• Pre-Arrival

International Student Services

  • Print
  • Pre-Arrival

    For an international student to study at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), there are a variety of special requirements to fulfill that need careful attention prior to arriving on campus. Please read the information below that includes the necessary steps to follow to become a MSUM student.

    • Due to immigration reasons you can only arrive 30-days prior to your start date listed on your I-20 or DS2019. Please do not enter the US under F-1 visa before 30-days of your start date. If you have questions regarding your arrival, please email International Student Services  
    • We look forward to meeting you this semester. Good Luck and Bon Voyage!
  • Visa

    • Visa is an entry permit that allows you to enter the U.S. and you may receive a U.S. visa valid for 1-5 years.
    • Your visa can expire as long as your immigration document (i.e. I-20/DS-2019) is valid.
    • Visa application times may vary from country to country.
    • If you are in the process of obtaining your F-1 or J-1 visa, the following websites maybe of help to you as you prepare for your visit to the U.S.Embassy/Consulate:

    U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions
    U.S. Department of State

    SEVIS Fee

    • Those who wish to enter the United States either as a student or an exchange visitor with a Form I-20 or DS-2019 must pay the SEVIS fee before visiting the U.S. consular for an interview.
      •  F-1  $200
      •  J-1  $180
    •  Spouses and dependents of F-1/J-1 (F-2/J-2) will not pay this fee.
    •  Please visit the SEVIS website for more information. To learn more about the SEVIS fee or to submit your payment of the SEVIS fee, please visit the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website.

    Entering the U.S.

    The visa issued by the consulate does not guarantee entry to the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has authority to deny admissions at the port of entry. Please have all your documents in order when you arrive to the U.S. Keep all of these documents in a safe place!

    Important Information:

    • Canadian students do not need visa stamps to enter the U.S., but they must present the Form I-20 or DS-2019 at the port of entry to be properly classified as a non-immigrant student status.
    • Students who are eligible to enter the U.S. under the visa waiver program should not choose this travel option. Please apply for the appropriate student visa.
    • Students are not allowed to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the start date of their I-20 or DS-2019.

    Students Already in the U.S.

    • F-1 Students:
      •  Once you are admitted to MSUM, contact your current institution's international student office and request them to release your SEVIS information to MSUM. We will hold your I-20 until you arrive at MSUM. If you are planning to leave the U.S. before arriving at MSUM, you need to arrive to the U.S. with MSUM's I-20. In this case, please plan your travel and admissions accordingly. For more information, contact International Student Services.
    • J-1 Students:
      • If you are a J-1 student and you want to transfer or change to F-1, please contact International Student Services at MSUM and your current institution international student adviser.

    U.S. Customs


    Arriving in Fargo-Moorhead

    • Minnesota State University Moorhead is easily accessible from Hector International Airport (Airport Code: FAR) located in Fargo, North Dakota. This airport is five miles away from MSUM.
    • If you fly into Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (Airport Code: MSP), please note that you have another 4-6 hour bus or car drive, or a 45 minute airplane ride to reach Moorhead.  We do not offer rides from MSP

    1. Doyle's Yellow Checker Cab Inc 

    (701) 235-5535 

    2. Lucky 7 Taxi 

     (701) 235-1717 

    3. F M Taxi 

     (701) 353-2222 



    (701) 306-0507 

    5. Taxi Joe & Shuttle 


    (701) 340-8572 

    6. Go Cab Taxi 

    (701) 630-9383

     7. Fargo Metro Taxi & Limousine Service

     (701) 799-8645 

    Be sure to inform the driver that you want to go to Moorhead via town (this is much cheaper than taking the freeway).

    If you are living on-campus and if you are checking into your dorm room early, please email the Housing and Residential Life Department. You will be charged a $15 per night from the day you check-in to your dorm until the move-in day of the semester. The early move-in charged will be added to your semester bill. Remember, you have to sign the Housing and Residential Life contract and pay the $150 deposit in order to check-in to the dorm.

    Local Hotels/Motels

    • If you have not made housing arrangements prior to your departure, there are hotels and motels close to MSUM.
    • You can inquire if the hotels and motels have special discounts for international students and their families.
    •  Below is a map for reference. Remember to mention that you are an MSUM student/family:


    Please call ahead and make your reservations to reserve your room.


    On-Campus Housing

    • All freshman (including international) students are REQUIRED to live on-campus.
    • All international students with an on-campus housing contract will be able to move-in early for $15 per night.
    • Early move-in option is only available to students who have made housing arrangements prior to their arrival to MSUM. 

    For questions or for more information contact the Housing and Residential Life Department

    Off-Campus Housing

    • If you are a U.S. transfer and wish to live off-campus MSUM is not responsible for finding off-campus accommodations.
    • Renting an apartment can be difficult if you plan to do so while living abroad.
    • You will be required to sign a contract and pay a deposit before you are able to move-in.
    • You may be able to make special arrangements with the landlord if you contact them directly.

    Rental Sources:
      Goldmark Property Management
      Apartment Finder
      Apartment List 


     Starter Pack Programs

    • MSUM International Student Services (ISS) offers a program called the "Starter Pack Program" for our new international students.
    • ISS can purchase certain necessary items for you before you arrive at MSUM, such as a pillow, bedding, shampoo, etc.
    • Complete the Starter Pack Form and your items will be waiting for you and billed to your account.

    Money and Payments

    • You must make sure financial arrangements are met before departing your home country. MSUM cannot and does not assume financial responsibilities for international students and their families.
    • While in the U.S., you are responsible for all financial obligations: tuition, health insurance, books, rent, telephone bills, credit card expenses, food, shelter etc., and for all the bills owed to MSUM.  
    • It is critically important you maintain your financial matters accordingly, as you will not be able to register or continue courses at MSUM until your MSUM bill is paid in full. More information can be found on the MSUM Business Office site.
    • It is recommended that you have immediate access to at least $5,000 in cashier's or traveler's checks, or a credit card to cover part of your first semester's immediate expenses at MSUM. If you wish to deposit your money at the MUSM Business Office, the check must be made payable to "Minnesota State University Moorhead." We do not encourage students to carry large sums of cash.
    • You can also contact the international office to receive information on how to wire the funds directly to MSUM. This option is available only if you have received your U.S. visa to MSUM. Prior to visiting your bank for funds, please check your I-20 and the orientation page for the actual total cost and payment deadlines for the semester.

    Additional recommendations:

    • Have travelers checks to cover immediate expenses (books, rent, food, clothes, etc.) 
    • Bring U.S. currency in small denominations; approximately $100-500 in $10, $20 and $50 bills
    • Purchase a money belt or a neck pouch to carry your valuables like your passport, I-20/DS-2019, cash, checks and credit cards 

    Math/English Placement Test

    • Math placement test is mandatory for all international students. You will not be able to register for math courses without taking the math placement test.
    •  International Student Services has certain dates reserved for international students to take the math placement test. Please check the orientation schedule for the math placement test.
      •  If you have scored 460 or above for the Math section for your SATs, the Math Placement Test will be waived for you.
      •  If you score 430 of better for SAT verbal, then English Placement Test will be waived for you.
      • You must bring an official copy of your SAT score report if you did not submit to ISS.
      •  Until we have an official SAT report, we are unable to waive the MATH and/or ENGLISH placement test.
      •  All freshman international students will take the English placement test.
    •  All international students will take the English Placement Test.
    •  Students exempt from English Math Placement Test ( U.S. transfer students who completed English composition).

    Please check the orientation schedule for more information.

    Immunization Record

    It is important that you provide immunization records. Please complete the immunization form online or you can submit a paper copy during orientation. The username is your Star ID and your password you have created.

     It is compulsory that you provide the following vaccinations: 

    • Diphtheria & Tetanus
    • Measles (rubella, red measles)
    • Mumps
    • Rubella (German measles)

    Complete all that applies to you and make sure you have supporting documents when you arrive at MSUM.

    Please visit the Hendrix Clinic and Counseling Center to access the appropriate forms and to see a sample of a completed immunization form to understand how to complete the form.

    Mandatory Health Screening

    • All international students must participate the mandatory health screening test.
    •  The health screening test will be administered during the mandatory International Student Orientation by our Hendrix Health Care Center.
    •  Following the health screening test, a TB test will be made required or optional for students depending on the the results of your health screening test.
    •  If you do not complete the entire Health Screening Test process, a hold will placed from Hendrix Health Center preventing from future course registrations.
    •  For more information on the Health Screening Test,  please visit MN Health Department website.


    • Fargo-Moorhead can go through weather extremes during summer and winter.
    • The summer months of June through September can be very warm and humid with temperatures between 20-40 C
    • During winter times November through March the weather can go from -10 C to -20 C. It gets extremely cold. The most difficult cold months are December, January and February.


    • We strongly recommend that students bring clothes for all four seasons here in Fargo-Moorhead.
    •  You can also buy clothes once you arrive.

    Check out the weather at Moorhead Weather

    Late Arrival

    • International students are required to arrive to MSUM on the date listed on your I-20/DS-2019.
    • International students are required to attend the mandatory International Student Orientation.
    • If you are arriving late (i.e. delay of visa, flight delays, airline busy schedules) please check with International Student Services and request a letter to arrive late (via email) for your records make sure you have the late arrival letter with you at all times.