University approved health insurance

        International students on F-1 and J-1 status are required to purchase the University approved health insurance plan before registering each semester.  A hold will be placed on students' MySJSU record before registration for the next semester begins. Before you try registering for classes be sure to purchase your health insurance plan so the hold can be lifted. Insurance holds will be removed within 48 hours after purchase  

        Instructions to Purchase SJSU Health Insurance Plan:  

        SJSU approved health insurance plan is administered by JCB however your insurance provider will be Aetna. Please purchase your health insurance from the JCB website.  Follow these steps to purchase the correct plan:

        1. Go to the JCB website
        2. Type in "San Jose State" 
        3. Select "2018-2019 ISSS International Students" 
        4. Select semester or year.
        5. Input your information and payment information as instructed.
        6. The insurance hold will be removed within 48 hours after purchase. 


        Exemptions from the requirement to purchase the insurance are the following:

        1. F-1 students on a government-sponsored scholarship which provides compatible insurance coverage as a part of the sponsorship.  To clear hold: Submit the request for exemption forms in the ISSS  
        2. Students receiving insurance coverage as a dependent through an employer-sponsored plan in the United States (i.e. receipt of insurance is a part of the U.S. employment compensation through your spouse). Supplemental Medical Evacuation and Repatriation must be purchased. To clear hold: Submit the request for exemption forms in the ISSS
        3. J-1 participants in the ISEP, International Student Exchange Program.


        How to obtain your insurance ID card:

        The Aetna insurance company does not print and mail medical insurance cards. All cards will be electronic and can be obtained in one of three ways:

        1) Mobile Device

        a.       Go to

        b.      Select your school name from the drop down menu and click on view your school.

        c.       Select the “Print Your ID Card” link

        d.      Enter your school issued Student ID number and DOB and click “Submit”

        e.       Select your ID card to display it on the screen

        f.        Take a screenshot to save it to your phone

        2) Your school specific Aetna Student Health webpage

        a.       Go to

        b.      Select your school name from the drop down menu and click on view your school.

        c.       Select the “Print Your ID Card” link

        d.      Enter your school issued Student ID number and DOB in the field and click the “View Card” button.

        e.       Select your ID card

        f.        Select Print your ID Card

        3) Access Aetna Navigator

        a.       Go to

        b.      Enter your school name in the “Find your school” field

        c.       Select the “For Members” link on the left hand side of the welcome page

        d.      Select “Members-only Website”, then click the blue link to “Register/Login” (a new window will open)

        e.       If you have already registered for Aetna Navigator, you will log in from this screen

                  i. If you have not already registered for Aetna Navigator, you can register from this screen by choosing the “Register” option to sign up for Navigator you will need                        the following information:

                                                 1. Aetna ID Number

                                                 2. First and Last Name

                                                 3. Date of Birth

         What should you do when you're sick? Please view this instructional info-graphic.



      • Testing
        You will have a testing hold until you have taken your ELM/EPT placement tests, and they have been scored and recorded. Contact the testing office for more information.


      • Immunization
        You will need to provide proof of Measles and Hepatitis B immunization before you can register for your second semester of classes. If you do not have documentation, visit the SJSU Health Center to get your shots and proof of immunizations. These forms must be submitted to the Student Services Center in person or via fax to 408.924.2050.


      • Academic Advising
        Some students are required to meet an Academic Advisor prior to registration. If you have an Academic Advising Hold, contact your major department to make an advising appointment.


      • Transcript
        You may be required to submit a final transcript or verification to the AARS department (for undergraduates) or to GAPE (for graduate students). Failure to submit transcripts before your deadline can result in loss of admission. Check your MySJSU account for your personal requirements.

5. Full-Time Course Registration is Required

All F-1 students must register for a full-time course load every semester. Full time is considered 9 units per semester for graduate students and 12 units per semester for undergraduates. There are very limited instances when a student could be approved to enroll in less than a full-course load. Only the International Student Advising (ISA) department can grant approval for a student to be under-enrolled and the request must be made in advance of the start of the semester. For more information, come to the International Student Advising (ISA) office for advising before you finalize your class schedule and view online the Reduced Course Load form (pdf).

Course registration is processed online through your MySJSU account. More information regarding registration is available at Registration FAQs. For help with logging on to MySJSU and registering for courses, see the Student Enrollment Guide.

If you are having trouble registering full-time, please come to the International Student Advising (ISA) department for advising before the end of the add deadline.

Please note that:

Students who wish to bring their F-2 dependents (such as a spouse or children) with them to the U.S. will need to complete and submit the I-20 Request for Dependent form. This can be done at anytime during the student's academic program. The following rules and regulations will apply to the F-2 visa holder:


  • F-2 dependents may enroll part-time at degree seeking programs at SEVP approved schools (Note: If an F-2 dependent plans to begin full-time study, her/she must apply to change their status to F-1 and may only study part-time status until the change of status is approved). 
  • F-2 spouses may enroll in avocational or recreational course of study full-time or part-time.
  • F-2 dependents may not work.
  • F-2 dependent children may be enrolled full-time in elementary and secondary school.
  • Report to an International Student and Scholar Services any change in F-2 dependent’s status/personal information within 10 days after the change occurs.

6. Pay Tuition

The due date for your tuition and fees will be based on the day you register. All fees and payment deadlines are posted on your MySJSU account. Please check your MySJSU account for this information. You will not receive payment requests in the mail. If you do not consult your account and pay your fees by the deadline you will be dropped from your classes.

For details about registration fees, see the Bursar’s Office website. SJSU has partnered with flywire (previously known as peerTransfer) to streamline the tuition payment process for our international students.

7. Get your Tower ID Card

Once you register for classes, you can obtain your SJSU ID card, known as the Tower Card. Tower Cards are available at the Cashier's Office located in the Student Services Center. You will be required to show one form of photo ID, such as your passport or driver’s license. For more information, see the Bursar's Office Tower Card page and the Tower Card list of frequently asked questions.

8. Adjust and Enjoy Life in San Jose

Please browse SJSU’s Welcome to California site. The Local Resources FAQ is also a helpful guide to living in San Jose. We are here to welcome you, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions you may have.