Arrival Information

Welcome to the University of Wisconsin–Madison! We are happy you arrived. We hope your time in Madison is productive, rewarding and enjoyable.

At International Faculty and Staff Services (IFSS), we are happy to provide assistance to you during your program. Your host department will also serve as a valuable resource during your stay. Please review the below information to ensure your program is started smoothly–there are a few items you will need to complete to be compliant with  your J-1 status. You can use this checklist to help you get started.

Health Insurance

All J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents are required to have UW-Madison approved health insurance coverage for the duration of their J-1 program. J-1 Scholars must purchase SHIP for themselves and any visa dependents or file a qualifying waiver. Failure to maintain compliance with the UW-Madison insurance requirement can jeopardize your J-1 program status. Program requests (such as extensions or travel signatures) may also be denied by the International Faculty Staff Services office until SHIP compliance is achieved.

Individual and private insurance plans (including Marketplace and travel plans) DO NOT qualify.

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Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

All unpaid J-1 scholars and their J-2 are required to enroll in the SHIP insurance the duration of their J-1 program. Inquiries about the billing cycles, coverage of services, and other insurance information should be directed to the SHIP office at The SHIP Office currently has limited in-person access due to building renovations. Please contact them via email for assistance or to set up an appointment.

You must register yourself and any J-2 dependents within 31 days of either the DS-2019 start date or entry date (whichever is later). If you miss this deadline, there is a $100 administrative fee.


Employer Sponsored Health Insurance (State Group Health (SGH))

Scholars who have a paid appointment from UW–Madison may qualify for employer sponsored health insurance. Please contact your department administrator or HR representative for information on how to sign up for employee benefits.

Please file a waiver with the SHIP office if you sign up for employee sponsored health insurance.

If your J-2 dependents are arriving in the U.S. after you, please refer to this chart to learn about when you should enroll your J-2 dependents in state group health coverage. If you have questions regarding this, reach out to


Mandatory J-1 Orientation

All J-1 scholars are required to join one of our orientations. Orientations are currently hosted every Tuesday at 10 am over Zoom.

Scholars will receive a link to the orientation once they have completed the IFSS check-in process.

If you are not able to attend orientation due to a teaching conflict, please email our office to schedule an alternate time.


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For helpful information to refer to throughout your time here at UW–Madison, please view our During your Program page.