Preparing for DSU

Preparing to arrive at DSU

We are excited you are considering joining us at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. The information provided here will help you as you plan to prepare for your travels to the U.S.

Getting started

Most new students must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an entry visa or entering the U.S. To learn more about this fee which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, please visit the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

Locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country and schedule an appointment for your visa interview. For more information, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

All visa applicants must provide the following documents to the U.S. embassy or consulate at the time of application:

  • Valid Passport
  • I-20
  • Documented proof of financial support for at least one year
  • Proof of SEVIS Fee payment (receipt)
  • Visa application forms (available from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate)
  • Any other documents required by your embassy/consulate
  • Official admission letter from Dakota State University

Health insurance and immunizations

As a foreign national student, BOR Policy 3.14 requires that you will be required to have credible health insurance as determined by the SD Board of Regents. You will be responsible for purchasing health insurance coverage that meets BOR Policy 3.14 requirements, any federal visa requirements, and IRS regulations.

The South Dakota Board of Regents has chosen two GeoBlue plans for you: the Basic plan and the Enhanced plan. You will be required to provide proof of coverage to the International Programs Office. If you do not provide proof of insurance, you will not be able to enroll in any SD Board of Regents university. However, under limited circumstances, SDBOR may waive this requirement if a student provides adequate proof of coverage by completing the Health Insurance Waiver Request Form. The following reasons will qualify you for a waiver of the health insurance requirement:

  • Embassy Sponsored Insurance – Documentation due no later than 10/1.
  • Employer Sponsored (including Medical Evacuation and Repatriation)
  • ISEP Exchange
  • Indefinite Residence
  • Provide Documentation of SD Domicile based on Visa Status (defined by BOR)
  • Athletics
  • Government sponsored insurance: In order to be waived you must provide a letter from the insurance provider guaranteeing credible coverage in the United States.

Proof of coverage is required by the add/drop date, as specified by the academic calendar, and should be provided to the International Programs Office. If you do not provide proof of coverage you will be withdrawn from DSU.

Insurance Carrier


Inside the U.S. call 1-844-268-2686

Outside the U.S. call +1-610-263-2847

Register for the Basic Plan Access Code: PCS-44605

Register for the Enhanced Plan Access Code PCX-44607


All students are obligated to demonstrate immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.

Acceptable Evidence of Immunity to MMR Includes:

  • Immunization record which specifies administration of two doses of the MMR vaccine.
  • Medical laboratory report that proves immunity to MMR. i.e., Titer Reports.

You will not be able to register for classes if you do not comply with the immunizations policy.

Meningococcal and Hepatitis B vaccines are recommended.

Practice for your visa interview

The U.S. Consular Officer conducting your interview will assume that you plan to immigrate to the U.S. permanently unless you prove otherwise. You need to prove you will only study temporarily in the U.S. and will return home after your studies are complete. Be prepared to answer the following confidently and clearly in English:

  • Your area of study
  • Your reason for wanting to study in the U.S.
  • Proof of financial ability and how you are able to cover all your expenses for one year.
  • Your reasons for returning home after you complete your studies (strong ties to your home country).
  • Family; Job waiting for your return; Property Ownership, Specific future educational, employment or career goals that will be carried out in your home country.

Note: If your visa is denied, ask your consular official to provide a written explanation of the denial.

Required online pre-arrival orientation

You must complete the required online Pre-Arrival Orientation (PDF) and quiz before departing for the US. This information has been prepared specifically for you and should help you with your transition to life in the U.S. and arriving to South Dakota prepared. If you choose not to participate in the orientation, we will not pick you up from the airport and your SEVIS record will not be registered.

How to arrive

If you decide to enroll at DSU, we are able to retrieve you from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport if you arrive in the Sioux Falls, SD.

Confirm your arrival information with the International Programs Office by completing the Travel Arrangements to DSU form.

If you do not secure housing before your arrival, please make arrangements to stay at one of the local hotels:

504 10th Street SE
Madison, SD 57042
(800) 634-3444

Super 8 Hotel
219 N. Highland Avenue
Madison, SD 57042
(605) 256-6931

Lake Park Motel
1515 NW 2nd Street
Madison, SD 57042
(605) 256-3524

When you arrive

You may enter the U.S. a maximum of 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20. You are required to attend the New Student Orientation. We recommend that you arrive at least 1-2 days before the beginning of orientation so that you have time to get settled and rested.


We know that there’s a lot here to take in. Please call our International Programs Office at (605) 256-5267 / 1-888-378-9988, or chat live.

Contact Us!