Preparing to Arrive

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

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 Group

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

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 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 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.

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.

How to Arrive

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. Please complete the for and email a saved copy to

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

On-Campus Housing Options
Off-Campus Housing Options

If you have any questions about your arrival to DSU, please contact the International Programs Office at or (605) 256-5267.

Last Updated: 7/16/14