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Is DSU the right fit for you?

Our website can tell you only so much about our beautiful campus and innovative programs. The best way to find out if DSU is right for you is to see for yourself!

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Preparing for DSU

We’re so glad you chose DSU and we can’t wait to welcome you to Madison. But before you pack your bags for Dakota State, there are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare.

Traveling to the United States requires you to take certain steps before you arrive and it always helps to be prepared and organized.

1 ) Pay your I-901 SEVIS fee

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

Remember to keep your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt and be sure to check that the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) identification (ID) number on the receipt matches the SEVIS ID number that appears on your Form I-20.

2 ) Apply for a visa

Locate the nearest US embassy or consulate in your home country and schedule an appointment for your visa interview. All visa applicants must provide the following documents to the US 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 US Embassy/Consulate)
  • Any other documents required by your embassy/consulate
  • Official admission letter from Dakota State University

Preparing for your visa interview

The US Consular Officer conducting your interview will assume that you plan to immigrate to the US permanently unless you prove otherwise. You need to prove you will only study temporarily in the US 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 US
  • 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.

3 ) Secure health insurance and immunizations

As a foreign national student, you are required to carry health insurance and demonstrate immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella.

Health insurance

You will be responsible for purchasing health insurance coverage that meets policy requirements, any federal visa requirements, and IRS regulations. 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. The Board of Regents has chosen two GeoBlue (PDF) plans for international students:

Inside the US call 1-844-268-2686
Outside the US call +1-610-263-2847


All students are obligated to demonstrate immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. Meningococcal and Hepatitis B vaccines are recommended. 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 immunization policy.

4 ) Complete the online pre-arrival orientation

You must complete and read through the required online Pre-Arrival Orientation and take the 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 US 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.

5 ) Arrive at DSU

It’s best if you reach out to the International Programs Office to coordinate your arrival. We can pick you up at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport and welcome you to town. The first step is to complete your Travel Arrangements form.

You may enter the US a maximum of 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20. 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 because you are required to attend the new student orientation.

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