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Information for Admitted International Students

International Graduate Student Eligibility

Welcome to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.  

We are delighted that you have chosen to pursue your education with us. As an international graduate student, there are certain steps and requirements you need to fulfill in order to obtain an I-20 and student visa to study in the United States.

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I-20 Application

To begin the I-20 application process, we recommend that you complete the necessary documentation at least three months prior to the semester in which you plan to attend our university. You will need to contact the international student adviser and provide essential documents.  Below is a checklist:

  • A copy of the Saint Mary’s acceptance letter showing admittance at a regular or provisional status in a degree-seeking program.
  • A completed I-20 application form (PDF).
  • A photocopy of your [the student’s] passport.
  • Proof of financial responsibility and other supporting documents as requested by the university. Financial responsibility will be proven by the student’s submission of official documentation of cash resources in an amount equal to or greater than the cost of tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for one academic year.
  • A nonrefundable tuition deposit of $300 is required before we can release your I-20. This deposit will only be refunded if your visa application is denied, and we receive an official denial letter from the embassy.

The university will mail all I-20s via regular mail, yet express delivery is possible with an appropriate fee.

Upon receipt of the I-20, you must submit the I-20 to a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for an F-1 Student Visa.


 

Transferring your SEVIS record and issue of a new I-20

If you are transferring from another school within the United States, you will need to follow the same I-20 application process mentioned above. Furthermore, you must inform your current school about your intention to transfer, provide a copy of your acceptance letter to Saint Mary’s, and request the transfer of your electronic SEVIS record to our university. Only your current school has access to your SEVIS record; Saint Mary’s cannot issue a new I-20 until your SEVIS record is transferred.

You must check-in at Student Central within 10 business days of the semester start date.


I-94

Obtaining a student visa is crucial for studying in the United States. Depending on your country, you may be required to appear for an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It is essential to consult your embassy/consulate’s website or contact them directly for specific application instructions. You cannot schedule your visa appointment until you have received your I-20 from Saint Mary’s. To avoid any delays or complications, we recommend applying for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

Please visit the U.S. State Department website for detailed information on applying for a student visa. Apply for a Student Visa

Student Visas

Obtaining a student visa is crucial for studying in the United States. Depending on your country, you may be required to appear for an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It is essential to consult your embassy/consulate’s website or contact them directly for specific application instructions. You cannot schedule your visa appointment until you have received your I-20 from Saint Mary’s. To avoid any delays or complications, we recommend applying for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

Please visit the U.S. State Department website for detailed information on applying for a student visa. Apply for a Student Visa


English Language Assistance

You must pass the TOEFL proficiency exam in order to take regular courses at Saint Mary’s.


International Student Advisor

At Saint Mary’s, we understand the challenges that international students face when adapting to a new community and culture. That’s why we have dedicated International Student Advisers who are ready to assist you throughout your time at our university. They have the expertise to address the unique issues that international students encounter and provide the necessary support.


Emigration Status and Employment Authorization

As an accepted student, you will receive an International New Student Orientation and ongoing immigration advising related to your F-1 status. We will guide you through the process of obtaining employment authorization and assist you with the application process for Optional Practical Training (OPT) as you progress in your studies.

Before Arriving

  • Employment off campus must be authorized in advance and in accordance with specific procedures outlined in federal regulations.

  • Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be eligible for F-2 “dependent” status. Contact your international student adviser for procedures to invite a dependent to join you in the U.S.

  • In the U.S., any health bills you incur are your responsibility. Saint Mary’s expects that all international students will carry health insurance that covers care in the U.S.. Please be sure that this insurance will cover care for minor illnesses or injuries, as well as more serious injuries or health conditions.

    Saint Mary’s does not offer a student health insurance plan. If you are working with an international recruiting agent, you may wish to discuss which options they recommend. You may also want to consult various websites geared toward student health insurance plans for the U.S.

    While the university does not endorse any specific plan, the following sites may be helpful in reviewing various options:

    Note to athletes: The NCAA requires all student athletes to have a minimum of $90,000 of healthcare coverage that specifically covers athletic injuries. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance prior to practicing in your sport.

  • All students attending Saint Mary’s are required to supply the month and year of certain immunizations. Students are expected to be current on these immunizations and to provide this information on their health forms prior to the start of their first semester.

    See Immunization Requirements

Once You Arrive

To maintain your status, please be aware of these regulations.

  • Saint Mary’s is required to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement through SEVIS.

    The following information for F-1 students is required to be reported by the school:

    • Whether a student has enrolled at Saint Mary’s or failed to enroll within 30 days of the start of the semester.
    • A change of the student’s or dependent’s legal name or address.
    • Any student who graduates prior to the end date listed on the I-20.
    • Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to a criminal conviction.
    • Whether the student drops below a full course of study without prior authorization from their international student adviser.
    • SEVIS record termination date and reason for termination.
    • Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extension, school transfer, change in level of study or major, employment authorization, or reinstatement.
    • Any student who fails to maintain status or complete his or her program.

  • A “full course of study” is 12 or more credits per semester for undergraduates and six or more credits per semester for graduate students. Your international student adviser in Student Central may allow exceptions to the full-time requirement:

    • You may take fewer credits for valid academic reasons. Less than full-time enrollment due to documented academic reasons is only allowed one semester per degree level. This must be approved in advance by your international student adviser.
    • You may reduce or interrupt a full course of study because of a documented medical condition.
    • In your final semester you may take as few credits as required to complete your degree as long as you register for at least one credit.

    Do not register for fewer than the required number of credits or withdraw from a course without first receiving permission from your international student adviser. Part-time studies could jeopardize your stay in the U.S. and make you ineligible for F-1 benefits.

  • Federal law requires you to carry registration documents at all times, including your I-20 and I-94 card. For day-to-day purposes, we suggest these documents be kept in a secure location. However, you should carry these documents with you if you are traveling within the U.S. If you are traveling by air, train, bus, or ship, you may be required to produce these documents before boarding. Keep photocopies of all your documents in a separate location in the event your documents are lost or stolen.

  • Your passport must be valid at all times. Keep your passport and other important documents in a safe place. Report a lost or stolen passport to the police, as your government may require a police report before issuing a new passport. To renew or replace your passport, contact your country’s consulate in the U.S.

    Find My Consulate

  • Your admission to the U.S. is for the time during which you are pursuing a full course of study and making normal progress toward your degree; or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, plus 60 days to prepare to depart the U.S.

  • Change of Level

    If you complete your current program of study and plan to continue at Saint Mary’s in another program (for example, changing from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree), this change must be reported to immigration, new financial documents must be obtained, and your I-20 must be updated. Contact your international student adviser before completing your current program for procedures.

    Change of Major

    If you change your major (for example, from Management to MBA), report this change to your international student adviser, and a new I-20 will be issued to you.

    Change of Funding

    If your sponsor or amount of funding changes, report this change to your international student adviser and a new I-20 will be issued to you.

    Change of Name

    If you change your name, you must fill out a Change of Name Form, send it to the Office of the Registrar, and provide legal documentation that reflects the name change. You must also notify your international student adviser and provide documentation of the name change. Should your dependents have a name change, you must provide documentation of the name change so the I-20 can be updated.

    Change of Address

    Any change of address must be reported to Immigration within 10 days. Update your local address in the Student Portal, and your international student adviser will be automatically notified and will update your file with Immigration. If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), email your international student adviser with your new local address. To update your permanent foreign address, email your international student adviser.

  • Please notify your international student adviser in Student Central at least one semester prior to your graduation date so we may give you appropriate information concerning practical training, school transfer, travel, and other procedures.

Travel/Loss of Status

  • If you are unable to complete your course of study before the completion date noted on item five on your I-20, you will need to contact your international student adviser to ask for a new I-20 to be issued. The new I-20 must be issued before your current I-20 expires.

  • You must register full time at the school that issued the I-20 you used to enter the U.S. If you later decide to transfer to another school, contact your international student adviser prior to completing your semester or OPT at your current school for information about school transfer procedures.

  • If you have completed one full academic year (fall and spring semester), you are not required to attend school during the summer semester. Please let your international student adviser in Student Central know if you will be taking the summer off for vacation. If you begin Saint Mary’s in the summer semester, you will be required to register as a full-time student.

  • At the port-of-entry you must present:

    • An unexpired I-20 endorsed for travel within the last six months by your international student adviser in Student Central
    • A valid F-1 visa
    • A valid passport
    • Evidence of finances
    • A copy of your transcript and current course schedule (suggested)
    • Students outside the U.S. for more than five months and those on “practical training” may have additional requirements. Please contact your international student adviser.

  • If you need to withdraw from classes, or are asked to leave the university, you must report this to your international student adviser. If you report this prior to your withdrawal or dismissal, you will have 15 days to leave the U.S. If you do not report this to your international student adviser, your status ends immediately.

  • If you violate the immigration regulations you may be reinstated to lawful status if you have not been out of status more than five months, do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of immigration regulations, are currently pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study, have not engaged in unauthorized employment, and establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control (for example, serious injury or illness, a natural disaster, or inadvertence on the part of an international student). For more information, please contact your international student adviser.