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 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 "On-line/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 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 Blackboard App includes the ability to access courses, view course content, take tests, participate in discussions, and join Collaborate sessions.
  • Link: http://coursessupport.gmu.edu/coursetools.cfm?categoryname=Bb%20Mobile

You must withdraw from courses during the drop/add period (Final day Spring 2020: Wednesday, February 5, 2020).  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 (http://oips.gmu.edu/what-to-pack/)
Chapter 2: Travel to the US (http://oips.gmu.edu/travel-to-the-us/)
Chapter 3: Airport and public transportation (http://oips.gmu.edu/transportation/)
Chapter 4: Course registration: http://oips.gmu.edu/course-registration/
Chapter 5: American classroom culture: http://oips.gmu.edu/american-classroom-culture/
Chapter 6: Adjusting to Life at Mason: http://oips.gmu.edu/adjusting-to-life-at-mason/
Chapter 7: Managing your academic workload: http://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: Monday, August 26, 2019.
  • Drop off your immunization documents at the Immunization Office located in SUB I, room 2347/2348.

Step 7: Visit the OIPS Welcome Desk and Attend Orientation

OIPS Welcome Desk

  • Once you have arrived in the US, you will need to complete several tasks before your classes begin.  If you are not sure how or where to start, please visit the OIPS Welcome Desk on the fourth floor of SUB I between Monday, January 6 and Friday, January 17, 11 am - 4 pm (the OIPS Welcome Desk is closed on Saturdays and Sundays).  Our OIPS Welcome Desk Assistant, will help you to find the right resources and answer any questions you may have.

Info Sessions

  • In August, the OIPS team will host a number of info sessions to help you with your transition. Click here to learn more.


  • Date: Thursday, January 16, 2020
  • Time: 10am - 5pm
  • Venue: JC Dewberry Hall

Click here to view the schedule. Exchange students are automatically registered for orientation. If you are unable to attend the orientation due to late arrival, please contact Jonathan Carmona at jcarmon2@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, 2019, 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.

Step 10: Complete the Module Rules, Rules, Rules!

The Blackboard organization “International Student Launchpad” is a virtual one-stop shop for F-1 and J-1 students.  The Blackboard organization is structured like an online course and consists of several instructional modules.  Note that the word “module” does not refer to computer programming but rather to an educational component or section of a course.

The section “Know the Rules” features the instructional module “Rules, Rules, Rules!”  This module will educate incoming international students about important rules and regulations, including Immigration Compliance, The Honor Code and Student Conduct.

Incoming international students will be enrolled in this module and receive a hand-out with instructions on how to access the International Student Launchpad during the International Student Check-in. The quizzes will open on Friday, September 13, 2019. All students are required to complete the module “Rules, Rules, Rules!” by Friday, September 27, 2019.

A hold will be put on the account of students who fail to complete the module by the deadline.  Students who have a hold on their account will be unable to register for classes for the next semester and/or request a transcript from the University Registrar.

Useful Links

You might also be interested in the following information: