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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Important Documents / Document Inspection

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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.

I-94 Card

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.