Spring 2022 Information for New International Students

Welcome to the University of Minnesota!

We are excited you will be attending the University of Minnesota this spring. All of our campuses (Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities) have returned to fully on-campus operations.

Since March 2020, the U.S. government has provided flexibility to international students by temporarily waiving restrictions on the number of courses students can take online while inside the U.S. Students should be aware, however, that many UMN courses will only be offered in-person. If you have questions about online courses, we encourage you to consult with your academic adviser/department to review course availability.

ISSS wants you to have the information available about your options. We developed this webpage to give you access to the current information. Please be aware that this information may change. We will regularly update the webpage as new information becomes available. For more information:

Answers to Questions Frequently Asked by New International Students

General Information

What is the University doing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus?

The University has and remains committed to ensuring the safety of all students, staff, faculty, and community members. Review the SAFE-U website for ongoing updates.

How can I talk to an ISSS staff person?

International students who are starting classes online or will be arriving at the University of Minnesota for the first time can email [email protected] with any questions. We will be happy to answer your inquiry or direct you to the appropriate office.

Who should I contact if I want to defer my admission?

We hope you will be able to join us at the University of Minnesota. If your plans change, please contact the appropriate office as soon as possible:

  • Undergraduate Students: Admissions ([email protected]) and your college of enrollment. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has additional information.
  • Graduate and Professional Students: Your program/department. 
  • Non-degree Students: Your program coordinator.
  • Sponsored students: Your sponsoring agency and the sponsored student program at [email protected].

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Immigration Documents

Who should I contact to ask a question about my I-20/DS-2019?

If you have an I-20, please contact the following:

If you have a DS-2019, please contact the following:

  • Issued by the University of Minnesota: [email protected] 
  • Issued by a different J-1 program (for example, Fulbright): Your placement office 

Can you send me an electronic copy of my I-20 or DS-2019?

For documents issued by the UMN:

  • I-20: Your initial I-20 will be sent electronically. Please contact the email listed in the previous question if you have specific questions/requests.
  • DS-2019: We can send an unsigned, digital copy of the document for information and visa scheduling purposes. The digital copy cannot be used during the visa interview or to enter the United States. You will need to receive the signed, original DS-2019 in the mail before your visa interview.

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Visa Interviews

I'm having difficulties scheduling an appointment for my visa interview. What can I do?

We recommend checking whether appointments are available at another consulate. Some consulates have begun scheduling visa appointments while others have not, so while the consulate nearest you may not have appointments available, another one in your country or nearby may.

Once you have a visa appointment, you can request an Expedited or Emergency Appointment. Follow the instructions for the US embassy in your country at ustraveldocs.com.

What will happen to my SEVIS fee if I pay it but do not have a visa appointment?

You can decide whether you wish to start the process now or wait. Your SEVIS fee will be valid for one year from the date of payment and should be paid one to two weeks before your visa appointment. Check the embassy or consulate website for visa appointment availability.

Will I need a physical form (versus an electronic copy) of my I-20 or DS-2019 when I go for my visa interview?

  • F-1 Students: You are allowed to use the electronic signature and delivery of Form I-20. You must print the I-20 and sign and date the bottom of page 1 for it to be valid. Bring the printed, signed I-20 to your visa interview. 
  • J-1 Students: For those on a J-1 visa, ISSS is not allowed to send you an electronic DS-2019 with an electronic signature. We will need to print and mail your DS-2019 before you go for your visa interview.

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Travel Information

What do I need to know before flying to the United States? What governmental restrictions/requirements are in place? 

Please go to our webpage with Updates on International Travel for more information.

Is the UMN requiring individuals to quarantine after arriving at the UMN?

The University of Minnesota is not currently requiring individuals to quarantine themselves, but we do request that international travelers isolate themselves until they have had a COVID-19 test after arriving. This means you are allowed to leave your housing, but we ask that you limit your time around other people by planning ahead and using delivery services.

Please review the CDC’s website for international travel as the UMN is following its recommendations.

What is the earliest I can arrive in the U.S.?

The following information is the earliest date you can arrive under visa regulations.

  • If you have an I-20: You can enter the U.S. on or after “the Earliest Admission Date” printed on your document. 
  • If you have a DS-2019: You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the "From" date in box 3 of your document. 

ISSS recommends Spring 2022 students arrive in the U.S. at least 10 days before the program start date on their I-20 or DS-2019.

How can students prove to an immigration officer that they are enrolled in courses that are not 100% online?

You should bring these documents in your carry-on luggage when you enter the U.S. These documents are not required but could be helpful if you are asked questions about your courses. 

If you have not registered for classes

Undergraduate students who are not registered for classes can bring a printed screenshot of the Orientation Date listed on your New Student Checklist.

Graduate/professional degree students who are not registered for courses should print out information from your program about when you will register for classes. 

If you have registered for classes

Based on the systems used at the University of Minnesota, we recommend you do the following:

  1. Go to the Academics tab of MyU.
  2. Click on registration and then the button to register for classes (it states “Register (Shopping Cart)”)
  3. Select Spring 2022 and click “Continue”.
  4. You will then be shown a list of your courses.
  5. Take a screenshot of your classes (the directions for how to do this varies by computer)
  6. Print out your screenshot and this PDF.

What is the latest date that I can arrive at UMN and still attend for Spring 2022?

If you will arrive after the Program Start Date on your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to obtain permission to start after this date. 

  1. First, contact your academic adviser or department as soon as you are aware of the delay. They can share specific information about what you need to do for your program.
  2. If you will miss any classes, you must contact EACH of your instructors to get permission to miss class and to start late.
  3. After obtaining permission for arriving late, you will need to obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a modified date to enter the U.S.

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I have a question about my degree program and/or what classes I should take. Who should I contact?

ISSS is not able to answer questions about specific classes or academic programs. If you have questions, you will need to contact the following:

  • Undergraduate students: Contact your Academic Advisor.
  • Graduate/professional degree students: Contact your department/Graduate Program Advisor.
  • Non-degree or exchange students: Contact your program coordinator. 
  • Sponsored students with program-specific questions can contact [email protected].

If you are uncertain who this person is, you can email [email protected]. We can help direct you to the appropriate office.

Studying While Inside the U.S.

I heard that SEVP issued temporary guidance for international student enrollment during the COVID pandemic. What do I need to know if I will be studying while within the U.S.?

The University of Minnesota is strongly encouraging all students to enroll in in-person classes if they can travel to the U.S. This will allow you to have the best experience and the most options for your class registration.

You should also consult with your Academic Advisor/department about University policy and program-specific requirements. ISSS can only advise on your immigration-related requirements.

Beginning Students (Those enrolling at the UMN for the first time who have not previously been in another U.S. educational program)

You will need to enroll in a full-time course load including at least one hybrid or in-person course. You are expected to enroll in courses taught in person, but immigration regulations allow you to enroll in online courses, if available.

SEVIS Transfer Students (Those who have previously been enrolled in another U.S. educational program)
  • Transfer students who studied inside the U.S. in fall 2021 and will now take courses inside the U.S. during spring 2022 must register full time. You are expected to enroll in courses taught in person, but immigration regulations allow you to enroll in online courses, if available. Currently:
    • F-1 students may take all classes online.
    • J-1 students must register for at least one in-person class.
  • Transfer students who studied online outside the U.S. in fall 2021 and now plan to take courses while inside the U.S. must register full time and should plan to take a hybrid or in-person course. 

If I have a class with an online lecture and in-person lab, would it count as an online or in-person class?

Please contact your Academic Advisor/Graduate Program Coordinator for questions related to individual classes.

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Studying While Outside the U.S.

Will I be able to study online from my home country this spring?

We hope you will be able to join us in person this spring. As the majority of the University of Minnesota’s classes will be held in person, studying on campus will mean you will have access to the widest variety of classes. We also believe this will give you the best experience. The University of Minnesota, however, understands that some international students may not be able to come to the U.S. due to visa or travel difficulties. 

You need to contact your Academic Advisor/department about program-specific requirements and online course availability. ISSS can only advise on your immigration-related requirements, and there is nothing in the regulations that would prevent you from studying online this spring. You are not required to follow the F-1/J-1 student visa requirements until you arrive in the U.S.

Will there be enough online courses for international students who are unable to travel to the U.S.?

Decisions about course offerings are generally made at the college and program level. You will need to talk to your Academic Advisor/Graduate Program Coordinator about your need for online courses when you meet to discuss registration. Staff at International Student and Scholar Services have also communicated with departments and colleges to ask that they give international students options and flexibility, but your academic advisor/department will be able to answer questions about your program’s courses and options.

I am studying online while in my home country. If there are not enough online courses for me to be a full-time student, can I take below the full-time requirement?

New “Initial Attendance” I-20 Students

Students who have not yet entered the U.S. for their current degree program are not required to follow F-1/J-1 rules while studying from outside the U.S. You can start your UMN studies and enroll full- or part-time without notifying ISSS.

Please note: If you enroll part-time, talk to your academic advisor/department. There may be additional documentation for you to complete for tuition or academic purposes.

New SEVIS Transfer Students (Those who have previously been enrolled in another U.S. educational program)

If you are a SEVIS transfer student and you have an Active SEVIS record with your current/previous institution, ISSS will be required to terminate your SEVIS record for not enrolling full time. Please contact ISSS to tell us if this is your case.

If your SEVIS record is terminated, you will need to contact ISSS before you return to the U.S. to request a new I-20/DS-2019. We request you contact ISSS three months before your planned arrival to allow processing time.

Note: You should be aware that if your SEVIS record is terminated, you will not be eligible to apply for OPT/CPT until you have completed 2 full-time semesters while inside the U.S. (for example, spring and fall). You will also need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

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ISSS Requirements for New International Students

What do I need to do to have the AI Hold removed from my account?

If you will study in-person while inside the U.S.

All new international students arriving at the University of Minnesota for the first time must complete two new student requirements to have this hold removed: 

We also encourage you to attend Global Gopher Events, but this is not required. If you have any questions about new student requirements, email [email protected].

If you are unsure if you will be able to study on-campus during Spring 2022

We recommend that you complete the International Student Preparation Course now.

If you will take all of your courses online while outside of the U.S. in Spring 2022

You do not need to complete your New Student Requirements now, but we strongly encourage you to complete the International Student Preparation Course as soon as possible.

  • Undergraduate Students: Your AI hold will be temporarily released so that you can register for classes when you attend your New Student Orientation. 
  • Graduate Students: Your AI hold has been temporarily released to allow registration for the Spring 2022 semester.

I deferred my admission and did not enroll in courses last fall/spring. Do I need to complete the International Student Preparation Course?

Yes, if you deferred your admission and did not enroll in classes for the Fall 2021 semester, you must complete the new International Student Preparation Course before the start of the Spring 2022 semester.

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UMN COVID Vaccine Requirements & Access

Is the University of Minnesota requiring all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19?

All University of Minnesota students (whether you taking courses in person or enrolled online) must complete this Student COVID-19 Immunization Vaccination Form. To complete the form, you will need to either submit your vaccination information or submit documentation of a religious or medical exemption. Go to the Get the Vax website for the most up-to-date information including a link to the form students must complete. 

Please note: Students who work at the university (including graduate/teaching assistants or student workers) are required to provide additional proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Go to Get the Vax website , and review the information for "Faculty, Staff, Graduate and Undergraduate Student Workers, Adjuncts, Professionals in Training, and Postdoctoral Associates".

I received a vaccine that has not been approved or authorized for use in the United States. Will the University accept it?

Acceptable COVID-19 Vaccines are those approved or authorized for use by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Will I be eligible for a vaccine upon arrival?

Yes, UMN students, scholars, and dependents who are 18 years old or older will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine on campus through Boynton Health. The Boynton Health Website has several options for getting vaccinated. You can call Boynton Health at 612-625-3222 to make an appointment. 

Family members aged 5 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Use the Minnesota Vaccine Connector to find a location that works well for your family members.

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Health Insurance

Am I required to have health insurance if I am studying within the United States?

Yes, all international students who are in the United States are required to have the Student Health Benefit Plan or the Graduate Assistantship Plan.

Does the student health insurance cover me if I were to get sick?

Yes, please review the Office of Student Health Benefits website for more information about the Student Health Benefit Plan or the Graduate Assistant Health Plan. You can also email [email protected] if you have additional questions about your insurance plan.

Am I required to have health insurance if I am studying online while outside the United States?

If you are studying outside of the U.S. in your home country, you will need to waive the University-sponsored insurance (SHBP). Every semester you will have to submit a completed waiver form to the Office of Student Health Benefits by mail, email, or fax. You are not required to submit additional documentation if you have not traveled to the U.S. on a UMN visa.

Once approved, your health insurance waiver will be valid for one semester. 

(“Residence in your home country” means you’re physically studying remotely in your home country.)

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Student Fees

Where can I find information about student fees?

You should review the One Stop website and/or contact One Stop if you have questions about your student fees.

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I plan to study in person for spring 2022. How can I find a job?

New international students may work up to 20 hours per week on the UMN campus. To be certain that a job is a UMN campus job, you should review the postings on this website (click on Students). International students are not eligible for jobs that require Work-Study funds.

Can I have a University of Minnesota job if I am an international student studying online while outside the U.S.?

Some students may be hired and continue/start new jobs while being outside the U.S. during the spring semester. 

  • Graduate and professional degree students: Contact your academic department so they can assist you in the next steps to determine if you are eligible for employment.
  • Undergraduate students: If you wish to start a new position, you should tell the hiring department that you are hoping to work remotely from another country when you are applying for the position. 

As a student, what paperwork do I need to complete before starting employment?

You should talk to the Human Resources/I-9 Administrator for the department where you will work about the process to complete your Form I-9. You will need to present several documents to complete this form. All new UMN employees must complete their I-9 on or before their first day of employment. 

Do I need a Social Security Number before I start work?

If you do not have one, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number. This can be done after you begin work. You do not need a Social Security Number to complete the I-9.

Follow ISSS instructions for applying for a Social Security Number.

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Temporary Housing

I am arriving before I can move into my housing. Does the University have options for where I live until my housing is available?

  • Students who will live on-campus during the school year: To move into your on-campus residence hall or apartment before Saturday, January 15, 2021, please email [email protected] to request an earlier move-in date.
  • Students who will live off-campus during the academic semester: There is no temporary housing available on campus, but there are a variety of hotels near campus. For a list of local hotels, go to Meet Minneapolis or Visit St. Paul. We recommend asking if the hotel has a discount for students/families starting at the University of Minnesota.

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On-Campus Housing

I have questions about living on-campus. Who should I contact?

For questions about on-campus housing, please review the Housing and Residential Life website for more information. To read more specific information for international students, please visit the Housing’s webpage for international students

What if I become sick or am exposed to COVID-19 while living on-campus?

Residents can request isolation spaces if they become sick or are exposed to COVID. Please review the Housing and Residential Life website for the current information, as policies are constantly reviewed and modified.

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Off-Campus Housing

I have questions about living off-campus. Who should I contact?

For questions about living off-campus, please review the Off-Campus Living website. It provides an overview of the neighborhoods surrounding the university and some things to be aware of when you are renting in the U.S. 

You will need to contact a landlord or apartment manager directly to get information about renting a specific property. Check the reviews of a specific rental property for you to know whether it is suitable for your needs. 

I’ve found somewhere I want to live off-campus, and I’m now being told I will need to sign a lease. What should I do?

It is important that you fully understand the lease before signing. We strongly recommend asking Student Legal Services to review your lease and/or to provide advice on negotiating with your landlord. SLS’s support is free for all UMN students who have paid the Student Services Fee.

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Last updated: September 18, 2023