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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Before You Arrive

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Get Your I-20 or DS-2019

Please complete and submit the I-20 Request Form as requested in your congratulations e-mail. If you are outside the United States or Canada, you are required to use E-Ship or arrange a courier pick-up by FedEx or DHL at our office to receive your documents. You can also arrange for someone else to pick up your I-20 in our office. 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 Kearney Center for International Student Services(KCISS) in the Kearney International Center(IC), not the Office of Admissions, by contacting us via e-mail at 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 [PDF]here (205 KiB) and information regarding the payment of the I-901 fee can be found [PDF]here(122 KiB)

Tips on How to Get Your Visa

How to Prepare and What to Bring

  • Complete the immunization form you can find at
  • If you are under 18, parents sign the [PDF] Minor Consent Form(47 KiB)
  • Please arrange your [PDF]Housing(178 KiB) before you arrive.
  • $200 - $500 in US currency for immediate expenses(taxi, food, etc.)
  • Although everything you need is available in Mankato, bring any items that you cannot live withou 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.
  • Make your travel arrangements. The nearest airport is Minneapolis/St. Paul and an airport shuttle is available through Land to Air
  • New International Student Orientation is MANDATORY. Please contact 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 options in Mankato, however, both on and off-campus housing fill quickly in advance of the Fall and Spring terms. Click this link for housing options

Stay connected through your Mobile Phone

SIM Cards are available for International Students in the U.S.

Bring your own phone to stay connected to friends and family back home while meeting new friends on campus! campusSIMs offers international students monthly plans with no contract. Plans range from $25-$55 per month. International texting is free and included in all plans.

Visit campusSIMS to reserve your SIM card before you come to campus.

AT&T also provides phone services for students. Visit AT&T Studentsto learn more about rates and plans

Flight Reservations

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/Minnesapolis International Airport (MSP).

Map of Minneapolis/St. Paul 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 your plan your air travel so that you arrive in St. Paul/Minneaplis 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 7:00 p.m. and will be able to get a 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 3:00 p.m. Please check the [PDF]orientation(228 KiB) schedule for more information.

Financial 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 tota amount typed on item #7 of your I-20(Item #5 on your DS-2019) 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. Upon arrival you will be able to open a Wells Fargo bank account in Centennial Student Union. It is also recommended that your bring $500 cash in U.S. currency for taxi, phone, and other charges that may occur uppon 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 a 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 is small denoinations. Approximately $500.
  • Purchase a money belt, neck pouch to carry your valuables including your passport, I-20, money order, checks and cash.
  • It is recommended that you have immediate access to at least $5000 in Cashier's or Traveler's Checks or Credit card to cover part of your first semester immediate expenses.

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 $10000 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, althrough 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 gradualy colder, averaging between at about 0°C, but periodically temperatures are as low as or below -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 temperature in Mankato from January to December.

Check out the current Weather in Mankato


It is mandatory that all new students arriving at MSU, must submit the [PDF]immunization record(20 KiB) 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 or 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 [PDF]Instructions for Completing the Undergraduate Immunization Form (48 KiB) for more information

* Please remember to bring all your medica records if you have a pre-existing condition.

Late Arrivals

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