Undergraduate Exchange Students

There are 10 key steps you need to take from now until your first class.  It is important that you carefully review each step so that you do not miss any important deadlines or requirements.  To get started, click on the down arrow in front of each step.

Step 1: Prepare for International Student Check-In

All new international students in J-1 status are required to complete the New International Student Check-in Form for J-1 Students upon arrival in the US in August and January.  This is the key step to let Mason know you have arrived. Not doing so could cause problems with a variety of administrative requirements.

Link to form: https://oips.gmu.edu/international-student-check-in-form-for-j-1-students/

Step 2: Activate your Patriot Pass and Masonlive Account

Patriot Pass is your online credential that allows you to access a variety of Mason online systems, such as Patriot Web (course registration, tuition bill, etc) and Blackboard (a web-based learning management system that allows faculty to add resources for students).

Patriot Pass uses your NetID (also called your username) which is your personal online identifier. Your NetID is the portion of your Mason e-mail address in front of the @ symbol. For example, the Mason NetID for jdoe@masonlive.gmu.edu would be jdoe. Your Mason NetID is not the same as your G Number. Your NetID along with a password that you create make up your Patriot Pass credentials.

To sign up for Patriot Pass, change your password, get a new password, or get more information, go to:

  1. http://strongpassword.gmu.edu
  2. Click on “I’m new to Patriot Pass
  3. Enter your G Number and PIN/Claim Code**

** Your default claim code is your 6-digit birthdate in the format of mmddyy (month month day day year year).

To activate your Masonlive email account, go to:

  1. https://password.gmu.edu/
  2. Click on the link in step 5

Note: you need to activate your Patriot Pass before you can activate your Masonlive email account.

If you experience any trouble activating your Patriot Pass or Masonlive Account, please call the ITU Support Center at 703-993-8870 or email support@gmu.edu.

Step 3: Register for Classes

To register for classes, go to http://patriotweb.gmu.edu

Prior to orientation/course registration, we recommend you review the following information:

1. Review the Course Registration Guide

2. Review the rule "Full-Time Enrollment Requirement"

  • Immigration regulations require international students in J-1 status to take a full course of study in the Fall and Spring. Undergraduate students MUST register for a minimum of 12 credits in Fall and Spring.
  • Do not count any fully online courses towards your full-time status.  J-1 students can only register for a fully online course after registering for a minimum of 12 undergraduate or 9 graduate in-person courses.  Online courses are marked as "distance education" in the Course Catalog and the venue of the course is marked as "Online/Internet NET" or "TBA." Please note that online courses are different from hybrid courses.   In a hybrid course, the professor and students will meet both on-campus and online.  International students can take as many hybrid courses as they wish.

3.  Download the app Blackboard App for Students on your smartphone

  • Blackboard App for Students is a free mobile and tablet-optimized app for iOS, Android, and Microsoft. This app gives Mason students access to their Blackboard course content on a variety of mobile devices. The first release of the Blackboard App includes the ability to access courses, view the course content, take tests, participate in discussions, and join Collaborate sessions.
  • Link: https://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/how-to-install-the-blackboard-mobile-learn-app/

You must withdraw from courses during the drop/add period (Final day for Spring 2024: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, for 50% refund).  If you fail to drop your classes, you are responsible for any fees incurred. In addition, contact the Student Health Insurance Office at insure@gmu.edu to cancel your health insurance.  If you fail to do so, you are responsible for any fees incurred (including late fees).

Step 4: Explore International Student Launchpad

The "New to Mason" guide is now available on the OIPS website!  Click on the links to learn more:

Chapter 1: What to pack (https://oips.gmu.edu/what-to-pack/)
Chapter 2: Travel to the US (https://oips.gmu.edu/travel-to-the-us/)
Chapter 3: Airport and public transportation (https://oips.gmu.edu/transportation/)
Chapter 4: Course registration: https://oips.gmu.edu/course-registration/
Chapter 5: American classroom culture: https://oips.gmu.edu/american-classroom-culture/
Chapter 6: Adjusting to Life at Mason: https://oips.gmu.edu/adjusting-to-life-at-mason/
Chapter 7: Managing your academic workload: https://oips.gmu.edu/managing-your-academic-workload/

Step 5: Move into your Residence Hall

Contact the Global Education Office at intlex@gmu.edu for information about on-campus housing and move-in dates.  Usually students can move in the day prior to orientation.

Step 6: Pick up your Mason ID and Submit your Immunization Records

  • Pick up your Mason ID card.  To learn more, go to https://masonid.gmu.edu/about-mason-id/ 
  • All Mason students born after December 31, 1956, must  provide proof of compliance with immunization requirements mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia and George Mason University.  To learn about immunization requirements and translation resources, go to Student Health Services website or send an email to immunize@gmu.edu.  The immunizations forms should be submitted by the deadline:Thursday, January 4, 2024. 
  • Drop off your immunization documents at the Immunization Office located in SUB I, room 2347/2348. 

Step 7: Attend Orientation

All new undergraduate students in J-1 status are required to attend the on-campus orientation on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at the Fairfax campus. Sessions include Immigration Compliance, the Honor Code, and Campus Resources.

Welcome to Mason and we are very excited for you to be joining our dynamic international student community!

Questions? Email OIPS at oipsprog@gmu.edu or the Global Education Office at intlex@gmu.edu

Step 8: Complete International Student Check-In

All new international students are required to check in with the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS). This is the key step to let Mason know you have arrived. Not doing so could cause problems with a variety of administrative requirements.

Things to bring to check-in:

Step 9: Pay Fees

1. Pay health insurance, housing charges and meal plan (if you were assigned housing without a kitchen) by Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 4:30 pm.

  • Cashier’s Office: SUB I, room 1501.
  • George Mason has partnered with Flywire to streamline the tuition payment process for our international students. Flywire allows students to pay from any country and any bank. They also offer excellent foreign exchange rates, allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money, compared to traditional banks. You will be able to track the progress of your payment throughout the transfer process via a student dashboard and you will also be notified via email when your payment is received by Mason. If you need to make an international payment, please visit Flywire.
  • Payment installment plans: http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu.