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Orientation Information

Below is some general information about orientation for students and scholars. Orientation is mandatory and will provide important information about status maintenance, health insurance, campus resources, and more.

F-1 and J-1 Student Orientation

New students who are studying on an F-1 or J-1 student visa must attend International Student Orientation. Please check your email for the most up-to-date information on Orientation.

J-1 Scholar and J-1 Student Intern Orientation

A J-1 Exchange Visitor Orientation takes place every Thursday morning for incoming J-1 scholars who will begin an exchange visitor program with a Vanderbilt department. This session is intended for newly arrived J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Research Scholar, Professor, Short-term Scholar, and Student Intern categories.

Incoming J-1 scholars will be asked to register in advance for an orientation slot during check-in with ISSS. Orientation takes place each Thursday from 10am to 12:00 noon.

Register here for an orientation session.

Scholar Arrival Checklist

  1. Confirm your departmental check-in process with the hosting academic department. Be sure you have the needed information about the following:
  2. Sign up for a J-1 Scholar Check-in appointment with ISSS to complete your mandatory SEVIS Check-In. Currently, scholar check-in sessions are being completed virtually via Zoom.
    • Make sure to have an electronic copy of the following documents for you and your dependents in advance of your appointment: passport, DS-2019, J-1 visa stamp, I-94 admission record.
    • You will also need your local U.S. address and phone number, and the contact information for your designated emergency contact person.
    • You will be required to complete your J-1 Health Insurance Pledge during your scholar check-in session. Please be sure to have your proof of health insurance that meets the federal requirements for yourself and any dependents who have entered the U.S. with you.
  3. Sign up for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Orientation Session with ISSS. The sessions are held every Thursday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (CST).

Additional Steps if Being Paid by Vanderbilt

  1. If you will be paid by Vanderbilt, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. Bring your passport, DS-2019, and Vanderbilt offer letter to the Social Security Administration which is located at 120 Athens Way, Nashville, 37228. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 9am to 3pm. Wednesdays: 9am to 12pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.
    • Due to COVID-19 the Social Security Administration Office is not currently open to the public except by appointment. Please contact us ( for information on how to request an appointment.
  2. Confirm with your hiring department or supervisor that your access request for the GLACIER Tax Database has been initiated.
  3. Confirm the date and time of your scheduled New Hire Orientation to learn about health insurance plans and benefits.