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Before Arriving at UW

International Students & ISHIP

UW international students who are F-1 or J-1 visa eligible, temporarily living outside their home country, and who are enrolled and actively engaged in a program of study approved by the appropriate UW Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) are eligible and required to enroll in ISHIP each quarter they are enrolled for classes at UW.

GAIP Eligible Employee Appointments

Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP) is insurance provided to students with eligible appointments as teaching assistants, research assistants, tutors, predoctoral researchers, and other academic student employees. International students who have GAIP-eligible appointments do not have to enroll or pay for ISHIP coverage.

The GAIP program is administered by the UW Benefits Office. They can be contacted at or 206-543-2800.

Verifying GAIP coverage

International students who have employee appointments which may have GAIP coverage should confirm whether they need GAIP or ISHIP.

  • Contact the Benefits Office to confirm whether or not the appointment is GAIP eligible for the quarter. If/when GAIP coverage is confirmed, the GAIP consultant contacts the ISHIP Office and requests cancellation of ISHIP coverage.
  • In the event that ISHIP is already paid, Student Fiscal Services will credit the student account. If ISHIP has not already been paid, the charge will be dropped by Student Fiscal Services. If the department entered the TA/RA/SA appointment into the UW payroll system early enough, ISHIP will be canceled automatically.
  • In the event that annual ISHIP coverage was purchased during a prior quarter and then the student obtains a GAIP-eligible appointment, the student will be credited and receive a check for the remaining quarters in the policy year, minus the administration fee.

Immunization Requirement

First-time UW students must meet the UW Immunization Requirement by uploading documentation via the UW Immunization Requirement Portal. Visit the Immunization Requirement website for detailed instructions, the required UW form, and more.

Wellbeing Immunization Requirements


New students will receive various communications, before and after arriving to campus, from the UW, International Student Services (ISS), ISHIP Office, and LifeWise. It is the student’s responsibility to read through the information and complete any steps or requirements.

Local Mailing Address in MyUW

Students are responsible for maintaining their Local Mailing Address in their profile in MyUW in order for the University, ISS, ISHIP Office, and especially LifeWise to be able to mail vital information and medical documents to the correct address. When making changes, it may take 1-2 business days for updated Local Mailing Address information to reach LifeWise systems. Students who contact LifeWise before their address is updated in their system may update their address directly with LifeWise.

Log into MyUW, click on the Profile link, click on “Change of Address link, and make the necessary changes to the Local Mailing Address section.

MyUW Screenshots

MyUW Profile Link

MyUW Change Address Link

Local Mailing Address Screen

LifeWise Communications

LifeWise Welcome Email provides information on how to create a LifeWise portal account, tools available in the LifeWise portal, how to add dependents (if necessary), how to use insurance card(s), coverage and benefits, and a customized link to access your unique member ID number.

LifeWise SSN/ITIN Request: Additionally, students may receive a letter from LifeWise asking for a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Students only need to respond to the letter when they:

  • have a SSN due to being a student employee on campus
  • have CPT or OPT authorization
  • have an ITIN due to receiving a taxable scholarship or fellowship in the past year

Students who meet any of the criteria above must go to the Office of the University Registrar’s window on the 2nd floor of Schmitz Hall with a photo ID and either their SSN card or ITIN number. The Registration staff will update the student’s record with SSN or ITIN information. The student does not need to send the letter back to LifeWise.

LifeWise 1095 Tax Form: A 1095 tax form is proof of medical coverage. More information about the 1095 form can be found on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

  • When to Keep the 1095: International students who have been in the US longer than 5 years or who may have experienced a change in status from “non-resident alien” to “resident alien” may be required to provide proof of medical coverage to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • No Need to Respond: International students who have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years.

ISHIP Office Communications

Students may receive important updates and information about ISHIP through the weekly emails sent out by International Student Services (ISS). F-1 or J-1 visa status students are automatically subscribed to weekly email updates sent out by ISS. Students who may not be receiving these weekly emails should notify ISS via their Contact ISS form.