Dakota State University students walking around campus

Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

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 and show up in the states, 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 U.S. To learn more about this fee which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, please visit the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 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

Preparing 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.

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 AHP plans for international students:

AHP Plans

Use this link to enroll



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 ) 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 U.S. a maximum of 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20. We recommend that you arrive at least 3-4 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

Best Western Plus Lakeview Hotel
456 SE 12th St
Madison, SD 57042
(605) 427-2110

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

Contact us

International Student Services
For questions about the international student program or the VISA process.
(605) 256-5267
Outside of the USA: 001-605-256-5267