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New International Grad Student Resources

Special tips and tricks for new international students

Being a new student is hard, but being an international student takes even more work! This page is to help you navigate all the bureaucracy that being in a new country with a visa takes. For general new student info, check out the New Grad Student Resources Page

If you think there's anything that should be added to this page, please let us know at!

A variety of passports

Health Insurance for International Students

As was mentioned extensively in your international student orientation, health insurance is mandatory. There are two options:

  1. Stay with LSU’s insurance company (Gallagher Student Health/United Healthcare) that you are automatically enrolled in.

  2. You can purchase your own insurance and have the LSU coverage waived, provided that your plan meets certain criteria.


For the 2017-2018 school year (including the summer term), the cost of the Gallagher Student Health coverage was $2,567.

Health insurance information such as details about the LSU coverage, the minimum requirements for an alternate plan, and the deadline for waiver requests can be found here. Should you decide to purchase your own plan, you will need to complete the online waiver request on the Gallagher Student website at the beginning of every term.

A majority of the international students in the department choose to go with the Compass Silver plan from


If you have questions or want clarification on any health insurance details, please feel free to speak with any of your fellow international students.

How do I transfer my driver's license? 

German and Swiss Students: 

​The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) has a license reciprocity agreement with Germany and Switzerland. Therefore, you can immediately obtain a Louisiana license if you currently possess a German or Swiss licence.

All other international students: 

If you do not have a German or Swiss license, you will need to attend a driving school. This will involve classroom and in-car instruction along with a written test and a driving test. The typical cost is approximately $400-$500.

After passing both the written and driving test, you will need to take your passport, I-20, I-94, Social Security Number, and the sealed envelope with your test results to the OMV in order to obtain your license. The OMV will charge you approximately $30 to process everything.

I just want a state ID so I don't have to carry my passport around.

If you have no desire to obtain a driver’s license and you want an ID other than your passport, you can obtain a Louisiana ID card for $21 from the OMV. You will need to bring all the same documentation required for a driver’s license (passport, I-20, I-94, and Social Security Number).

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