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What to Do If . . .


You need to add or drop a class but have an ISSS hold?

The ISSS hold means that you will not be able to drop below a full course of study without permission from our office. You should be able to add classes with no problem. The purpose of the hold is to prevent you from dropping below full-time and unknowingly putting your immigration status in jeopardy. Remember as an international student you are required by immigration to maintain a full course of study each semester. Please review you requirements for maintaining F-1 status or if applicable J-1 status.

You want to find a place to study on campus?

There are 6 libraries on campus that offer quiet study areas.

  • Some study rooms can be reserved online or by phone in advance.
  • Some carrels are open seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Some classrooms in Central Library, Divinity Library, and Science and Engineering Library are open as study space when there are no classes in session.
  • Some carrels in Central library and Science and Engineering Library can be reserved at service desks.

More information is available at, and

Please note that food may or may not be allowed in some areas. Some study areas are only open to specific students.

You need to make copies or print a document?

Copying and printing services are available by VUprint, which allows you to connect commodore cash account for automatic payment. There are many printing locations on campus, including libraries, campus labs, common areas and housing areas.

There are also printing services available at Vanderbilt University Services both on campus (268 Rand Hall) and off campus. Please visit here for more information.

You need tutoring assistance for a class(es)?

1-to-1 Writing/Speaking Consultations at the Vanderbilt University English Language Center (ELC)

The English Language Center (ELC) offers free 1-to-1 Writing/Speaking Consultations that are designed to meet the speaking and writing needs of Vanderbilt University students, faculty, and scholars whose first language is not English.

A&S Tutoring offers individual, appointment-based assistance to all currently enrolled Vanderbilt students who wish to enhance their academic performance in introductory classes offered by the College of Arts and Science in the following departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, and a number of Foreign Languages. Services are free of charge. Please visit for more information and appointment.

In addition, The Writing Studio offers all students the opportunity to meet individually with trained consultants to talk about any writing project or concern. Please visit for more information or to schedule an appointment.


You want to find on-campus employment?

You can find information on finding on-campus employment on the Student Employment website.  You can also go directly to to look for on-campus employment.

Be careful when looking on the job postings through as not all jobs posted are considered on-campus and some jobs are only for Federal Work Study students which does not apply to international students.

You want helping finding a job after graduation?

If you are an undergraduate student you can find assistance with career counseling from The Center for Student Professional Development.  If you are a graduate student you’ll need to seek assistance from the career center in your school (Owen, Law School, Peabody, etc.). There are also various websites to look for career employment.  Click here for links to these websites as well as the Center for Student Professional Development.

You want to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?

You can find detailed instructions on the process for applying for a social security number (SSN) on our website, here.

You need help with the GLACIER tax system?

The International Tax Office (ITO) is the entity at Vanderbilt which can help you with GLACIER. ITO has walk-in advising hours on Tuesdays from 11:00am-1:00pm in Suite 109 of the Student Life Center. Their office is located in the Student Life Center in Suite 110.

You want to work at Vanderbilt on an H-1B visa?

The Office of Employee Immigration Services manages all H1-B visa applications for the university.  Information can be found on their website or you can email them at:


Your visa has expired and you want to travel outside the U.S.?

ISSS recommend you to plan ahead to renew your visa if you plan to travel outside the USA with the expired visa.  More information on visa renewal and visa wait times can be found on our website.

You want to travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean?

Just like travelling to any other country outside of the U.S. you will need to come to ISSS to get a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019. You will want to check with the embassy website for the country you are visiting to see if you are required to get a visa. Click here for more information regarding travel. If your U.S. visa is expired when you plan your trip to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean islands you can still re-enter the U.S. within 30 days as long as you have a valid I-20/DS-2019 and valid I-94. Click here for more information on Automatic Visa Revalidation.

You forgot to get your I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel before leaving the U.S.?

ISSS can mail you a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature.  You will need to email requesting a new I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature and let us know to what address the new document should be mailed to.  Keep in mind that ISSS will mail your document via regular post (USPS).  If you need your document faster or shipped via FedEx or DHL please check our Document Mailing Options website and read the instructions for Express Mail Service.  For additional information on travel visit our Travel page.

Your I-94 record needs to be corrected?

After speaking with an ISSS advisor about this issue, it will most likely be necessary for you to take a trip to the Nashville Port of Entry to have your I-94 corrected. The address and directions to the Nashville Port of Entry can be found here.

You keep getting stopped at the Port of Entry and questioned?

If you continually have problems at the Port of entry, you can use the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS Trip) to submit an inquiry. People who have gone through US-VISIT processing, can also submit a redress request to US-VISIT.

Transportation & Driving

You want a driver’s license?

In order to drive a car, you have to get a driver license issued by the state of Tennessee – even if you have an international driver license. To obtain one, you must pass a vision test, a written test examining your knowledge of Tennessee’s traffic rules, and a road test (driving test). To help you study for the written test, the Driver’s License Manual is available online. Instructions for applying for a driver’s license can be found on our website.

You have problems renewing your driver’s license?

When you submit your application for a driver’s license, the agency must verify your immigration status in a system called SAVE. Sometimes the system encounters technical programs or errors in a record. If you experience an issue getting your driver’s license, click here for instructions.

You want to rent a car?

There are many car rental agencies in the area for you to rent a car from. It can be helpful when you’re new to Nashville and looking for a place to live. Each rental company may have their own requirements (e.g. minimum age), which you must satisfy. We suggest calling a few different companies for the best rates. You can find a list on our website.

You want to buy a car?

Online search engines are a good place to start your search when looking to buy a car. Websites like can help you search for many different types of cars from many different sellers that are close to where you live. This way, you can compare similar cars from different locations quickly. After you find a specific car, or small list of specific cars that interest you, it is a good idea to contact the seller or dealer and visit them in person.

Be careful when purchasing a car from an individual on Craigslist or through another ad, make sure that you check the car over well and if possible take it to a mechanic to check for possible issues.

Campus Life

You are not getting emails from ISSS?

Email and let us know that you are not receiving our emails and provide us with a valid email address. Filling out our Contact Information form is another way to be sure we have all your most up to date information. Please remember that any address changes need to be submitted to ISSS within 10 days per immigration regulation.

You want a Vanderbilt ID Card (Commodore Card, Student ID Card)?

Those new to Vanderbilt will want to get a Commodore Card/Student ID Card. Your initial card is free (lost or stolen cards can be replaced for a fee). Dependents can also get an ID card for $10. You can visit the Commodore Card office to get your card. Make sure you bring your I-20/DS-2019, passport, and a copy of your I-94.

You need to check the dates for the breaks or the last day of class?

The Academic Calendar is available online.  Please note that there are multiple calendars available because schedules vary depending on your school.

I want to stay in the dorms during official breaks such as Fall Break, Thanksgiving, Winter Break or Spring Break?

If you plan to stay on campus during a break, you will need to register with the Office of Housing and Residential Education.  Registration for break access is typically 1-2 weeks before the break.

You want your family to come for graduation?

You can request an invitation letter from ISSS if your family is coming to attend your graduation ceremony. Please check here for the form.

You want to study abroad?

The Global Education Office (GEO) has resources available for you to research study abroad programs. It might be helpful to start off by discussing your goals with a study abroad advisor at GEO, who can point you in the right direction and perhaps save you some time in your search. Study Abroad Advisors at GEO have walk-in advising hours and have divided up the world by country.

You have an interest in celebrating women and empowering all?

The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center leads co-curricular campus initiatives related to women’s and gender issues, creating innovative opportunities to make the Vanderbilt community safer, more inclusive and equitable.

The Women’s Center provides resources and coordinates programs on various issues including: body image and eating disorders, gender equity, online bullying, parenting, and sexual health.  More information and a calendar of events can be found on the Women’s Center website.

Living in U.S.

You want a cell phone

There are many companies near campus that offer cell phone services: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. A Social Security Number is not required to have a contracted phone with most companies. You also have the option to not have a contract. Many companies offer a list of phones as “pre-paid”, so you pay for the service in advance.

Bring your documents with you when you go to buy your phone (I-20/DS-2019, passport, I-94).
Do your research of the best plans for your needs and don’t sign a contract until you are sure it is what you want. Vanderbilt does receive discounts from some vendors:

You need to find an apartment?

ISSS has many resources on our website to help you find Housing! Check out

You want to find a roommate?

Here are some ideas for finding a roommate:

  1. Post something to the ISSS Facebook page.
  2. Ask fellow students in your academic department
  3. Post signs on campus bulletin boards

You want to legally change your name?

There are many reasons to change your name. If you have been recently married you may use your marriage certificate to notify the necessary government agencies as well as the many private institutions. This can be a difficult and time consuming process to locate all of the forms, fill them out and locating the proper offices to file them with. There are websites that can help you with this process:

The name on your I-20/DS-2019 should match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, this change should be reflected on your I-20/DS-2019. Conversely, if you want a different name on your I-20/DS-2019, ISSS will wait for you to change your passport first, before updating the I-20/DS-2019.

You want to get married?

You can find specific instructions on how to obtain a marriage license on our website at:

You want to get a divorce?

You can find information on filing for a divorce on our website at:

You moved and need to update your address?

All change of address should be submitted to ISSS within 10 days of any move as per Immigration regulation 8 C.F.R. 265.1. All current students should also update their address with Vanderbilt University by logging on to YES. All staff and faculty should also update their address with Vanderbilt by logging onto C2HR

You want to ship a lot of stuff back to your home country?

Here is a list of shipping companies that ship internationally from Nashville:
Craters & Freighters, 131 Jones Boulevard, Lavergne, TN 37086, Phone 615-777-7447,

Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Corporate Office, 550 W. 135th Street, Gardena, CA 90248, 562-408-6677,
Lilly and Associates International Transportation and Logistics, www.shiplilly.com1-888-464-5459

International Sea & Air Shipping,, 1-866-780-3768.

You’ll need to contact each company to get a price quote to see which company you should choose. ISSS cannot recommend one company over the other.

You want to advocate for international education?

Connect with students from around the world to share questions, tips, and stories about studying abroad through “Connecting Our World”, created by NAFSA” Association of International Educators.  Help spread the message about what a meaningful experience studying in another country can be!  Like the Facebook page too!  Explore International Education

You received a letter from the Selective Service System?

If you receive a letter from the Selective Service System.  Please complete the form marking the exemption statement that you are a “non-immigrant alien”.  Please look Selective Service System Sample for an example.


You had something stolen like wallet, passport, backpack or purse?

Go to the VUPD and report your item stolen. If available, you will need to provide copies and/or a description of the stolen item. You will be issued a police report detailing the incident. Don’t forget to make an extra copy of the report for your own records.
For a lost or stolen passport click here are the important steps you will need to follow.
To report a theft click here.

If your wallet, backpack or purse are stolen try to make a list of all items inside. You will want to cancel any active bank/credit cards you have and request new ones. If your driver’s license is stolen contact the DMV for a replacement card.
Click here for risk reduction tips to help protect your safety.

You are being harassed by your professor or supervisor?

First, you should come discuss this issue with an ISSS Advisor. ISSS will keep your situation confidential. Then, ISSS can help you file a complaint. The Complaint Procedure at Vanderbilt is as follows: Any member of the University community who experiences harassment on the basis of his or her race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression should immediately seek assistance through the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD). In addition, any member of the University community who experiences retaliation after filing or encouraging one to file a complaint of discrimination, participating in an investigation of discrimination, or opposing discrimination should immediately seek assistance through the EAD. The EAD will document the details of the complaint and will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations. The EAD will explain the process to all parties involved and notify them of the need for confidentiality to be maintained throughout. Where appropriate, the EAD will facilitate remedial action to protect the parties involved in the process. All pertinent documents will be reviewed and appropriate witnesses will be interviewed. Following an objective evaluation of the information gathered, the EAD will notify the parties of the outcome of the investigation. Where appropriate, the EAD will facilitate a resolution.

You or someone you know feels threatened or is experiences personal violence?

Project Safe provides resources and support for students, staff and faculty who have been affected by power-based personal violence (sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and identity-based targeting).  They can answer questions and help connect you to resources on and off campus.  A Victim Resource Specialist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the Project Safe Hotline at 615-322-SAFE (7233).

If you wish to file a complaint, you can contact Project Safe for assistance or directly contact the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD) or Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD).

If you are in immediate danger, contact VUPD.  The phone number to use in case of an emergency is 911 or 615-421-1911.  For non-emergencies, call 615-322-2745 or 2-2745 from an on campus phone line.

You want to be alerted to campus emergencies on your mobile phone?

AlertVU provides information about imminent threats or dangers to the Vanderbilt community, such as tornadoes or an active shooter on campus.  All Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff are automatically signed up to receive alerts via their Vanderbilt email addresses.  You can also update your information with AlertVU to receive alerts on your phone.  The AlertVU website has suggestions on what to do in case of emergencies on campus.

You need to report an immigration scam?

If you suspect that you have been contacted by an immigration scam, or if you have been a victim of a scam, you should report it immediately to ISSS.  Scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and they can also be reported to the state of Tennessee.  Information on how to report and common scams to be aware of can be found on the USCIS website.

Health & Wellness

You need to find a doctor?

The doctor you choose depends mainly on your insurance plan. You should be able to access a list of doctors from your insurance provider who take your type of insurance. They should also have a list of specialists. You should be able to find this information on the website of your insurance provider. If you need help finding this information you can ask an ISSS Advisor for help. To find a doctor at Vanderbilt click here.

You feel homesick and need someone to talk to?

Many students find it helpful to talk to the counselors at the University Counseling Center when they are homesick or have other stresses and worries.  Counselors are available to meet individually with students and also hold group discussions.  Your conversations at the UCC are confidential.  You can learn more about the various services provided by the UCC here.

You want to have a baby?

If prenatal care is not covered by your insurance because it is considered a pre-existing condition, there are some resources that may be available to assist you. If you meet income qualifications, you can be eligible for prenatal care through CoverKids, a program of the Tennessee state government.

Those with limited financial resources may find a need to seek out lower cost health care options.  There are some clinics and organizations in Nashville that offer services at reduced cost, usually based on your income.

*Please note that F and J non-immigrants are not eligible for federal assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.*

Shade Tree Clinic –  Free clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students, including prenatal care
Siloam Family Health Center – Provides care for people without insurance
Vanderbilt Medical Center Patient Financial Assistance Program – VUMC patients with financial need may be eligible for a discount on services.  For information about this assistance, call 615-936-3938, Monday-Friday 8am-4pm

Those with limited financial resources may find a need to seek out lower cost health care options.  There are some clinics and organizations in Nashville that offer services at reduced cost, usually based on your income.
*Please note that F and J non-immigrants are not eligible for federal assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.*
Shade Tree Clinic –  Free clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students, including prenatal care
Siloam Family Health Center – Provides care for people without insurance
Vanderbilt Medical Center Patient Financial Assistance Program – VUMC patients with financial need may be eligible for a discount on services.  For information about this assistance, call 615-936-3938, Monday-Friday 8am-4pm



You are looking for resources as a parent or for a breastfeeding welcoming space on campus?

The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center has gathered a list of on and off campus resources for parents at Vanderbilt.  They have a specific guide for students with children.  There is also a list of welcoming and supportive spaces on campus for breastfeeding or pumping.

You have a disability and need to find services?

The Disability Services Program (DSP) is responsible for coordinating disability support services and monitoring the accessibility of programs, activities and buildings for the Vanderbilt University and Medical Center communities, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The DSP staff assists departments with providing reasonable accommodations for students, faculty and staff with disabilities; ensures that Vanderbilt programs and events are accessible to the Vanderbilt community and visitors; monitors the accessibility of the university and medical center buildings; investigates disability discrimination complaints; and provides training on disability related issues.  Their office is located in the Baker Building Suite 108. Phone Number 615-322-4705.

You or someone close to you needs support after a cancer diagnosis?

Gilda’s Club Nashville, an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community is dedicated to providing support, education and hope to all people affected by any type of cancer, including the family members and friends of those diagnosed. Support groups, healthy lifestyle workshops, social activities, educational lectures and invaluable resources are evidenced-based and/or evidence-informed and are provided free of charge. o learn more about Gilda’s Club, go to

You have questions about gender and identity?

The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life (LGBTQI) is a center for resources, information, and support about gender and sexuality.  The office serves all members of the Vanderbilt community and offers educational, cultural, and social opportunities.  Learn more about the resources and programs, and see a calendar of events on the Office of LGBTQI Life website.

You have a friend who may need alcohol or drug related help?

The Office of Wellness Programs & Alcohol Education is a resource for all students and provides many services.  The services include support for students in recovery and assistance for living an alcohol-free lifestyle or to reduce alcohol/other drug use. If you want to help a friend, visit their webpage for advice.