International Students

Medical Requirements

You are required by law to fill out a medical form that includes your medical history and serves as a proof of immunization. We recommend you get all the required vaccinations and have a doctor in your home country fill out the form.

The state of Massachusetts requires all students to have medical insurance. Unless you opt out and obtain alternate medical insurance, you will automatically be enrolled in the MIT Student Extended Health Plan. If you intend to opt out, please ensure that your insurance plan adequately covers you in the United States.

We also recommend that you purchase travel insurance for you and your accompanying family members to cover all sickness/accident incidents from the moment you land. For more information, email MIT’s Health Plan Office at


MIT’s International Student Office is a great resource for immigration information, including on applying for a visa, maintaining legal status, and obtaining medical insurance.

Contact Assistant Director Maria Brennan ( for help with visa issues for you and your dependents.

We recommend you bring the following documentation with you when you fly into the United States to start the SDM program. Pack them in your carry-on baggage — they will be inspected at your port of entry. Please do not laminate any documents.

Immigration Documentation Checklist

  • Passport stamped with your student visa
  • I-20 issued by the university (check to make sure it is signed by the MIT International Students Office)
  • Admit letter
  • I-94 card (issued to you on the aircraft)
  • Documentation of funding (if applicable) supporting the I-20

General Documentation Checklist

We recommend you bring hard copies of the following documents with you:

  • Bachelor/graduate degree certificates
  • Original academic records
  • Financial documents, such as bank statements, to provide documentation of funding as needed
  • Bank/personal check for payment of tuition fees or electronic wiring confirmation, whichever is applicable (click here for instructions for electronic wiring)
  • Passport-size photographs
  • MIT medical form
  • International drivers’ license (for temporary driving authorization)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

This list is not designed to be exhaustive.

Things to Pack

You may want to bring the following personal items with you to MIT.

Everyday Clothing

Everyday clothing such as jeans, T-shirts, sneakers, etc. can be brought from your home country. Note that the typical U.S. laundry system dries clothes at high temperatures, which can damage clothing. So, make sure that the clothes you bring are of really good quality.

Business Attire

There will be an SDM photo session during August for which you will need to wear formal business attire. Bring at least one suit with you, as well as a good pair of shoes.

Winter Wear

Winter in Massachusetts can be bitter cold and snowy. We recommend that you bring:

  • Winter coat
  • Gloves
  • Snowboots
  • Hat or earmuffs
  • Sweaters
  • Scarves

Ethnic Wear

MIT is a melting pot of different cultures in the world, and life here includes a lot of social activities that highlight these cultures. While not absolutely necessary, we do recommend that you bring one set of ethnic wear for social occasions.


Given the weight restrictions imposed by various airlines, we recommend that you buy your bedding here. There are many stores, including Wal-Mart, Ikea, Target, and others that offer good products at reasonable prices. You may need the following:

  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Comforter set/blankets/duvet


While international editions of books used in class could have different content, please feel free to bring any books that you feel will be useful to you. We also suggest that you contact current students for an up-to-date list of recommended books/textbooks. Please bear in mind that the reading list is likely to vary depending on the courses you take.


Please bring a supply of any medications you may need. You can consult a doctor here for the medicine’s equivalent once you are enrolled in a health plan.

Upon Arrival

Resolve Your Housing Status

Your time at MIT will be extremely hectic, so we highly recommend that you arrange housing before you arrive in August. Visit the housing page to learn more.

Make an Appointment With the International Students Office

The U.S. government mandates that all international students attend an information session. You will not be able to register for courses or obtain your MIT ID card until you complete this mandatory session. Visit the site of the International Students Office to learn more.

In addition, the International Students Office will provide clear information on the following:

  • Eligibility for Social Security number (Students traveling to the United States on an F-1 visas are not eligible for Social Security numbers unless they have jobs on campus)
  • Obtaining a Massachusetts Liquor ID
  • Taxes, including Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Future work eligibility

Obtain a State ID or Massachusetts Driver’s License

You will need to carry proof of identification with you at all times, and these are better choices than your passport. We suggest you store your passport in a safe place.

The options include:

Open a Bank Account

SDM does not recommend any particular bank. However, the following banks are located on or near campus: