Admitted International Students
Welcome to Hamline! We can't wait to meet you and get you settled in on campus. As an admitted student, there are several important steps you'll need to complete between now and arriving on campus. From obtaining a visa to getting up-to-date on vaccinations and booking your flight to Minnesota, we're here to help.
After being admitted to Hamline, the next step is to apply for your US visa. The following list outlines the steps you should follow to obtain your visa:
1. Check your immigration documents for accuracy
Be sure to check your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy once you receive it. If everything is accurate, sign your I-20/DS-2019. If you notice a problem, contact the GEC immediately so this can be resolved.
2. Pay the SEVIS fee, if applicable
You must pay the SEVIS fee at https://www.fmjfee.com 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 $350 for F-1 students or $220 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.
Degree-seeking students in F-1 status 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.
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.
In some areas, COVID-19 has caused long delays in visa processing times. You are encouraged to apply for your visa as soon as possible.
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.
4. Go to your visa interview
Information about the visa application process and what to bring with you is listed on the Exchange Student Department of State page for J-1 students, and the Student Visa Department of State page for F-1 students. 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. Remember that as a non-immigrant visa applicant, you must also demonstrate that you have a residence in a foreign country that you do not intend to abandon. For this reason it is important to bring documentary evidence that proves this to be true.
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.
If your visa was not approved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
For additional tips visit the NAFSA Website: "10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa".
Students must arrive at Hamline University by the program start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. You may enter the US up to 30 days before the program start; so make your travel plans accordingly.
Plan to fly into Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Chicago O'Hare airport is approximately 7 hours from Saint Paul, so students should not arrive there. You may be traveling during a busy time of year, so it is best to make travel plans early. 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.
Arrival notification and airport pickup
New international students with confirmed on-campus housing are eligible for free airport transport from Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport. Please contact the GEC at least two weeks before your arrival date to make arrangements.
If you are not eligible for a free airport pick-up, there are a multitude of transportation options that serve the MSP airport. Hamline University is approximately 9 miles from the airport, with taxi fares averaging $27-$32. More information about Ground Transportation at MSP is available on the airport website.
Entering the United States
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. You should also bring these documents to the first day of international student orientation, as well as your I-94 card if you received one (most students currently have a digital I-94 record, unless they entered the U.S. at a land border, or last entered the U.S. before the system was digitized), which you will receive at the airport upon arrival into the US. If entering at a land border, when completing your I-94 card, make sure that you write your name exactly as printed on your passport.
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.
Travel and COVID-19
Regulations surrounding travel and COVID-19 may change quickly. You may be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, and if travel is not permitted between your home country and the United States, you may need to travel to a third country and remain there for a specified period of time before continuing on to the US. You are responsible for understanding and following the rules and regulations that pertain to you, and making your travel plans accordingly. We recommend consulting your local embassy as well as the following resource:
CDC: International Travel and COVID-19
You will receive an email with instructions for setting up your Hamline Workday and email accounts. If you have any questions, please contact Hamline’s Central Service Desk.
Register for classes.
Exchange students and degree-seeking students who are transferring their degree program will receive an email from Hamline’s Center for Academic Success and Achievement with instructions for course registration; please follow the instructions to make your course selections. International degree-seeking students beginning a new program of study will register for courses as part of the mandatory orientation program.
Students living on campus must apply prior to arrival through the Office of Residential Life. Living in the residence halls is required for exchange students and recommended for all students who have never lived in the US before. The residence halls will provide you with many opportunities to meet other students and build a network of support. Each residence hall is staffed by an experienced Resident Advisor, who plans social events and programs and can act as a resource for you as a new student. Osborn Hall is home to the Global Piper Floor, which has been specially created to meet the needs of international students.
Meal plans are required for students living on campus. In the residence halls, you will also have wireless internet, electricity, water, gas, cable television, washing machine usage and other amenities included in the monthly housing fee. Note that these individual usage fees can be quite expensive if you live off-campus. Students living on campus must either bring their own linens or buy them on the first day of arrivals, when the GEC will make a special trip to the store in order to purchase any food, school materials, and home supplies that students may need.
Please note that once you pay the housing deposit, you are committed to living on campus per the terms of your agreement. You will not be able to cancel this agreement once you arrive on campus. While we strongly recommend on-campus housing for degree-seeking students new to the US, please consider this decision carefully.
International students who are admitted as degree seeking students have the option to live on or off campus. Again, we recommend that you live on campus if this is your first time in the US. Finding off campus housing can be a daunting task, particularly if you are seeking housing from overseas.
Please note that the GEC does not currently provide individual assistance with off campus housing. However, the information below may help you in your search. Whether you decide to live on or off campus, it is important that you make housing arrangements before you arrive at Hamline. If you cannot secure plans in advance, then you are responsible for arranging temporary housing.
Finding off-campus housing
We recommend that you use a combination of resources to search for your apartment. Here are some places that will help you get started:
- Craigslist (this link is set to search for the keyword 'Hamline')
- Apartment rental websites such as Apartments.com, Rent.com, ApartmentGuide.com, Padmapper.com, Placeofmine.com and others
- Newspapers (see St. Paul Pioneer Press classifieds)
- Post a message on the Hamline GEC Facebook page
- Seek help from trusted friends who have attended Hamline or live in the area
- Review utilities and services in your area:
- InMyArea.com—internet service comparison
- Minnesota Public Utilities Commission—public utilities (electric, gas, telephone)
Please visit the Hamline University immunization page for detailed information about immunization requirements.
- Start connecting with others and see what is going on at Hamline by joining our Facebook group.
- Learn about Minnesota by checking the current weather. You probably know that it can get rather cold in Minnesota, but how cold really? Take a few minutes to check what the average climate is like in Minnesota. Also check out some pictures and fast facts about Minnesota.
- Find student organizations and activities. There are two international student organizations at Hamline, both associated with the Global Engagement Center. There are also other student organizations and activities across campus where you will be able to use your talents and interests to gain important leadership skills, meet new people, enhance your educational experience, and have fun!
- Plan ahead for finances because you will need to pay your tuition and fees upon arrival at Hamline. See the Student Accounts website for information about methods of payment. Regarding books for classes, undergraduate student are enrolled in the Hamline textbook rental program, whereas graduate students will also need to purchase textbooks for your classes during your first week at Hamline. Be sure to factor in these costs.
- As an international student, there are specific regulations regarding on-campus and off-campus employment options which you may be interested in pursuing while you are at Hamline. More information can be found on the employment page of our website.
- Review our COVID-19 Safety Frequently asked questions.
- J-1 exchange students, review the Department of State welcome brochure.
What should you bring to the US?
- Make sure you have your passport, DS-2019 or I-20, and invitation letter to Hamline University packed in your carry-on luggage. You will need these to get through customs when you arrive in the US.
- Consider bringing pictures of your family, friends, pets, neighborhood, etc. Sometimes being away from home for months can be quite hard. Having something that reminds you of your home and the people you love can help you feel better during the days when you miss the people you love.
- You are welcome to bring traditional clothing or other items from your country. There are campus events during the year where you will be able to teach others about your country and culture.
- From October to March, Minnesota weather is very cold, so plan to bring warm clothing such as long sleeve shirts, sweaters, warm shoes, a set of gloves, a hat, and a scarf. If you forget to bring these items or you don’t have them at the moment, don’t worry—there will be plenty of opportunities to shop!
- The electricity supply in the US and the shape of electricity outlets may be different than in your home country. Electricity supply is 120 volts. If your appliances do not match the electricity supply or outlet shape, consider bringing an adapter or purchasing your electronics in the US.
- If you will be living on campus you need to either bring your own bedsheets and pillow or buy them when you arrive to campus. Please note that like most US universities the beds on campus are a unique size that require specially sized linens (single/twin, extra long).
- On the first night of International Student Orientation, we will make a special trip to the store in order for you to purchase any food, school, home supplies, and bedding that you may need.
- You will be asked to provide your immunization history to the Counseling and Health Service Office when you arrive. Be sure to bring this information with you.
- 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).
- 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 US. 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. Also, remember to carry your important immigration documents in your carry-on luggage.
Once you arrive
All international students, undergraduate and graduate, must attend the international student orientation. You are also required to attend any additional mandatory orientation events for your academic program.
Specific information for maintaining immigration status, insurance, employment options, and more are included in international student orientation.
Undergraduate and graduate students
Orientation is required for F-1/J-1 visa holders (this includes new transfer students). If you are new to the United States and do not hold F-1 status but would like to attend orientation to meet other international students and obtain information that may be useful to you, you are welcome to attend. Please email email@example.com in advance to let us know you will be coming.
- Immigration visa briefing where you will learn more about the federal requirements of your visa status, as well as Hamline's related policies and procedures (mandatory for F-1 and J-1 visa holders).
- Presentations from various Hamline offices tailored specifically to international student needs. This information is unique to international orientation, so it is important that you attend.
- Campus tour where you will meet with staff from offices which you will regularly rely on as a Hamline student
- Social activities where you can meet other students and begin to get to know your new surroundings in Minnesota
- On the first day of arrival, we will make a special trip to the store in order for you to purchase any food, school materials, and home supplies that you may need.
Bring all immigration documents (passport, US visa, I-94, and I-20/DS-2019), and be prepared to provide your local contact information (address, phone number, etc.) on the first day of orientation. This is required in order to register your SEVIS immigration record with the Department of Homeland Security.
Required orientation events
You are also required to attend any additional mandatory orientation events for your program. Please see the list below for more information about required orientation events.
First-year degree-seeking undergraduate students
- International Student Orientation (all days)
- Fall Orientation for First-Year Students
Transfer degree-seeking undergraduate students
- International Student Orientation (all days)
- Transfer Student Orientation
- International Student Orientation (all days).
- Your academic program might have a separate mandatory orientation. Please contact your academic department for more information.
- The graduate admission office also hosts an optional Graduate Student Orientation for all incoming graduate students
- Spring and summer term MBA admits start classes at a different date then all other Hamline students. If you start during summer, you will join the fall International Student Orientation.