•  Next Steps After Admission 

    The information in this section should be read through fully and thoroughly.  For your convenience you may click and skip to each section if you need to review and refer back to information provided. 

    Phase 1. Obtain your visa

    • Step 1: Review and check your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy.

    • If all of your information is correct, sign your I-20/DS-2019. If you notice a problem, contact your admissions representative immediately so this can be resolved.
    • Step 2: Pay the SEVIS fee (if applicable)
      You must pay the SEVIS fee after receiving your initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019, but prior to your visa appointment. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee, and may be paid online or by mail. The SEVIS fee is $200 for F-1 students or $180 for J-1 Exchange Visitors. Proof of payment is required when you appear for your visa interview and when you enter the United States, so save a copy of your SEVIS fee receipt. 

      Students who have transferred their SEVIS record from a previous institution and have already paid the SEVIS fee may not be required to pay again. However, if you attended a US institution but left the US for more than five months and now have a new SEVIS number, you must pay the SEVIS fee again.  To pay the SEVIS fee or for more information, please refer to the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement website.
    • Step 3. Schedule your US visa interview
      You may apply for a US visa only from outside the United States at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. Generally you may apply up to 120 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Students who have been issued a form I-20 will apply for an F-1 visa; students or scholars who have been issued a form DS-2019 will apply for a J-1 visa. 

      If you have previously been enrolled at a US institution but left the US for more than five months and now have a new SEVIS number, you must pay the SEVIS fee again and are advised to apply for a new visa even if you have an unexpired visa in your passport.

      Optional: Many countries have EducationUSA Advising Centers that offer assistance to international students including pre-departure orientation and workshops that provide guidance in the US visa application process. EducationUSA Advising Centers are administered and supported by the US Department of State. To find a center near you, visit the EducationUSA website.
    • Step 4. Go to your visa interview
      Information about the visa application process and what to bring with you is listed on the Department of State website. It is important to bring all required documents with you to your visa appointment, and to answer questions clearly and truthfully. Be prepared to explain your reasons for choosing to study in the United States, and that you have strong country ties and no intention to migrate.
       After your visa interview, if your visa has been approved please check the visa stamp for accuracy. If there are any errors these must be corrected at the US Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. You may then begin planning for the next steps!  

       If your visa was NOT approved, please email gec@hamline.edu and your admissions representative to let us know whether you will schedule another visa appointment or defer attendance to a future semester. You may request that the Consulate or Embassy provide you with a written statement explaining the reason for denial.

    Phase 2. Make travel arrangements

    Now that you have your student visa, you will need to make your travel arrangements. Below are frequently asked questions and answers relating to arrival on campus.

    When should I book my airline tickets, and how soon can I arrive to Hamline?

    Students may arrive at Hamline University on or up to 30 days before the program start date on their I-20 or DS-2019, so make your travel plans accordingly. You may be traveling during a busy time of year, so it is best to make travel plans as soon as you obtain your student visa.

    Where should I fly into?

    Have your final destination listed as Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). This airport is approximately a 20 minute drive from Hamline. If at all possible book a direct flight into MSP. There may be times when a direct flight is not possible. One of the closest cities to connect through is Chicago O'Hare airport (approximately 7 hours drive from Minneapolis/Saint Paul).

    Can someone meet me at the airport, and what is the best time of day to arrive? 

    We do offer airport assistance/greeters for select days and times each semester. We highly recommend scheduling a flight that arrives during our business hours 9-5 p.m. If you arrive after this time and have questions you can call Safety and Security office at 651-523-2100. If you have signed up for an airport greeter, he/she will help you navigate the airport and drive you back to campus. You must sign up for this service at least 2 weeks prior to your arrival date in MSP. Please note that the airport pickup service is only available for new international students with confirmed on-campus housing. This is coordinated through the GEC office at 651-523-2245. Incoming students should also receive information regarding this service via email.

    I am living on campus, will my room be ready once I arrive? 

    If you will be living on campus, check what days you are allowed to move into your room. This should be e-mailed to you or will be included in your welcome letter. If you do not find this information call the Residence Life office directly at 651-523-2061.

    I would like to take a taxi, how much does it cost and where can I find one? 

    If you are not eligible for a free airport pick-up, there are a multitude of transportation options which serve the MSP airport. Hamline University is approximately 9 miles from the airport, with taxi fares averaging $27-$40. More information about Ground Transportation at MSP is available on the airport website.

    Entering the United States

    Do I need my immigration documents with me or can I check them with my luggage? 

    Make sure to have your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and admission letter to Hamline University accessible in your carry-on luggage. You will need these to get through customs when you arrive in the United States. Remember, if you are bringing food or money into the US, please be aware that in some cases these must be declared at customs. For information about entry into the United States, you may visit the Customs & Border Protection website.

    You will be asked to provide your immunization history to the Counseling and Health Services office when you arrive. Be sure to bring this information with you.

    Phase 3. Pack

    Be sure to clearly label all luggage.

    If you do not yet know your address in the US, you may label your luggage with the GEC address (but be sure to also include your own name):

    Global Engagement Center
    1536 Hewitt Ave, MS-C1927
    Saint Paul, MN 55104

    Check the luggage restrictions for the airline that you are flying.

    Weight restrictions may vary by airline. We recommend packing a carry-on bag with a change of clothes, toothbrush/toothpaste, snacks, any required medication (in its original container) and other items that you may need in your first few days in the United States. In some cases lost luggage can take a few days to recover, so keep this in mind if there are things that you will need immediately.

    Packing list for students arriving for summer/fall terms (June - Sept)

    • light fall jacket
    • fall boots
    • summer clothing

    Packing list for students arriving in spring term (Jan)

    From October to March Minnesota weather is very cold, so plan to bring warm clothing such as:

    • long sleeve shirts
    • sweaters
    • warm shoes
    • a few sets of gloves
    • warm hats and scarves

    Please note: as a part of our welcome activities GEC offers shopping trips to local stores and the Mall of America each semester. If you do not pack the suggested items above, please budget and plan to attend the shopping excursion. Details on the shopping excursion trips will be noted in the pre-arrival communications you receive from the GEC.

    Bedding (for all students living on campus)

    If you will be living on campus you need to either bring your own bedding items (sheet, pillow, blanket), buy during our shopping excursion, or order bed sheets and pillow from the Residential Life Office. Please note that like most US universities the beds on campus are a unique size that require specially sized linens (Single/ Twin, Extra-Long). For shipping information, be sure to use our office address:

    Global Engagement Center
    1536 Hewitt Ave, MS-C1927
    Saint Paul, MN 55104

    Phase 4. Arrive and Attend Orientation

    Upon your arrival you will need to check in with the Global Engagement Center. Our office is open 9-5 p.m. and is located at:

    742 Snelling Ave N
    St. Paul, MN 55104

    Once you arrive a GEC staff member will help schedule your SEVIS Registration appointment, and will direct you to Safety and Security to obtain your Hamline ID. At this time we also provide new students with a welcome bag and the most updated orientation schedule.

    Access the Fall/Spring orientation schedule »