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University of South Dakota entry sign

Congratulations! You're a Coyote.

Now that you are admitted and have decided that the University of South Dakota is the right fit for you, there are a few more things to do. Scroll through this checklist to find instruction and links to help you complete all the tasks that will make your transition to USD as smooth as possible.

New Undergraduate International Student Checklist
Print a less-detailed pdf version of the checklist and feel accomplished as you cross things off your list!

Welcome to the Coyote family!

 Finances and Financial Ability Form

Email a copy of the biographical page in your passport to your admissions counselor

Copy/scan the page(s) containing the photo, date of birth, passport number, date of expiration and signature (if any) from your valid, unexpired passport.

Understand your costs by reviewing tuition and fee estimates at:

Please note that certain programs have additional per credit hour discipline/course fees, which can be viewed here.

Email the following financial documents to your admissions counselor

Financial Ability Form

Official bank document, which must include

  • Account holder’s name
  • Account number
  • Available liquid funds

Note: The items listed above are required for USD to issue you an I-20 – the form needed to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and apply for a visa. Visit Study in the States for more details about these official requirements.

 Immigration Steps

Notify your admissions counselor when you are ready to receive your I-20 and let them know how you wish to have it sent to you:

Digitally via email (no cost)

  • Due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, U.S. embassies/consulates are temporarily accepting digitally signed and emailed I-20s for the purposes of visa interviews. This option has no financial expense.
  • When we send the I-20, we will also email PDF copies of our pre-arrival handbook.

Hard copy mailed via courier

  • Prior to the pandemic, US embassies/consulates required a mailed, hard copy signed version of your I-20. The trusted way of securely mailing an I-20 is via express courier. USD partners with EshipGlobal, at your expense.
  • Hard-copy I-20 are express couriered in a USD folder that includes the original, signed version of your admission letter, a recent copy of the student newspaper, a few tech stickers and a printed version of the pre-arrival handbook.

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee after receipt of I-20

All new students must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for a F-1 or J-1 visa or entering the U.S. (Canadian citizens only). To learn more about this fee, visit

Schedule a visa appointment at your local US Embassy or Consulate

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.

Prepare and practice 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 with at least six months before expiration date
  • Valid I-20 (for F-1 visas) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visas)
  • Documented proof of financial support for at least one year
  • Proof of SEVIS/I-901 fee payment (receipt)
  • DS-160 visa application and visa application fee (available from the U.S. embassy/consulate)
  • Any other documents required by the local embassy/consulate

For more information and tips about applying and interviewing for a visa,

Note: You may arrange a practice visa interview with a member of the International Office staff, if needed.

 Submit Your University Housing Deposit

Your $100 university housing deposit reserves your admission spot. It opens the on-campus housing application and confirms you are accepting any scholarship offers you have received from USD. We understand that securing a US student visa is not in the students’ control. In the unfortunate event that you are not awarded a visa, the $100 deposit will be refunded. Please note, refunds can only be issued within 180 days (six months) from the date of the transaction.

Submit your deposit online

Pick up your USD Account

After you submit your university housing deposit, you will be able to access your USD account - including your USD email. Once you pick up your account, you will have access to the myUSD portal which includes technology you will use as a USD student.

Pick up your USD email account

Duo logoInstall Duo Security on your USD Account

After you activate your USD account, it is important to protect it. Install Duo two-factor authentication on your USD account for another layer of online security to protect your personal information. Duo is mandatory for all USD students, faculty and staff.

Install Duo on your USD Account

 Apply for On-Campus Housing

Housing Application

  • NOTE: South Dakota Board of Regents Policy requires you to live on campus and enroll in a meal plan during the first two years immediately following your graduation from high school.

Immunization Requirements

All new, readmitted and transferred students are required to provide medically signed proof of TWO properly administered MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunizations OR immune titers for measles (rubeola), rubella and mumps. The immunization form must be completed before you can register for classes at USD. Read more about the mandatory immunization form.

Download the Immunization Form

Send Your Final Transcripts

Send your final official high school transcript to after you graduate (required).

  • The deadline to receive official transcripts is July 1st. If the final, official transcript has not been received by this date, the I-20 will be cancelled unless otherwise discussed with your admissions counselor.
  • If you have earned credits from an institution outside of the US that you want to transfer to USD, an official WES or ECE evaluation must be submitted


  • Complete your registration survey
  • Understand placement exams
    Placement exams ensure you are registered for the correct English, math and foreign language courses. Placement testing can be taken on campus after arrival or remotely before arrival. If you have SAT or ACT scores, we may be able to use your scores for placement. English proficiency exams scores cannot be used for placement purposes. Your academic advisor will provide more information.
  • Register for classes and view your class schedule in Registration Self-Service
    If you are unsure of who your advisor is, contact your admissions counselor. Your advisor will discuss classes with you either via email or over a zoom meeting.
  • Register for and view your class schedule in Registration Self-Service
    Either your academic advisor or your admissions counselor will arrange a time for your advising appointment. The appointment will take place over Zoom.

    Your advisor will guide you through the process of getting registered using Registration Self-Service. In order to prepare, we encourage students to watch two videos that describe the process. Registration Self-Service can be accessed by visiting the .

    After registration, we recommend downloading the USDgo app on your smart device. Your schedule can be accessed at any time using this app. Closer to the start of the term, professors and classroom locations should populate if the fields are empty when you register.

 Buy or rent your textbooks online

Your books can be delivered to and picked up on campus after your arrival.

USD Online Bookstore

 Preparing for Arrival

Review health insurance requirements and purchase a USD approved plan

Health insurance registration opens in July. The costs for health insurance are built into USD’s estimated cost of attendance, but insurance is not part of your USD bill. You will pay the insurance provider directly. Students who do not register by the deadline are automatically enrolled in the most extensive (and expensive) option.

For more details about health insurance requirements, please reference our Health Insurance & Immunizations page.

Make travel arrangements to arrive before Orientation

You may enter the U.S. a maximum of 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. 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. Depending on personal circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to consider adding more time. For more details and guidance, please reference our Arrival Assistance page.

Send arrival plans to

 Pay Your Bill

Beginning August 1, your bill will be available online at your SDePay account.

Bills are only available if you have already registered for classes. 

All statements are sent electronically, and you will not receive a paper copy. 

Visit USD’s SDePay webpage for full billing and payment information. You can directly access the SDePAY system on the .

 Attend International Student Orientation on August 19 & 20

International orientation is mandatory for all new undergraduate and graduate students. At orientation you will learn more about USD, the International Office, F1/J1 compliance requirements and community resources. You’ll meet other new students and the USD International Student Ambassadors and Welcome Partners who will help you make a smooth transition.