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University of Minnesota Duluth
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Pre-Arrival Information

General Pre-Arrival Information

Airline and Arrival

The Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota is served by Delta, United Airlines and Allegiant Air.

  • Delta offers seven daily nonstop flights from Duluth to Minneapolis/St. Paul and two daily nonstop flights to Detroit. United Express offers twice daily nonstop flights to Chicago. Allegiant Air offers two weekly nonstop flights to Las Vegas and two weekly nonstop flights to Orlando.
  • Flights can be booked online at www.delta.com, www.united.com, www.allegiantair.com, or through a travel agent.
  • For more information on the Duluth International Airport, visit www.duluthairport.com.

If you are arriving at the Minneapolis airport and want to take a bus to Duluth, there are 3 options:

If you are a new student arriving in Duluth via airplane, bus, or shuttle and would like ISS to arrange pick you up, please email ISS in advance of your arrival. Please note: ISS arranged pick-up hours are between 8:00am-11:00pm.

On the airplane, you will be given an I-94 Arrival and Departure card. Keep this in your passport and it is very important that you do not lose it! Immigration officials will inspect your visa documents at the U.S. airport. Remember to carry all your visa documents on your person, not in your luggage.

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International students are eligible to work part-time on campus when jobs are available. Many international students work part-time on campus or have a graduate assistantship. International students are eligible to work part-time on campus when jobs are available. Many international students work part-time on campus. Employment information can be accessed via the Office of Human Resources website. Steps to Finding a Student Job are included. To view employment opportunities, select the Online Postings link. To find part-time, on-campus employment, be sure to filter the search bar with "Student On-Campus" and "Duluth" as the Campus Location.

To look for employment in Food Service, go to:Food Service Employment Listings.

Students can work a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session. Full-time employment is allowed during breaks and summer. International students cannot work off campus without special permission from the U.S. government.

International students are not eligible for work-study, a U.S. government financial aid program. International students can only apply for non work-study jobs on campus.

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Health Care

In the United States the government does not pay for health care. Your Student Services Fee pays for services at UMD Health Services and you are required to purchase health insurance. Health care in the United States is complicated and very expensive – one illness can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and financially devastate you and your family. Therefore, for your protection, UMD mandates that all international students purchase the Student Health Benefit Plan. For more information about the plan, please visit the Office of Student Health Benefits.

Waiving the Plan

If you are covered by either of the following, you will not be required to purchase the Student Health Benefit Plan.

  • A United States-based employer-sponsored health plan or;
  • Graduate Assistant Insurance Plan (GA Plan) provided by the University of Minnesota

Please see Anna Gilmore, the International Student Advisor, to register for the waiver.

Before arriving to Duluth, please review and fill out the following forms:

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Immigration Regulations

See U.S. Government Regulations, Employment, and Travel Information.

International Student Advisor

Anna Gilmore
237 Kirby Student Center
Phone: 218-726-7305
E-mail: Anna Gilmore

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The University of Minnesota Duluth is located in Duluth, Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake.


Duluth has 4 distinct seasons during the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. During these seasons, the weather can vary dramatically. Summers tend to be warm and humid with the temperature averaging 17 degrees Celsius. The winters in Minnesota tend to be long and cold stretching from November to March. During that time temperatures average about –7 degrees Celsius. Fall and spring are transition seasons in which the weather is very unpredictable. It is usually cool in the mornings and evenings, but warmer during the day.

Money and Banking

Make sure you bring funds with you to cover immediate costs of purchasing warm winter clothing, health insurance, rental deposit, at least two months’ room and board cost if living off campus, and your first semester’s tuition. You may want to bring money to cover ALL your living and educational expenses for the first semester. We recommend you do not carry money in your luggage, keep it on your person at all times. Also be sure you arrange for the balance of funds that you need for the year to be sent to you before the next semester begins.

You will be able to set up an account with a local bank once you arrive. There is one bank (TCF Bank) located right on campus and several others within walking distance. It is also possible to have money transferred electronically to TCF Bank from other countries once you have set up an account. The University does not accept wire transfers for tuition payment.

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Things to Bring

Bring something warm to wear, especially if you are arriving from a warmer climate. Duluth can be very cold during the winter and rainy during spring and fall. It is always a good idea to bring a raincoat, umbrella, warm pair of shoes, warm hat and gloves, casual wear (jeans, shirts, sweatpants etc.) waterproof clothing, and your native costume in case you want to wear it to cultural events.

Also, it can be nice to have pictures of your friends and family as well as some music from your country. If you are on prescription medication, make sure you have enough of a supply or that you can find similar medication here in Duluth.

You will also need to bring your own bedding and sheets for on-campus housing. Make sure you talk to Anna Gilmore before you arrive in order to make appropriate arrangements.

Transfer Students

Students must remember to send their official college transcripts and course descriptions. The receiving college or university decides what credits transfer and whether those credits meet its degree requirements.

See this website for additional transfer student information and procedures.

Tuition and Fees

You will be responsible for paying the amount of money indicated on your financial certification form and on your I-20 form. If you do not believe you can pay the costs indicated on your financial certification statement, you should request postponement of your enrollment until you have the adequate funding.

Estimate your Cost of Attendance and see current Tuition Rates and Fees.

See Anna Gilmore if you have any questions about financial aid.

The UMD Office of Financial Aid and Registrar administers financial aid programs for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

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Visa/SEVIS Information

It is very important to enter the U.S. with the proper visa. You must apply for an entry visa stamp in your passport so that you can enter the U.S. in student status. F visas can only be obtained outside of the U.S. at a U.S. embassy or consulate. To apply for an entry visa, follow these steps:

Caution: Do NOT enter the U.S. in visitor status (B1/B2 or WB/WT-Visa Waiver). Individuals with this visa status are not eligible to register for classes.

1. Get your I-20/Decide among multiple schools

If you have been admitted to UMD, you will be sent an I-20. If you have been admitted to multiple schools, you will need to decide and be certain of which school you will attend before applying for your visa. You MUST attend the school that is indicated on the I-20 that you use for your visa application. You should NOT apply for a visa until you are certain which school you would like to attend.

2. Pay the SEVIS fee

Most new students must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an entry visa. People who are from Visa Exempt Countries are also generally required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The fee is assessed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is not administered by UMD. You must have your I-20 from UMD before paying the fee. Watch the I-901 SEVIS fee payment tutorial, get more information on the I-901 fee, or pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Returning students who have not been absent from the U.S. for more than 5 months generally do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
  • The form requires the "School Code" which is on your I-20.
  • The form requires the SEVIS Identification Number on the I-20. This # is in the upper right hand corner of the I-20 and begins with an N and has 10 digits.
  • The Credit Card Form has a place for Cardholder address. You do not need to fill this in. It is not a required field. The space is too small for most international addresses.
  • Bring the receipt with you to your visa interview.

3. Locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country

Embassy and consulate information is available online. Find a U.S. embassy or consulate. DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application

4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview

Your local embassy or consulate will have specific instructions for scheduling an appointment. Keep in mind that waiting times for an appointment can be lengthy (up to several weeks or longer), especially during the busy summer months. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your I-20. Approximate visa wait times at consular locations can be found at the Department of State website.

5. Prepare documents 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 or online)
  • Any other documents requested by your embassy/consulate (possible examples: photographs, transcripts, diplomas, scores from standardized tests (TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.))

6. Practice for your visa interview

When applying for your non-immigrant visa, the U.S. Consular Officer interviewing you will assume that you plan to immigrate permanently to the U.S unless you prove otherwise. During the interview you will need to prove that you will only study temporarily in the U.S. and will return home after your studies are complete. Answer all questions truthfully but only provided information related to the question asked. Be prepared to answer confidently and clearly in English:

  • Your area of study
  • Your reason for wanting tostudy in the U.S.
  • Proof of sufficient funds and how your funds are able to cover all of your expenses for a minimum of one year
  • Your good reasons for returning home after you complete your studies. You must be able to provide documentary evidence where possible of the strong ties you have to your country. It could include having all of your family in your country, having a job offer awaiting you when you return, or proof of property ownership. Other facts to emphasize are specific future educational, employment or career goals that will be carried out in your home country. Do not emphasize relatives who live or study in the U.S.

We recommend practicing your visa interview with a family member or friend!

Check the status of your visa application

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Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are eligible to enter the U.S. without obtaining an entry visa in their passport. However, Canadian citizens must obtain an I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the US. Upon entry, you must present to immigration your passport, I-20, proof of financial support for at least one year, and proof of SEVIS fee payment.

Canadian Landed Immigrants: You are required to obtain a visa. See your nearest American Consulate for more information.


Your spouse and children under 21 are eligible to accompany you to the U.S. with a dependent visa (F-2). You must request a dependent I-20 document for each of your eligible dependents. For more information, contact the office responsible for your visa document. Be aware that F-2 visa holders may not work in the US, nor may they be a full-time student at a University or other post-secondary institution in the US.

Importance of Name Consistency

To avoid problems or delays in obtaining your visa and entering the U.S., ensure that all of your immigration documents reflect the same name, exactly as it appears in your passport. Do not use “nicknames” or shortened names on any of your documents, including your passport, I-20, entry visa stamp, I-94 card (completed in the airplane before your arrival) and any additional documents that you acquire after your arrival in the US.

Questions About Your Documents

If you have any questions about your I-20, or if you need to correct or change any information on your documents, contact the office or agency that issued it:

I-20s are issued by the following offices:

Major: The major field of study listed on your admission letter and the major field of study listed on your I-20 may not appear exactly the same. This is due to a coding discrepancy and is not a cause for concern.

Visa Denials

If your visa is denied, ask the consular officials to provide you with a written explanation of the denial, then contact ISS for assistance and write “Visa Denial” in the subject line.

Returning Students

Note: It is rare for returning students to be denied a new entry visa. However, there are no guarantees, and there is always some risk of a visa denial. This risk increases under the following situations:

  • You are applying for a visa in a country other than your home country (Third Country National Visa Applications.) You have the right to apply for a visa in any country, but it’s less risky to apply in your home country if possible. If you must apply in a third country, be prepared to present additional evidence that documents your need to get a visa in that country.
  • You are pursuing OPT. Students on OPT are eligible for an F-1 visa, but your risk of denial is increased, especially if you don’t have a job. If you must apply for a visa during your OPT period, be prepared to present evidence of employment (a letter from your employer is best) to the U.S. consulate.
  • You have close family members (spouse, parents, siblings) who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. If you have close family members in the U.S., a consular official may question your ties to your home country.

Security clearance checks

Many visa applicants are subject to additional security clearance checks that will delay the issuance of your visa by 1 to 2 months. This is NOT a denial. Most applicants who are subject to clearance will eventually receive the visa. You cannot prevent a security clearance, nor can ISS or your department intervene to speed up the process.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 12/22/16 02:02 PM
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