International Students

All J-1 visa students are required under Federal mandate to have health insurance in order to attend classes. George Mason University requires J-1 and F-1 visa status students to have health insurance coverage under University Policy #6002. The Insurance Office will automatically enroll F-1 and J-1 visa students into the school selected health plan.

Students on any other visa type, refer to the insurance information for Domestic Students. Visiting faculty and scholars with a J-1 visa are eligible to enroll. Contact the Insurance Office for enrollment.

Visit the Insurance webpage for information on enrolling eligible dependents.

Premium Payment

International students pay their health insurance premium through George Mason University via Patriot Web. The premium is charged to your tuition account.

In the fall, a student is charged the “Fall Only” premium. In the spring, a student is charged with the “Spring/Summer” premium. Any student new to the University in the summer, please contact the Insurance Office for a fee assessment and enrollment.

Payment Due Date

The payment due date for the health insurance premium is the same date as your Tuition Due Date. For payment due dates, contact the Student Accounts Office.

The insurance premium is deducted from all payments received by the University before funds are applied to tuition or other charges.

Insurance Waiver

An international student who has a qualifying health insurance policy and wants to be exempted from the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan must apply for an insurance waiver. You must read the waiver requirements before applying for an insurance waiver/exemption. Your insurance policy must meet the criteria listed in the Waiver Eligibility Requirements.

You may only apply for an insurance waiver from the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan if you have not filed any medical claims from any healthcare provider for services. This includes Student Health Services and services such as immunizations. International students must check-in with the Office of International Programs and Services before they are able to apply for an insurance waiver.

Waiver Application Deadlines

You must apply for an insurance waiver each Academic Year; it is processed annually. Your insurance waiver will NOT be applied to the next Academic Year.

You must submit your waiver application by the final listed deadline. Only NEW students at Mason for Spring and Summer semesters may submit their waiver applications as listed below.

Submission Begins
Final Deadline
Fall Waiver Application
July 26, 2023 September 15, 2023
NEW Student Spring Waiver Application
December 4, 2023 February 15, 2024
NEW Student Summer Waiver Application Your payment due date Your payment due date

Waiver Eligibility Requirements

An international student who has a qualifying health insurance policy and wants to be exempted from the Mason Student Health Insurance Plan, must have a health insurance policy that meets the following criteria.

An international student may apply for a waiver/exemption:

A. The student has a scholarship or government sponsored program, that provides an U.S. health insurance plan for the student and is Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant. National health coverage and/or travel insurance do not meet these criteria.


B. The student or student’s spouse or parent, has an U.S. employer who provides health insurance for the student and the plan is Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant.

The qualifying policy (under A or B above) must meet all following criteria:

  1. An annual deductible not exceeding $500;
  2. The policy must be valid until August 15, 2024;
  3. The cost of medical evacuation ($50,000) and repatriation ($25,000) back to the student’s home country.

Waivers take about 2 weeks to process. Waiver applications will be audited by the Student Health Insurance Plan provider. Student Health Services reserves the right to make a final waiver decision. To verify approval of your application, please check your Patriot Web account. If your application was approved, the balance of the Mason student health insurance premium will be $0.

How to Submit Your Waiver

  1. Make sure your personal health insurance plan meets the Waiver Eligibility Requirements.
  2. Email the Student Health Insurance office at In the email, include your full name, Mason G#, and say that you are requesting a hard waiver for the health insurance plan.
  3. Do not send any attachments in the first email.
  4. Insurance office staff will respond to your email within 3-5 business days about the waiver process and information needed.
  5. Waiver applications must be submitted by the application deadline.

Healthcare in the United States

The healthcare system in the U.S. has grown more complex and expensive.  Most international students usually buy health insurance themselves, unlike many domestic students who may have health insurance coverage through a parent or guardian’s  or employer’s insurance plan.

Many health insurance plans for sale abroad do not provide enough medical coverage. This leaves many international students under-insured.  This can be very risky, since the public subsidies for medical care, such as Medicaid or other assistance programs, are not available to international students.  It is important to have adequate health insurance because unexpected medical costs may stop you from being able to finish your education.

The healthcare system in the U.S. may be different than the healthcare system you are familiar with. Review these resources to help you better understand the U.S. healthcare system.