International Student Orientation for Fall 2014 is on August 19-21, 2014.
Preparation is critical to the success of the international student experience at Minnesota State University Mankato. Your preparations begin long before you begin your travels to Mankato! Please take the time to review the information for each of the stages of your preparation. After reviewing this information, you are welcome to contact the Kearney International Center.
Are you planning to live on campus in Fall 2014? Reserve your welcome package today!
AFTER YOU ARE ADMITTED:
Get Your I-20 or DS-2019
Please complete and submit the I-20 Request Form as requested in your congratulations e-mail. We strongly encourage you to use E-Ship services if your I-20 will be sent outside of the United States to avoid delivery delays. Unfortunately, due to postal problems and fraud concerns, we cannot send documents to Nigeria via post. Nigerian students can choose to use E-Ship, arrange for a courier service like DHL or FedEx to pick up their package at our office, ask a friend in the area to collect the documents at our office, or have the package sent to someone they know in the United States. The choice should be indicated on the I-20 Request Form.
If you have any questions about:
- Issuance and shipping of your I-20 or DS-2019 package/Admission Letter
- Mandatory New International Student Orientation
- Preparing to travel to Mankato
You must work directly with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in the Kearney International Center (IC), not the Office of Admissions, by contacting us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 507-389-1281.
Get Your Visa
If you are outside the United States, you will need to pay the I-901 fee and apply for a visa. You will receive information about steps to take with your I-20. Please do not make flight reservations until you receive your visa. More information on obtaining a U.S. VISA can be found here and information regarding the payment of the I-901 fee can be found here.
How to Prepare & What to Bring
Complete the immunization form you can find at http://www.mnsu.edu/shs/forms.html
If you are under 18, parents sign the Minor Consent Form
Please arrange your Housing before you arrive
Prescriptions & prescription medication
$200 - $500 in US currency for immediate expences (taxi, food, ect.)
Althought everything you need is available in Mankato, bring any items that you cannot live without and are not easily replaced
Traditional national clothing from your country and/or objects that represent your country or culture that you are willing to share with new friends
If you arrive before the move-in date, here are resources for temporary Hotel/Motel stays, or for family that comes with you
New International Student Orientation is MANDATORY. Please contact Doni Casula at email@example.com if unforeseen circumstances occur during your travel that may cause a delay in your arrival.
Don't be homeless: Arrange Your Housing
There are several student-friendly housing option in Mankato, however, both on and off-campus housing fill quickly in advance of the Fall and Spring terms.
On-Campus Housing (Living on campus dormitories)
Please beware that on-campus housing fills up quickly. So if you are planning on staying on-campus, you must reserve a room with the Office of Residential Life and make a pre-payment as soon as possible. Please visit Residential Life to check for the housing check-in schedule and hours of operation. You will be required to make a $250 non-refundable deposit to hold your space.
Off-Campus Housing (Living outside of campus, for example in an apartment/flat—$250-450/month)
Looking for off-campus housing from your home country can be challenging, but it is not impossible. There are several resources available to you online and several communities that can offer some help. The office of Student Activities maintains a web site for students that are looking for new roommates and apartments close to campus. You can locate and review ads online. Make sure to pay attention to the word utilities when you are looking for a place to live. This can include water, heating, cable, phone, internet, electricity, etc. Utilities may or may NOT be included in your rent. If they are not included in your rent, you will need to budget for them—a typical monthly utility cost may range from $50-150 depending on how many roommates you have and where you live. You can visit Craig’s List, but be cautious as there have been numerous reports of fraud, some involving students looking for apartments.
Free Press of Mankato (Newspaper)
The Free Press maintains a listing of off-campus apartments in the Classified section.
Important Information on renting an apartment
Article: "First Time Renting? What to Know"
Be sure to make your flight reservations well in advance of orientation and reconfirm your reservations prior to arriving at your home airport. Also, please schedule your flight taking in to account the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You may enter the U.S. up to, but not more than, 30 days prior to your start date.
The closest airport to Mankato is St. Paul/ Minneapolis international airport (MSP).
Once you are at MSP, you will need to take a shuttle from MSP to Mankato. Mankato is about 90 minutes away from MSP. This shuttle is not available at all times. Please check with the shuttle schedule before reserving your flight. Visit the Land to Air Express website for information on the shuttle. We recommend that you plan your air travel so that you arrive in St.Paul/Minneapolis between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Central Standard time). This will allow you to come to Mankato between 9:00 a.m. and 7 p.m, and will be able to get the shuttle
Please note, all international students need to report to MSU and check in at the Kearney International Center the day before the orientation at 3pm. Please check the orientation schedule for more information.
All financial arrangements are to be made before you arrive at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Minnesota State Mankato cannot and does not assume financial responsibility for international students and their families. To be admitted to and attend Minnesota State University, you are responsible for supplying the amount of money you indicated on the financial affidavit you submitted to MSU and You are to have access to the total amount typed on Item #7 of your I-20 (Item #5 on your DS2019) form. On-campus employment is limited and requires a work permit. In addition, students should not expect to be able to finance their studies by working in the U.S. Evidence of financial support was a required part of your application and your visa verifying that you would not have to work to support yourself.
It is unwise to carry large amounts of cash with you. It is recommended that you have immediate access to least $5,000 in Cashier's or Traveler's Checks or Credit card to cover part of your first semester immediate expenses. If you wish to deposit your money in the MSU Business Office, the checks are to be made payable to "Minnesota State University, Mankato." Money on deposit earns simple interest and is refunded when the student terminates enrollment at the University. It is also recommended that you bring $300 to $400 cash in U.S. currency for taxi, phone, and other charges that may occur upon your arrival.
While in the U.S., you are responsible for all financial obligations: rent, telephone bill, credit card expenses, food, shelter, etc., and for all bills owed to Minnesota State University, Mankato. This is a serious matter because a student will not be allowed to continue their studies at our institution until all tuition fees are paid in full.
It may take few days for you to open a bank account.
Important Information to Remember
- Have Traveler's Checks to cover immediate expenses like, health insurance (approximately $1000) and registration deposit, first month's rent and other expenses if you are planning to live off-campus
- US currency in small denominations. Approximately $100-$500
- Purchase a money belt, neck pouch to carry your valuables such like passport, I-20, money order, checks and cash
US Customs Information
Click here for more information pertaining to US customs when bringing money, gifts, food and other items to the U.S. Including: you must declare any currency over $10,000 brought into the U.S.
The summer months of June through September can be very warm and humid with temperatures between 20 to 40°C. The average summer temperature is 36°C, although the humidity can also be very high. Lighter clothing such as cotton fabrics is recommended for summer months. Starting in October through April the weather turns gradually colder, averaging at about 0°C, but periodically temperatures are as low as below down to -10°C to -20°C. You will need warm winter clothes: insulated coat(s) or jacket(s), scarves, gloves, hats, warm boots, sweaters, and thermal innerwear. Click here to get the average termperature in Mankato from January to December.
It is mandatory that all new students arriving at MSU, must submit the immunization record prior to beginning class. If you did not submit the immunization record along with your application, please complete the immunization form and submit to the Kearney International Center during International Orientation check-out date. Have the form completed and ready and more information will be provided to you during the day of the orientation.
How to Fill the Immunization Form
All new international students (graduate and undergraduate) must submit the immunization form during orientation. If the immunization form is NOT completed and handed in, a HOLD will be put on your account. Please view the document Instructions for Completing the Undergraduate Immunization Form for more information.
* Please remember to bring all your medical records if you have a pre-existing condition.
We do not allow students to arrive late without prior approval.
You should report to MSU by the date listed on your I-20/ DS-2019 and no later than the date listed on your I-20/DS-2019. Only under special circumstances may students be allowed to arrive after this date. These circumstances are limited. In such cases students need to obtain a letter of extension which would allow them to come late and still be able to register for classes. Please contact the Kearney International Center for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Important Documents / Document Inspection
- Arriving to the US—Port of Entry
- Kearney International Center Check-in
Transportation to MSU from Minneapolis/ St. Paul (MSP)Airport
Mankato is 80 miles (around 128 kilometers) away from St. Paul/ Minneapolis airport (90 minute drive). YOU are responsible for your own transportation. We recommend you take a shuttle (Land-to-Air transport shuttle) instead of a taxi cab (as a taxi is very expensive to take that long of a distance). When you arrive in Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), you will need to secure transportation to Mankato. The shuttle service is located in the main terminal.
Land to Air (shuttle service) runs between the MSP Airport and Mankato (their office is located in the MSP Airport). Current times, costs, etc. are on their website. Only cash is accepted; therefore, plan to bring cash (currently $30 for fare for one-person, one-way trip to Mankato). This shuttle is not available throughout the day. Please check for the shuttle schedule. If you arrive to MSP in the late hours, you will have to stay at a local hotel until the next available shuttle.
We recommend that you plan your air travel so that you arrive in St.Paul/Minneapolis between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Central Standard time). This will allow you to come to Mankato between 9:00 a.m. and 7 p.m, and will be able to get the shuttle
Map of Minneapolis/ St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
Transportation within Mankato
Upon your arrival in Mankato, it will be necessary to get to Minnesota State University, Mankato. Please call the ISSS for assistance at (507) 389-1281. Take a taxi through the Kato Taxi Cab Company at (507) 388-7433. If during business hours, tell the cab driver to take you to the Centennial Student Union Building at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Cost is approximately $10.00. The Kearney International Center is located in the Centennial Student Union Building, Room 250.
If you do not have your housing reserved prior to your arrival, please see below for the list of local hotels and motels.
AmericInn 240 Stadium Rd. phone: 507-345-8011, is the closet to MSU and they offer MSU International Students discounted rates. Please use the code "New International Incoming Student" to receive discounted rate, based on availability.
Complete listing of hotels in the Mankato area.
Important Documents/Document Inspection
The three most important documents are your passport, I-94 card and your I-20.
This is your most important piece of identification, and you need to keep it valid (at least six months beyond your projected date of departure from the U.S.) You cannot renew your visa unless your passport is current; neither can you leave the U.S. without a valid passport. It is strongly urged that you photocopy important pages of your passport, i.e., the identification page, the expiration page, and the visa page. Should you lose your passport, having photocopies of important pages may reduce the time needed to replace the document. To renew your passport YOU must contact your country's embassy or consulate. The address and phone number may be obtained through the International Student Office.
This is the entry permit issued by the Immigration inspector at the port of entry into the U.S. This is the little white card which was stapled into your passport upon arrival in the U.S. Keep it there. It is your permit to remain in the U.S. The D/S status marked on the I-94 means that you are permitted to remain in the U.S. for as long as you are pursuing your intended program of study, provided you remain in status, your I-20 has not expired, and you are making satisfactory progress toward completion of your degree.
I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant F-1 Student Status
This form is issued to you to attend MSU initially. Please keep all copies in a safe place and retain all old copies. MSU is not responsible for maintaining your immigration documents for you, after you leave MSU, if you request a copies of documents, they may not exist. Having accepted the I-20, you are required by INS to attend MSU for at least one semester before transferring. Whenever you travel outside of the U.S., you must carry an up-to-date I-20 endorsed by ISSS you must also check the visa requirements of these countries through which you will travel. The I-20 certifies that you are eligible to study at the designated school and that you have verified your financial ability to pay tuition, fees, and basic living costs while pursuing your education.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you (passport, I-20/DS-2019, proof of finances) and that you hold them in a secure place. Please do not put your documents in checked baggage! You will be expected to present them to immigration officials upon your arrival, together with the I-94 card, arrival & departure record, obtained on the plane. The immigration officer will stamp your I-20/DS-2019 and will give it back to you with your passport and I-94 card. Please keep your I-94 card (white card) stapled in your passport for your entire stay in the United States.
US VISIT: You will also be photographed and fingerprinted as part of a registration procedure in the US VISIT system. This whole process should not take more than a few minutes.
Port of Entry
Entering the U.S.
A visa allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. Student visitors must have their Form I-20 in their possession each time they enter the United States. In advance of travel, students should review important information about Admissions/Entry requirements, as well as information related to restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products or other restricted/prohibited goods explained on the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection website. Upon arrival (at an international airport, seaport or land border crossing), you will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program. If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP official will determine the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94). Since Form I-94 documents your authorized stay in the U.S., it’s very important to keep in your passport.
For more information about what to expect at the U.S. Port of Entry, view the ICE Fact Sheet
The main airport is St. Paul/ Minneapolis International airport (MSP), one of the nation's busiest airports. When your flight arrives at the international terminal, you should expect to spend at least two hours retrieving your luggage and getting through immigration. This is a total of 3.5 hours minimum from landing to arrival at MSU.
If you are entering the United States at a different location than St. Paul/ Minneapolis, please make sure to allow sufficient time for connecting flights. It takes another 90 minutes to get to MSU.
Once you have passed the immigration inspection at your U.S. Port of Entry, you will be asked to declare to a U.S. Customs inspector what you have brought into the country. Usually, you will fill out a declaration from on the plane and make a verbal statement to the official, who may or may not inspect your baggage. You may bring in anything for your personal use without paying duty. Quantity limitations are placed on alcoholic beverages (1 liter, if you are over 21 years old); cigarettes (1 carton); cigars (100); smoking tobacco (2 kilograms). A total of $400 worth of gifts may be brought in duty free every six months. Any value over $400 will be assessed duty. Any amount of money may be brought into the U.S. without paying duty; however, you must declare any amount over $10,000. Certain articles may not be brought into the U.S. including meats, vegetables, fruits, plants, drugs without a prescription, articles made from endangered species, pornographic materials, lottery tickets, and switchblade knives. Food items that are canned or otherwise hermetically sealed are acceptable. For more information, contact a U.S. Consulate.
More information on U.S Customs can be found online.
Kearney International Center Check-In
International Student Check-in
All international students must check-in the next business days upon arrival to MSU. Please bring your documents with you to be processed by the staff from the Kearney International Center in room 250 of the Centennial Student Union (CSU 250).
What to bring to check-in:
- I-20 / DS-2019
- Health Insurance Payment
- Immunization record
New International Students Tentative Orientation Week Schedule
International Student Orientation for Fall 2014 is on August 19-21, 2014. Details coming soon!
Orientation is mandatory and required to all new undergraduate and graduate students. Yes, random attendance will be taken during some of the required/mandatory aspects of ISSS orientation. Sessions you miss may require you to make up the session(s). ISSS has designed the orientation program to provide you with some helpful information as an international student at MSU. Even if you have been an international student elsewhere in the U.S., the policies/procedures at MSU may differ from your previous experience.
Information on makeup requirements will be provided during orientation.
Depending on the number of missed sessions, ISSS is authorized to place and maintain a hold on your registration. Make-up orientation sessions will be scheduled Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday—specific schedule of times to view the information will be announced during orientation. Students with prior approval to arrive late to MSU, must follow the late arrival proceedure and attend make-up orientation.
Am I a Transfer Student?
The word "transfer student" has two meanings at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
For immigration purposes, it means you have previously studied and remained in the U.S. and directly "transferred" from your previous school in the SEVIS system.
For academic purposes, you may have credits that "transfer" to MSU from either a foreign or a U.S. based school.
Dates & Schedule
Tentative Orientation Week Schedule
Fall Orientation: Tuesday - Thursday, August 19-21, 2014
Important Information Pertaining to Orientation
- English and Math Placement Test Information
Peer Mentors are volunteers who have been selected to assist new students during the international student orientation. Peer Mentors will be leaders of small groups of international students to answer many of the questions that arise during orientation. Peer Mentors are selected based upon their commitment to help others and undergo training to be of service to new students.
A complete list of Peer Mentors will be posted prior to orientation. You can direct your orientation questions to Peer Mentors and they will assist you.
Past Peer Mentors
While orientation for international students who have studied less than a year in the U.S. is three days; there is also a semester course for 1 credit- KSP 106 - Education & Culture in the United States. This course gives students, who are new to this country and to the U.S. higher education, a broad overview of the U.S. educational system, and provides a forum for discussion and comparison of customs and beliefs as they affect relationships among students and professors. You will be provided information on registration procedures for this class during orientation.
English Placement Test
Undergraduate and Graduate English or TESL students are required to take the English Placement test.
Students who may be exempt from the English Placement Test:
- International Students who have earned a bachelor's degree at a U.S college or university
- International transfer students (within the US)—must have an A or B for English Composition
- Native Speakers of English as determined by test proctors.
- TOEFL scores of 575(paper-based), 232 (computer-based) and 89 (internet-based)
- IELTS score of 6.5 or higher
If you think you fulfill the any of the above the criteria, please bring supporting documents (score reports and transcripts) the day of the English placement test.
Math Placement Test
Math placement test is required to all undergraduate students. Check with the Staff at the Center for Academic Success testing site prior to the test to see if you are required to take the test. Remember to bring your MavCard and #2 pencil.
Further information can be found on the Center for Academic Success website.
Admission and Travel
- What should I bring to my trip to U.S?
- What are the weather conditions in Mankato, MN?
- What airport is the closet to Mankato?
- How do I get from the airport to Mankato?
- How do I get around in Mankato?
- Where can I live in Mankato?
- How to get the latest news and events information for international students?
- Can I study with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2)?
Change of Status
- Is it better to apply directly for the F-1 student visa at home or apply for a change to F-1 status here?
- Am I eligible for a change to F-1 status?
- What if my authorized stay in the U.S. has expired?
- Should I hire a lawyer to help me?
- Can I start school before I change my status?
- If I decide to file an application with the U.S. Immigration Service to change my status, when should I apply?
- What documents are required for the change of status application?
- How do I file my application?
- What happens to my status while I am waiting to receive an answer from the CIS?
Admission and Travel
Traveling to the United States need not be a difficult process, especially if you are organized and knowledgeable about how to avoid any inconveniences during your trip here. The following information should help you to plan and answer any questions that you might have regarding the long journey ahead.
Obviously, you are very concerned about what things to carry. We have compiled the items that are worth carrying with you and the items that you are better off buying in the U.S. Among the items discussed are clothing, electronics, and household goods.
Almost every kind of the clothing, electronic and household items listed are available in the U.S. Our recommended packing list is made with the idea that immediate expenditure on arrival in the U.S. should be minimal.
Your visa documents allow your entry into the U.S. and should be carefully arranged and kept together at all times. You will find information regarding what you should carry and have with you at all times during your journey. There is also information about the different types of student visas available.
Mankato has relatively cold winters and pleasant summers. You will need a good, warm jacket or coat starting in about October and lasting through April or May. The summer heat sets in around the middle of May and continues through the middle of September. Mankato gets heavy snow every year. Current weather conditions can be viewed at the main page.
The nearest airport to Mankato, Minnesota, is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is an international airport in the region and is serviced by American Airlines, British Airways, NorthWest, AirTran, Delta Airlines, and United Airways to name a few. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul-Intl'-Airport (MSP) is about 90 minutes drive away from Mankato. http://www.mspairport.com/MSP/Travelers_Guide/Terminal_Maps/
There is a shuttle service that goes from the Minneapolis-SaintPaul-Intl'-Airport to Mankato. To schedule a ride, you can contact: Land to Air, Inc.
At the airport the ticket counter is located at the Ground Transportation Center (basement level)
Click here for shuttle schedule to/from airport to Mankato.
Mankato's City Bus provides bus services through various campus locations to different areas in town, including downtown and shopping malls.
Red Eye Shuttle service operates after the buses shut down when classes are in session.
Hours of operation: (507) 388-0879
Monday - Thursday 6:00pm - Midnight
Friday 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Sunday 5:00pm - 11:00pm
There is a cab service available 24 hours 7 days a week. Kato Cab's phone number is (507) 388 7433.
If you are lucky, friends with cars!
When coming to a new town, housing is usually one of the biggest worries. In case you have not already resolved this matter, we have some tips for you. There are two major types of housing available in this area: University Housing and Apartments. Should you wish to live on campus, contact Department of ResLife.
The list of the apartments our current students live is available. You will need to contact the apartment complexes and decide for yourself if they are the place for you. There are many other apartments available in Mankato. The ones listed have been recommended by our current students. If you have friends or family already in Mankato, check with them for a good recommendation.
Housing Advice: It is expensive to live alone! Most students live in dorms with a roommate, or they live in groups of two to four in two or three bedroom apartments. Besides being economical, living with roommates provides much-needed company and emotional comfort for international students. When assessing the rent of a place, take into account whether the utilities (heat, water, and gas) are covered or not. Also, inquire about the laundry facilities. To get furniture for your apartment, check out garage sales around town. Often, you can find furniture which used, in good condition, and at affordable prices. Pick up a copy of home magazine.
If you wish to be informed of news and events held by us, you can subscribe to ISO mailing list, listserve or updated information. The list of events is also posted outside the International Student & Scholar Services as well as at the notice board of International Student Center, 264 Centennial Student Union, MSU.
No, generally you cannot study on tourist visas.
Change of Status
Is it better to apply directly for the F-1 student visa at home or apply for a change to F-1 status here?
Every case is different. In some countries, visa issuance is extremely difficult. In those countries, the American Embassy may view a change to F-1 status in the U.S. as an attempt to avoid that process and will want to know why you didn't apply for the F-1 visa there instead.
If you are not sure which is the best for you, make an appointment at the International Student & Scholar Services for more information or use or contact form.
You are eligible for a change of status to F-1 student if you qualify for issuance of the Form I-20 by Minnesota State University, Mankato, are still maintaining your present non-immigrant status, and can present an unexpired Form I-94. [Exceptions: C, D, K, M or J (with home residency requirement) and visa waivers.
If your authorized stay in the U.S. is expired, you are not eligible to apply for a change of status to F-1 student unless you can prove that you had a special emergency circumstance which was beyond your control. Make an appointment with the International Student & Scholar Services for further information.
The International Student & Scholar Services provides assistance with many immigration matters. In some unusual cases, you may be advised by our office to use an immigration lawyer.
Yes, but if your primary purpose is now to pursue a full course of study, you should either change to F-1 student status or leave the U.S. to apply for the F-1 visa at home before your authorized stay expires.
If I decide to file an application with the U.S. Immigration Service to change my status, when should I apply?
Not too soon after your arrival and not too close to the expiration date on your Form I-94. You must maintain your current legal status in order to change status. An application must be filed prior to the expiration date on your I-94. About halfway through your authorized stay is ideal. Please be aware that approval by the Immigration and Naturalization Service is NOT guaranteed. Should you be denied the change of status, you may be required to leave the country quickly. You can then take your I-20's and go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country and apply for a new F-1 visa.
- Completed Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status)
- Your Minnesota State University, Mankato I-20 Form signed by you
- Original Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record-the white card stapled in your passport)
- Current evidence of financial support
- A $200 fee in the form of a personal check or money order made payable to the SEVIS
- Copy of Bio page of passport and copy of original visa stamp
- Letter from you, the student describing your ties to home country, why and when you decided to apply to change your status, how your major will help you to find the employment in home country, etc.
- If you have a spouse or children with you in the U.S. who should change to F-2 status (dependents of an F-1 student), you must also submit the Supplement to Form I-539, your dependents' original Forms I-94, and an additional $10 for each dependent.
Bring your completed application (with all the documents described above) to the International Student & Scholar Services. After our review, you will send your application to the Immigration and Naturalization Service Center. When the SEVIS has made a decision on your application, your Minnesota State University, MankatoI-20 and a new I-94 card will be returned to you.
You will still be maintaining your present nonimmigrant status, even if the I-94 expires, while CIS is reviewing your application for a change to F-1.