Arrival Information

Health Insurance

All J-1 Scholars and visa dependents are required to have UW-Madison approved health insurance coverage the duration of their J-1 program. J-1 Scholars must purchase SHIP for themselves and any visa dependents or file a qualifying waiver.

Individual and private insurance plans (including Marketplace 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 You may also visit their office at 333 East Campus Mall on the 7th floor during business hours

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.

Please bring a copy of your current DS-2019 forms and passports for both you and your visa dependents.

Employee Sponsored Health Insurance (SGH)

Scholars who have a paid appointment from UW Madison may qualify for employee 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.

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.

Social Security Numbers

A Social Security Number (SSN) is only assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Work is defined as employment for pay. If you will have paid employment in your sponsoring UW -Madison department you must apply for an SSN. If you have a zero dollar or unpaid appointment you will not be able to apply for an SSN.

You may apply for the SSN at the Social Security Administration Building at 6011 Odana Road in Madison, WI. Please wait to apply for the SSN until at least 10 days have passed from the day you registered as a new scholar with IFSS. IFSS must activate your J-1 program in SEVIS before you can apply.

Bring the following documents to apply:

  • Passport
  • I-94
  • DS-2019
  • Appointment offer letter from your UW department

Many private service providers in the U.S. (mobile phone and cable companies) will ask for SSNs when you apply for their services. Legally no company can require you to provide them with a SSN. If you are not eligible for an SSN you may need to explain to the company that you are in a non-immigrant status in the U.S. and are not able to provide them this number.

Glacier and International Tax

Anyone receiving taxable income from a U.S. source must file taxes each year. If you have a paid appointment in your UW Madison department you are required to have a GLACER account and file taxes for the duration of your paid appointment. IFSS does not process or advise on taxation so please refer to the GLACIER team if you have questions.

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All foreign national employees being paid or receiving funds through UW Madison payroll must create and maintain a GLACIER individual record for payroll and taxation purposes. This includes Resident Aliens and Non Resident Aliens. If you are required to have a GLACIER account it will be automatically created for you when your information is entered in the UW payroll system by your department. The log in information will be sent to you in two emails. If you do not receive these emails and you believe you should have an account please contact the GLACIER team at


Built into the GLACIER system is tax preparation software. This software can assist you with filing your annual U.S. taxes. Filing taxes is requirement in the U.S. Using the GLACIER prep software is not required. If you choose to file your taxes without the prep software you can file your taxes on your own or hire a company to file them for you. For more information on taxes for foreign nationals in the U.S. please visit Tax Filing Resources on the OHR webpage.