Frequently Asked QuestionsPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/international/faqmain.html
Please click a category button to display it's FAQs
What should I bring to my trip to the U.S.?
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.
What are the weather conditions in Mankato, MN?
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.
What airport is the closest to Mankato?
The nearest airport to Mankato, Minnesota, is in St. 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-St.Paul International Airport(MSP) is about 90 minutes drive away from Mankato. A list of maps are here.
How do I get from the airport to Mankato?
There is a shuttle service that goes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Mankato. To schedule a ride, you can contact: Land to Air, Inc: 1-888-736-9190
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
How do I get around in 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 6:00 p.m. - Midnight
- Friday 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
- Sunday 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
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!
Where can I live in Mankato
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 Res Life
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
Briargate Apartments, close to campus and on a bus route that will bring you directly to campus, also have availability. They offer many amenities and are currently offering some specials with two bedroom apartments from $885-$959 per person. Their phone number is (507)-625-2787 and email address is email@example.com.
Highland Hills Apartments, also with availability, are offering a rate of $200 per month per bedroom in it's 5 bedroom units. They are also offering some funished units for $330 per person, per month. They are the closest to campus.
Summit & Jacobs Apartments are also close to campus, on a bus route that comes directly to campus, and offers amenities like a giant hot tub. They also offer some furnished units. They will do roommate matching and some individual bedroom leases.
Furniture Rental: Imagine arriving to your new apartment in Mankato and it's completely furnished! This can be reality through CORT Furniture. CORT Furniture provides affordable student packages that can furnish your apartment even before you arrive in Mankato! Check out their special student rates here
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
How to get the latest news and events information for international students?
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.
Can I study with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2)
No, generally you cannot study on tourist visas.
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.
Am I eligible for a change to F-1 status?
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.
What if my authorized stay in the U.S. has expired?
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.
Should I hire a lawyer to help me?
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.
Can I start school before I change my status?
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 Services 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.
What documents are required for the change of status application?
- Complete Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) either by form or electronically via ELIS - see www.uscis.gov
- 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 $290 fee in the form of a personal check or money order made payable to the SEVIS
- SEVIS fee of $200
- Copy of Bio page of passport and copy of original visa stamp
- Letter from you, the student describing your ties to your home country, why and when you decided to apply to change yor 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 - see forms and instructions at www.uscis.gov
How do I file my application?
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 (USCIS) either by form or your draft in ELIS (the electronic system). When the SEVIS has made a decision on your application, your Minnesota State University, Mankato I-20 and a new I-94 card will be returned to you.
What happens to my status while I am waiting to receive an answer from the SEVIS?
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.
Click here for information regarding re-admission for previous students.
What does it mean to be an international student?
An international student is defined as a student on an F-1 or J-1 visa status who is studying full time for a degree.
How do I stay in-status?
International undergraduate students maintain their status by keeping their passport and I-20 valid at all times along with completing at least 12 credits each quarter while making progress towards their degree. Graduate students must take at least 6 credits each semester.
What do I do if my visa has expired?
Do not worry, if you are in the U.S. and your visa expires, you are fine. You just cannot let your I-20 or Passport expire. Your visa just let you into the country, so when you leave the country again, you will need to get a new I-20 and reapply for a new visa. You can only obtain a new visa outside of the U.S. For detailed information contact the IC.
Where can I do contribution hours?
Check your email! We use the listserve to provide information to you about upcoming contribution hour opportunities. You can also check in the ISA (CSU 264) for sign up sheets.
What do I do if I am planning to leave the country and want to come back?
Make sure that you have your I-20 signed by the IC BEFORE leaving the U.S. Also carry with you valid financial documents, along with your valid passport and visa to reenter the U.S.
How can I work on-campus?
The student must apply at the IC for permission to work.
How can I work off-campus?
International students must be authorized to work off or on campus. To work off-campus a student must qualify for one of three programs: Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training or Economic Hardship. These are the only options currently available to international students.
How do I do an internship off-campus?
If the internship is required for your degree, you may qualify for Curricular Practical Training. This opportunity is job specific and time specific. This authorization is handled by the IC. Please stop by the IC for a pamphlet regarding the procedures for this opportunity.
When do I apply for Optional Practical Training
An F-1 student who has maintained his/her status for at least 9 months may be eligible for Optional Practical Training. He/she may apply up to 90 days prior to completion of study or within 60 days after completion of study. No job offer is required to apply for this option. This application is recommended by the IC and authorized by USCIS.
Are there any scholarships for international students?
Minnesota State University, Mankato offers two scholarships for internationals. The first is the In-State Tuition Scholarship program which grants the in-state rate of tuition to students that apply and qualify for the program. Undergraduates currently need to complete at least 12 credits for a letter grade and maintain a 2.5 GPA for the quarter. Once a student qualifies for the scholarship, he/she must also volunteer up to 15 hours a quarter to continue the scholarship. Graduate students must complete 8 credits for a letter grade and maintain a 3.1 GPA along with performing volunteer hours. For more information refer to the In-State Scholarship pamphlet available in the IC. The second scholarship is from the International Endowment Fund, a fund developed by supporters of the international community. Scholarships are given each year to current international students. Applications are available in the Spring Semester for the following year.
How do I get more information?
Stop by the IC for informational pamphlets about:
- A Guide to International Student and Scholar Services
- A Guide for International Study, Work, Travel Abroad Travel Outside the U.S. and Reentry into the U.S.
- MSU In-State Tuition Scholarship Program and Policies
- On-Campus Work, Permit Economic Hardship Off-Campus Work Permit
- Optional Practical Training Curricular Practical Training
- Change of Major and Program Extension Transfer to another U.S. University
Failure to fulfill any continuation requirement will result in the cancellation of the scholarship. If the student's Scholarship is cancelled, after being off the scholarship for one semester the student must make sure to fill out an application form and RE-APPLY as well as meet the eligibility requirements of 6 earned credits and a 3.0 Semester GPA to have it re-instated.
If a recipient's Cultural Contribution Scholarship is cancelled and the recipient wishes to appeal the decision before the semester begins, the recipient must submit a completed appeal form via email to
The Application is to Re-APPLY for the scholarship after you lose it for a semester (newly admitted Undergraduate students who never attended MSU, Mankato do NOT need to apply)
- The re-application must be submitted by current students who do not have the scholarship
- You need to earn 12+ credits (Undergraduate) or 6+ (Graduate) with atleast grade D or Passing Grade
- You need to maintain a semester GPA of 2.5 for Undergraduate and 3.0 for Graduate Students
- All grades must be posted before a decision to award the scholarship is made
- You need to submit the Application form prior to the semester you intend to have your scholarship back
Appeal is to request that the scholarship should not be cancelled or denied for any reason. This must be done prior to the beginning of the semester you will NOT be receiving the scholarship. In other words, once you are notified of a scholarship cancellation, you must immediately submit a completed appeals form by the due date (as stated in your cancellation email). This must accompany supporting documents.
We understand that things happen in student’s personal and academic life that may jeopardize the scholarship. For that, students who are cancelled may appeal to keep the scholarship in spite of failing to meet one or more requirements.
No appeals will be considered if received after the Appeal deadline or submitted in hard copies to the Kearney International Office. Appeal deadlines will be announced in cancellation letters. Please read the letter carefully for instructions and deadlines.
The Appeal Committee will review all appeal forms and you will eventually be notified if your appeal was accepted or denied via email.
- [PDF] Appeal Form (153 KiB)
Students will be notified by email on cancellation, application and appeal deadlines, appeal decisions and awards. It is the student’s responsibility to determine their eligibility to apply, maintain, reapply and appeal for the scholarship and be aware of the respective deadlines.
Requirement based on Immigration Status
- You must be admitted at MSU, Mankato as an International Student who is on F-1 or J-1 visa or planning to obtain one of those two immigration status upon enrollment.
- Students on work visas such as H-1B or other non immigrant status’ WILL NOT qualify for instate through the international center. They may wish to apply at the registers office to find out if they are eligible. Students, who may qualify for the resident student rate as a Minnesota resident, should contact the registers office at 507-389-6266, 132 Wrigley Administration Center.
- Ending permanent residents from F-1 or J-1 statuses may be still eligible for the Cultural Contribution scholarship that same semester, however, the next semester after their SEVIS record has been change to permanent resident, they will not be eligible for instate through the International Center.
Athletes or Talent Grant/Scholarship
Student attending MSU on athletic and talent grants/scholarship may have the option to obtain the residency tuition rate through those programs. If they choose to have in-state rate through the Cultural Contribution Scholarship, they must follow the same regulations as other students. You will still need 25 hours but Contribution hours done through those departments will be limited to 15hours.
Volunteering Cultral Contribution Hours
- You need to provide evidence of a minimum of 25 contribution hours each Fall and Spring semester. The hours must be CULTURALLY RELATED and from Minnesota State University, Mankato and/or the surrounding community. Volunteer for service organizations must be submitted to the ISSS by the last day of each semester. The approval of the contribution hours will be determined by the Kearney International Center and any hours must be co-signed by the event coordinator and the Kearney International Center staff. Contribution hours must be approved and signed within 2 weeks after the event.
- Cultural contribution hours must be earned during Fall or Spring semester when classes are in session and not at any other time. (NO contribution hours need to be done during Summer)
- 1 hour will be added to the total contribution hours when a student signs up for an event and do not attend. The 2nd time offense you will get the total hours missed added to the 25hours.
- Please see the contribution hours form to learn details about policies regarding contribution hours
- Commuter students or students concurrently enrolled at MSU and another institution or those studying off site at 770 France Ave should obtain pre-approval for contribution hours.
NOTE: STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE TO REMEMBER THE DATES AND TIMES THEY SIGN UP FOR CONTRIBUTION HOURS AND ATTEND THOSE SESSIONS.
- Returning students are those who once attended MSU, Mankato and returning to resume studies or for a new program. This group includes previously MSU suspended students, those transferred out, students returning after a break and students on early authorized withdrawal. Students returning after a year, will receive their instate rate.
- A student with prior MSU credits transferring back into MSU will be allowed to use the last semester term GPA from the previous institution they are transferring from, the institution must be in the United States. Students enrolled in a Non-degree seeking program will not qualify (ie TOFEL, GRE, and Intensive English).
- The original 9 semesters for undergraduate or 5 semesters for graduate limit will resume when the students begin taking MSU credits. This will NOT grant another 9 semesters.
- If students finished their degree program at MSU but are now returning for a second bachelor degree program will only be eligible for the number of semester remaining.
- If a returning student is Out-of Status (students who fell out of immigration status while attending MSU, Mankato) and is now applying for reinstatement through MSU, will be eligible per the time or GPA limitation above.
Summer Semester Scholarship
- Students can pay resident rate tuition during summer sessions if they have fulfilled the scholarship requirements during the preceding Spring Semester. There will be no contribution hours required during summer session. Summer transfer admits will be eligible in-state rate in the summer.
- If a recipient's Cultural Contribution Scholarship is cancelled and the recipient wishes to appeal the decision, the recipient must submit a written letter appeal with documentation to the Kearney International Center as soon as you are aware you will be losing the scholarship.
- True exchange students – those whose tuition and fees are waived – are not required to complete cultural contribution hours
- Visiting International Students - are students from partner universities who come as fee-paying students. They must complete the 25 Cultural Contribution hours every semester they are at MSU
Who is an international student?
An international student is a student who plans to study at Minnesota State University on F-1 or J-1 Visa.
How do I apply?
- Bachelor (Undergraduate) Application Instructions.
If you are applying for an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree, please see the application instructions Link http://www.mnsu.edu/admissions/international/apply.html
- Master or Doctoral(Graduate) Application Instructions
Master or Doctoral(Graduate) Application Instructions. If you are interested in a Master's or Doctoral degree, please visit the international student graduate application instructions at the following Link: http://grad.mnsu.edu/applying/internationalletter.html
Please note that different programs may have requirements in addition to the general requirements for all international graduate applicants, so it is important that you refer to the link: http://grad.mnsu.edu/programs/requirements.html
How long does it take to process my application and get an Admissions decision?
The length of the admissions process depends on a few things.
- How much time it takes you to submit all of the required documents needed to review your application. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. To see a list of documents required, please visist the following links.
Graduate Checklist: http://grad.mnsu.edu/applying/internationalletter.html
- How many other students are ahead of you in the application queue.
How will I find out if I have been admitted?
Your admissions decision will always come via email. Therefore, it is important that you are providing a correct and up to date email address on your application.
How do I get my I-20 after I have been admitted
When and if you are admitted, you will receive an email notification that contains a link to an I-20 request form. In order to receive your I-20, you must fill this form out and email it to the International Center. This process can take 1-3 weeks after you have been admitted depending on how many other students have requested I-20s.
Who should I contact if I have questions about my application?
The International Center has an International Recruitment and Retention Specialist who can hep assist you with the application process. If you have questions about MSU or the application process, please email Intling@mnsu.edu
Do I need to submit proof of English if I come from a country where English is primarily spoken?
MSU does not ask students coming from a country where the primary or official language spoken is English. However, to find out whether or not your country is considered a country that would be exempt from submitting English Proficiency, please contact Intling@mnsu.edu
Click here for information regarding re-admission for previous students.