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Graduate Students

Congratulations on your admission to Michigan State University! You are officially a member of the Michigan State University community. Orientation is designed to connect incoming students with resources and opportunities, begin to assist students in their transition to the university, and learn about visa and immigration processes and requirements.


Fall 2020 Orientation Information (Updated August 28, 2020)

 

International New Student Orientation - Online in D2L

Log into D2L with your NetID and Password to start completing OISS International New Student Orientation. 

How to Find OISS International Student Orientation in D2L


Getting Started at MSU: D2L Online Learning Environment

D2L is Michigan State University’s online learning system. D2L provides the platform and tools for online and web enhanced courses at MSU. Instructors use D2L to give students access to course materials, collaboration, submission of assignments, online testing, grades, and other resources. D2L is also used by many MSU departments to provide non-credit training.

Learning how to use D2L is an important step in getting ready to study and teach at MSU.

Learn more about D2L and how to log-in


Online Student D2L Training Course

This free, no credit training course called “Students - Getting Started with D2L” contains video tutorials covering the commonly used aspects of the D2L Learning Environment as well as success tips and practice activities to complete. This free training is a valuable learning resource for students, as well as instructors and staff. You can self-enroll or unenroll from the course at any time.

Learn more and self-enroll in Students – Getting Started with D2L


Online Academic Training

Prepare yourself for academic study at MSU by completing a free, no-credit course in D2L called Online Academic Training. This course will help you with your transition to American academic life. Through a series of engaging videos and activities, you will set the tone and establish the basic skill set to be ready when the semester starts in August. 


Academic Department or College Orientation

Your academic department or college will email you about other department or college-specific orientation information. If you have not received an email from your department or college, contact them directly. Most departments and colleges have graduate student coordinators. They are often the best person to contact for this information. You can usually find staff directories on department and college websites. A department and program directory is available to find appropriate contact information. 


On-Campus Housing

If you sign up to live on-campus in a residence hall or university apartment, check your Live On portal for specific move-in dates, times and instructions.

To find off-campus hotels, go to Student Housing and Dining for a list of hotels in the East Lansing area.

Learn more about on-campus housing options

Learn more about off-campus housing

On-Campus Housing Contract/Lease Release Fall 2020

If you signed up to live in an on-campus but you will not be entering the U.S. for Fall 2020, submit a contract/lease release by logging into My Housing.


Fall Welcome

In the days leading up to the start of fall semester classes, Michigan State University will welcome all new students with events designed to help students begin their transition to our world-class university. The events will introduce students to faculty, staff, and many of the resources available within the Michigan State University and East Lansing communities. Event schedules and activities will be updated throughout the summer on MSU Department of Student Life Fall Welcome.


International Student Orientation Fall Welcome 


On top of a wide variety of Fall Welcome events coordinated by the Department of Student Life, the Office for International Students & Scholars have put together additional events tailored to the needs and interests of our international students.

 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Classes Begin


Classes begin for Fall semester 2020. Students should follow their Monday class schedule on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Thursday, September 3 and Friday, September 4, 2020 classes will meet as normally scheduled. See the MSU Academic Calendar for all important dates including tuition and housing billing dates, enrollment deadlines, and university holidays. 


Visas, Immigration, and Health Insurance

F-1 Students

MSU Student Health Insurance

The health care system in the United States is complex, and as a student at MSU, you are required to have health insurance. International students will be automatically enrolled in the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan. After you are enrolled in classes for fall semester, you will see charges for health insurance on your bill in StuInfo. Beginning Fall 2020, most international students will not be able to waive out of the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan. There are some exceptions, however. 

MSU international students who will be studying from outside the United States during Fall 2020 are eligible for an exemption from the mandatory international student health insurance.

Learn more about the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan, exemption applications for Fall 2020, waiver exception criteria, how to use your MSU Student Health Insurance, and where to go for healthcare in the Lansing area. 

If you will arrive before the coverage start date, you should purchase day-to-day health insurance coverage. The cost is $5.00 per day, per person. Email SolutionsCenter(at)hr.msu.edu to request the Early Arrival Health Insurance application form. 

If you have questions about Health Insurance or Healthcare in the U.S., OISS is here to help! Email ihealth(at)msu.edu.

Documents Needed to Enter the U.S.

In order to enter the United States in F-1 status, students must present the following documents to the immigration inspector at the port of entry:

  • A valid passport (valid six months beyond the date of entry)
  • A valid F-1 visa stamp (not required for Canadians)
  • A valid I-20 Form
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Original financial documentation
  • Admission letter from MSU
  • Travel Letter for F-1 Students (recommended)

Your passport, issued by your country of citizenship, should be valid for six months beyond the date you enter the United States and remain valid for the length of your stay. To obtain or renew your passport, contact your home government authorities. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is ever lost.

Get I-20 from MSU and Check for Errors

The Form I-20 is issued to students who intend to study in the U.S. in F-1 status.

Initial Attendance I-20

If you are not in the U.S. you will receive an Initial Attendance I-20 from MSU. You will need the I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee and to apply for an F-1 visa. If you have dependents (spouse or children) traveling with you, each dependent will need their own I-20 to apply for an F-2 visa. F-2 dependents do not pay the SEVIS fee.

Transfer I-20

If you are currently in F-1 status in the U.S., you may transfer your I-20 to MSU. Once the transfer is complete, MSU will issue you a Transfer Pending I-20. Learn more about transferring your I-20 to MSU on our Transfer In and Out webpage

Change of Status

If you are currently in the U.S. in another immigration status and will apply to change status to F-1, you will be issued and I-20 to change status. Changing status to F-1 can take 2-4 months and sometimes longer. If you are in an immigration status that does not allow enrollment in classes or studying, you will not be able to start your program at MSU until after the Change of Status is approved. If you are in an immigration status that allows enrollment in classes and studying but does not allow employment in the U.S., you will not be able to work at MSU as a student employee or graduate assistant until the Change of Status is approved. 

Learn more about how to apply on our Change of Status webpage

Check your I-20 for Errors

After you receive your I-20 and admissions materials from MSU, please review everything carefully and check for any errors on your I-20. Email oiss(at)msu.edu if you find an error on your I-20 so that we can correct it and mail an updated I-20 to you before you pay the SEVIS fee, schedule your visa interview, apply to change status, or enter the U.S.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) was designed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain accurate and current information about international students and scholars in F, J, and M visa status, their academic activities, and their accompanying family members. There is a required government-mandated fee that has to be paid before you can apply for your U.S. visa.

How much is the SEVIS Fee?

SEVIS Fee for F-1 students is $350. 

Learn more about the SEVIS fee on our SEVIS Fee Facts webpage.

Initial I-20 

If you are coming to MSU from outside of the United States, you will need pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. After paying the fee, print a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt. You will need to show the receipt to the U.S. consulate or embassy and when you enter the U.S.  Learn more about how to pay the fee on the SEVIS Fee website. 

Transfer I-20

If you are transferring your I-20 to MSU from another U.S. institution, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again. You already paid the fee when you first applied for an F-1 visa, entered the U.S. in F-1 status, or changed status to F-1. 

Changing Status to F-1

You will need to pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued an I-20 to Change Status to F-1 from within the United States. Learn more about changing status to F-1 on our Change of Status webpage.

Apply for an F-1 Visa

What is a Visa?

The visa is a stamp that a U.S. consulate or embassy puts in your passport. You must have a valid F-1 visa stamp and valid I-20 in order to enter the United States.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are exempt from the U.S. visa stamp requirements. At the port of entry, Canadian citizens will need to present their I-20 and Canadian passport along with proof of payment of the SEVIS fee and adequate financial support to study in the U.S. If you are a Canadian landed immigrant entering the United States, you are required to obtain a U.S. visa stamp. Please contact the U.S. consulate in your area for more information.

U.S. Consulate or Embassy Application and Appointment

Check the U.S. consulate or embassy website where you will apply for a list of required documents, forms, and instructions on how to apply for an F-1 visa. Please be aware that each consulate or embassy may require different information and have specific application procedures.

Find a U.S. consulate or embassy website on the U.S. Department of State website.

Required Documents

  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you reenter the U.S.
  • I-20
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Original financial documents verifying funding as listed on the I-20
  • Letter of acceptance from the Office of Admissions at MSU
  • Passport-type photographs
  • Application forms and fees as required by the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for your F-1 visa
  • Travel Letter for F-1 Students (recommended)

What happens if my visa expires while I am in the U.S.?

Your visa stamp must be valid when you enter the United States. Your visa may expire while you are in the U.S. and you may remain legally in the U.S. as long as your I-20 is still valid. 

F-1 students and F-2 dependents may remain in the United States with an expired visa stamp as long as:

  • Your I-20 is valid
  • F-1 immigration status is indicated on your I-94, along with "D/S" (Duration of Stay)
  • You maintain your immigration status

How many times can I use my visa to enter the U.S.?

Your visa stamp tells you how many times you may enter the U.S. This is usually one, two, or M (for multiple). If students or dependents use all of their entries and they wants to enter the U.S. again they must get a new F-1 or F-2 visa. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your visa stamp in case it is ever lost.

Learn more about Maintaining Immigration Status

Learn more about Travel and Visas

View and print your I-94 after you enter the U.S.

Tips to Apply for a Student Visa

Before you apply for your student visa it is important to prepare yourself. Not only is it important to have your documents organized, it is also important to prepare for the visa interview. Here are two websites that offer valuable tips to help you get ready. 

U.S. Department of State - Education USA

U.S. Department of State - Education USA Tips to Apply For Your U.S. Student Visa

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

NAFSA 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

Enter the U.S.

When can I enter the U.S.?

You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date, as listed on your I-20. If you will be delayed in your arrival, please notify oiss(at)msu.edu.

What happens when I enter the U.S.?

At the port of entry, the U.S. Customers and Border Officer will inspect your Form I-20 and give it back to you. The Border Officer will also inspect your passport and F-1 visa (if applicable), issue an admission stamp, write "F-1/DS", and return your passport to you.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Forms

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admits you to the U.S. with an electronic I-94 at the Port of Entry or a paper I-94 when entering at a land border or sea border and other limited circumstances. Travelers will also receive a CBP admission stamp in their passports.

  • The new admission stamp will have the date of admission to the U.S., the class of admission (F-1), and "D/S" (Duration of Status) meaning that your F-1 status is valid until your I-20 expires, your program of study ends, or your status is terminated for failure to maintain status.

  • After entering the U.S., you will need to print out your I-94 on the I-94 website. Your I-94 printout will show your admission number. You will need your I-94 printout to apply for immigration and public benefits such as a Driver's License or Social Security Number.

  • After you print out your I-94, verify that all information is correct. If the I-94 information is incorrect, please contact OISS. OISS can advise you on how to request a correction. Also check dependent I-94 records.

  • When you leave the U.S., if you have a paper I-94 card, you will still give it to your airline at check-in or to CBP. If you have an electronic I-94, CBP will record your departure using Manifest information obtained from the commercial carrier.

Dependents in F-2 Status

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are considered dependents of F-1 students and can be admitted to the U.S. in F-2 non-immigrant status.

Documents Needed to Enter the U.S. in F-2 Status

  • F-2 I-20 issued by MSU
  • F-2 visa stamp
  • Passport valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry

Learn more about F-2 dependents on our Family and Dependents webpage

Notify OISS if You Are Delayed

If unexpected events cause your arrival to be delayed beyond the start of fall semester, you must notify OISS immediately by emailing oiss(at)msu.edu. We may need to create an updated I-20 for you with a postponed start date.

J-1 Students

Required Health Insurance

Immigration regulations require that all students and dependents in J-1 and J-2 have health insurance that meets specific requirements. 

International students will be automatically enrolled in the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan. After you are enrolled in classes for fall semester, you will see charges for health insurance on your bill in StuInfo. Beginning Fall 2020, most international students will not be able to waive out of the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan. There are some exceptions, however. 

MSU international students who will be studying from outside the United States during Fall 2020 are eligible for an exemption from the mandatory international student health insurance.

Learn more about the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan, exemption applications for Fall 2020, waiver exception criteria, how to use your MSU Student Health Insurance, and where to go for healthcare in the Lansing area. 

If you will arrive before the coverage start date, you should purchase day-to-day health insurance coverage. The cost is $5.00 per day, per person. Email SolutionsCenter(at)hr.msu.edu to request the Early Arrival Health Insurance application form. 

Please note that spouses and children are NOT automatically enrolled in the BCN health insurance plan. You must enroll your family members through the BCN website. Payment is required at the time of enrollment.

If you have questions about Health Insurance or Healthcare in the U.S., OISS is here to help! Email ihealth(at)msu.edu.

Documents Needed to Enter the U.S.

In order to enter the United States in J-1 status, students must present the following documents to the immigration inspector at the port of entry:

  • A valid passport (valid six months beyond the date of entry)
  • A valid J-1 visa stamp (not required for Canadians)
  • A valid DS-2019 Form
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Original financial documentation
  • Admission letter from MSU

Your passport, issued by your country of citizenship, should be valid for six months beyond the date you enter the United States and remain valid for the length of your stay. To obtain or renew your passport, contact your home government authorities. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is ever lost.

Get DS-2019 and Check for Errors

After receiving your DS-2019 and accompanying documents from MSU, please carefully read all enclosed materials.

When you receive your DS-2019, please review it carefully for any errors. Contact jvisas(at)msu.edu immediately if you find an error on your DS-2019.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) was designed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain accurate and current information about international students and scholars in F, J, and M visa status, their academic activities, and their accompanying family members. There is a required government-mandated fee that has to be paid before you can apply for your U.S. visa.

How much is the SEVIS Fee?

The SEVIS Fee for J-1 students will be $220. 

Learn more about the SEVIS fee on our SEVIS Fee Facts webpage.

Prior to your visa interview, you must pay the SEVIS Fee.

Apply for a J-1 Visa

What is a Visa?

The visa is a stamp that a U.S. consulate or embassy puts in your passport. You must have a valid J-1 visa stamp and valid DS-2019 in order to enter the United States.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are exempt from the U.S. visa stamp requirements. At the port of entry, Canadian citizens will need to present their DS-2019 and Canadian passport along with proof of payment of the SEVIS fee and adequate financial support to study in the U.S. If you are a Canadian landed immigrant entering the United States, you are required to obtain a U.S. visa stamp. Please contact the U.S. consulate in your area for more information.

U.S. Consulate or Embassy Application and Appointment

Check the U.S. consulate or embassy website where you will apply for a list of required documents, forms, and instructions on how to apply for a J-1 visa. Please be aware that each consulate or embassy may require different information and have specific application procedures.

Find a U.S. consulate or embassy website on the U.S. Department of State website.

Required Documents

  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you reenter the U.S.
  • DS-2019
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Original financial documents verifying funding as listed on the DS-2019
  • Letter of acceptance from the Office of Admissions at MSU
  • Passport-type photographs
  • Application forms and fees as required by the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for your J-1 visa

What happens if my visa expires while I am in the U.S.?

Your visa stamp must be valid when you enter the United States. Your visa may expire while you are in the U.S. and you may remain legally in the U.S. as long as your DS-2019 is still valid. 

J-1 students and J-2 dependents may remain in the United States with an expired visa stamp as long as:

  • Your DS-2019 is valid
  • J-1 immigration status is indicated on your I-94, along with "D/S" (Duration of Stay)
  • You maintain your immigration status

How many times can I use my visa to enter the U.S.?

Your visa stamp tells you how many times you may enter the U.S. This is usually one, two, or M (for multiple). If students or dependents use all of their entries and they wants to enter the U.S. again they must get a new J-1 or J-2 visa. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your visa stamp in case it is ever lost.

Learn more about Maintaining Immigration Status

Learn more about Travel and Visas

View and print your I-94 after you enter the U.S.

Tips to Apply for a Student Visa

Before you apply for your student visa it is important to prepare yourself. Not only is it important to have your documents organized, it is also important to prepare for the visa interview. Here are two websites that offer valuable tips to help you get ready. 

U.S. Department of State - Education USA

U.S. Department of State - Education USA Tips to Apply For Your U.S. Student Visa

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

NAFSA 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

Enter the U.S.

When can I enter the U.S.?

You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date and no later than 20 days after the program start date, as listed on your DS-2019. If you will be delayed in your arrival, please notify jvisas(at)msu.edu

What happens when I enter the U.S.?

At the port of entry, the U.S. Customers and Border Officer will inspect your DS-2019 and give it back to you. The Border Officer will also inspect your passport and J-1 visa (if applicable), issue an admission stamp, write "J-1/DS", and return your passport to you.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Forms

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admits you to the U.S. with an electronic I-94 at the Port of Entry or a paper I-94 when entering at a land border or sea border and other limited circumstances. Travelers will also receive a CBP admission stamp in their passports.

  • The new admission stamp will have the date of admission to the U.S., the class of admission (J-1), and "D/S" (Duration of Status) meaning that your J-1 status is valid until your DS-2019 expires, your program of study ends, or your status is terminated for failure to maintain status.

  • After entering the U.S., you will need to print out your I-94 on the I-94 website. Your I-94 printout will show your admission number. You will need your I-94 printout to apply for immigration and public benefits such as a Driver's License or Social Security Number.

  • After you print out your I-94, verify that all information is correct. If the I-94 information is incorrect, please contact OISS. OISS can advise you on how to request a correction. Also check dependent I-94 records.

  • When you leave the U.S., if you have a paper I-94 card, you will still give it to your airline at check-in or to CBP. If you have an electronic I-94, CBP will record your departure using Manifest information obtained from the commercial carrier.

Dependents in J-2 Status

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are considered dependents of J-1 students and scholars and can be admitted to the U.S. in J-2 non-immigrant status. 

Documents Needed to Enter the U.S. in J-2 Status

  • J-2 DS-2019 issued by MSU
  • J-2 visa stamp
  • Passport valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry

Learn more about J-2 dependents on our Family and Dependents webpage

Notify OISS if You Are Delayed

If unexpected events cause your arrival to be delayed beyond the start of fall semester, you must notify OISS immediately by emailing jvisas(at)msu.edu. We may have to create a new DS-2019 for you with a postponed start date.


Next Steps

Checklist: Do Before August

  1. Complete the list of required Next Steps on Your Account (your admission portal).
  2. Learn how to log-in and use D2L Learning Environment and then complete the free, no-credit training course called Students - Getting Started with D2L

  3. Prepare yourself for academic study at MSU by completing the free, no-credit course called Online Academic Training

  4. If you want to live on-campus, select your on-campus housing assignment and dining plan.

  5. Apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa to come to the U.S. Learn more about how to get a visa on the Visa Application tab.

  6. Buy your plane ticket to the Lansing (LAN) or Detroit Airport (DTW). You can enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Learn more about how to get to campus on in the Travel & Transportation section.

Find A Place to Live

Learn more about how to find a place to live, set up utilities, and other practical information on Find a Place to Live.

Shipping Your Belongings

If you cannot fit all of your personal belongings into your checked or carry-on luggage, it is possible to ship your belongings to East Lansing. MSU will not store personal belongings for you before move-in. See below for information on how to ship your belongings before and after move-in.   

U.S. Customs

All items shipped from outside the U.S. must be cleared through U.S. Customs at a U.S. Port of Entry. You can arrange to have a freight-forwarding company or customs broker take your packages through the customs inspection and send them to East Lansing or you can take your packages through inspection yourself at the airport.

Shipping Belongings to East Lansing Before You Move In

If your belongings will arrive in East Lansing before the date that you can move into your on-campus or off-campus housing, we recommend that you use Two Men and A Truck storage and delivery service. MSU has a contract with Two Men and A Truck in order to make the shipping and move-in process easier for students. 

To arrange for storage and delivery of your belongings, go to the Two Men and A Truck student storage website.

  1. Under "Personalize your storage plan" select "Michigan State University" and select the plan you prefer.
  2. Press "Send Request."
  3. Two Men and A Truck will email you to get more information about your shipping and delivery needs, finalize the cost, and receive payment from you. 

Shipping Belongings to East Lansing After You Move In

If your belongings will arrive in East Lansing after you move into your on-campus or off-campus housing, you can ship your belongings directly to your on or off-campus address. 

You can find your on-campus address by logging into iLiveOn. To understand how to write your on-campus address on your package go to the MSU Live On Mailing Addresses website.

What to Pack and Michigan Weather

U.S. Port of Entry Checklist

Make sure you have the following documents with you in your carry-on bag when you enter the U.S. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage. 

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa (except for Canadian citizens)
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • MSU letter of acceptance
  • Proof of financial support for course of study 
  • Travel Letter for F-1 Students (recommended)

What to Pack

As you prepare for your trip, keep in mind that rooms in the residence halls and apartments are generally small. In order not to crowd your room (and possibly your roommate) and to avoid excess baggage charges, bring only essentials with you. You will be able to buy many things that you need for your room, school supplies, additional clothing and personal items after you arrive. Our current international students say they consider the following items most important to bring with them from home:

  • Face masks (single use or cloth washable)
  • Hand sanitizer (check with your airline about volume limitations for carry-on liquids)
  • Frequently used and favorite books
  • Educational instruments and supplies (laptops, calculators, paint brushes, etc.)
  • Spare eye glasses or contact lenses
  • Medications. You should translate ingredients and dosage instructions into English on a separate piece of paper and pack that with your medications. 
  • Adequate clothing (including national dress for special occasions)
  • Pictures, artifacts, and other items typical of your country

Weather in East Lansing

Michigan is located in the northern part of the United States. We have four distinct seasons of the year and temperatures change a lot between Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. Temperatures and weather can change suddenly during the day and from day-to-day. We have a saying in Michigan: "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes."

Summer lasts from June - September and can be hot and humid. It is common to have thunderstorms and rain during the summer. People often wear thinner cotton clothing, shorts and short sleeved shirts. Most classroom buildings are air conditioned so it can be chilly inside. Bringing a sweater with you every day is a good idea. It is also a good idea to carry a small umbrella with you in your bag every day in case the weather changes to rain. Average temperatures during the day are around 27 degrees C (80 degrees F). 

Fall lasts from September - December and ranges from hot to very cold. One day it may be hot and sunny and the next day cold and snowing. However, the first snow usually happens in late November or early December. People dress in layers of clothing in case the temperature changes during the day. It is a good idea to always carry a small umbrella with you in your bag every day in case the weather changes to rain. Average temperatures during the day range from 23 degrees C in September (73 degrees F) to 1 degree C in December (34 degrees F). 

Winter lasts from December - March and ranges from very cold to mildly warm. We usually have a lot of snow in January - March. People dress in warm sweaters, down feather coats, warm boots, hats, scarves and gloves. Buildings can be hot inside, so it's a good idea to dress in layers. Average temperatures during the day range from -1 degree C in January (30 degrees F) to 7 degrees C in March (44 degrees F). 

Spring lasts from March - June and ranges from very cold to warm. It can snow in April. People dress in warm sweaters, wool or fleece coats, hats, scarves and gloves. Buildings can be hot inside, so it's a good idea to dress in layers. Average temperatures during the day range from 14 degrees C in April (58 degrees F) to 26 degrees C in June (78 degrees F). 

Travel and Transportation to MSU

Carry-On Bag

Keep your I-20 or DS-2019, Passport with F-1 or J-1 visa and admission letter in your carry-on bag. You will need to show these documents to an immigration officer when you arrive in the U.S. Do not put these documents in your checked luggage.

Luggage Tag

Be sure you have a luggage tag attached to all of your suitcases before you fly to the U.S. Write your name, full address, and phone number in English. 

Airport Options

MSU campus is located in the city of East Lansing in the state of Michigan. 

Lansing Capital Region International Airport (LAN) The closest airport to MSU is Lansing Capital Region International Airport (LAN). If you want to fly into Lansing, you will have to fly through another city in the U.S. Many students fly to Lansing through Detroit or Chicago. 

Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) Many students choose fly to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). 

Transportation from Lansing or Detroit Airports

We recently learned that the Michigan Flyer bus will not operate between Detroit and East Lansing in August, due to a decrease in the number of travelers caused by COVID-19. OISS will provide students with a Lyft code to travel from Detroit Metro Airport to East Lansing and from the Lansing Airport or East Lansing Amtrak station to their housing location in Lansing or East Lansing. Funding for Lyft codes is limited and codes will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. To request a Lyft code, you must complete the Travel Plans survey, which is part of the Welcome to MSU, new student checklist in MyOISS. Fill Travel Plans survey in MyOISS. Log in with your NetID and Password. 

Move-In and Shopping

On Campus Residence Halls and Apartments 


Check Your On-Campus Housing Contract/Lease for Move-In Dates

Log-into My Housing to find your move-in date. 

If you need pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels to use before you are able to purchase your own, ask for these items when you move in. 

Off Campus Residence Halls and Apartments 

Contact your apartment leasing/rental office if you have questions about your move-in date. Your move-in date should be listed on your lease/rental contract. 

Shopping and Groceries 

Once you are settled in, you can call for a taxi, or schedule an Uber or Lyft to go to Target, a large store on Grand River Avenue, across the street from the north side of campus (near North Neighborhood). Target, you can buy pillows, sheets, blankets, towels, food, fresh fruit and vegetables, and anything else you want to make your room feel like home. Target can also deliver your order to you in your residence hall or apartment.  

Another shopping option is to call for a taxi, or schedule an Uber or Lyft or take the CATA Bus Route 1 to go to Meijer, a large store that is open 24 hours a day. At Meijer, you can buy pillows, sheets, blankets, towels, food, fresh fruit and vegetables, and many other items to make your room feel like home. Meijer has an International grocery & food area where you may be able to find brands to are familiar with. Meijer can also deliver your order to you in your residence hall or apartment.

You can buy groceries on-campus at Sparty's Market, an urban market-style grocery store located in 1855 Place at the corner of Harrison Road and Kalamazoo Street - across the street from Breslin Student Events Center and just south of Brody Neighborhood. Sparty's Market features prepared foods and grill items, pre-packaged and self-serve bulk foods, a bakery station with coffee and fountain drinks, a dairy case, deli sandwiches, hot breakfast dishes, a wide variety of dry grocery items, health and beauty needs, household items and more. 

Another place to buy groceries and personal care items close to campus is Fresh Thyme. Fresh Thyme is a large natural foods grocery store located across the street from the south-west side of campus, near South Neighborhood. Fresh Thyme also offers delivery of your order to your residence hall or apartment. 

CATA Bus Transportation

Off-campus CATA bus routes for MSU students cost $.60 (60 cents) per ride, in cash or coins. You pay every time you board the bus. You must show your MSU ID to the bus driver to get this reduced fare. If you think that you will use the CATA buses off-campus frequently, you can purchase a CATA bus pass through the MSU ID Office

During the semester, on-campus CATA bus routes are free for MSU students with your MSU ID. On-campus CATA bus service, called Spartan Service, begins on Monday, August 31, 2020.

Where to Stay if Arriving Before Your Move-In Date

If you arrive in East Lansing before move-in begins, you will need to stay in a hotel or with a friend. Go to Student Housing and Dining for a list of hotels in the East Lansing area. 

Open a US Bank Account

There are many banking options in the Greater Lansing area. Michigan State University has a connection with the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU). Members of MSUFCU have free and easy access to the only ATMs on MSU’s campus—over 35 in all, along with a full-service branch located in the MSU Union. However, you may choose to open a bank account with different bank.

Contact the banks that you are interested in to find out how to open up a checking or savings account and get an ATM card. You may also want to ask about wire transaction fees to compare costs before deciding on a bank to use. 

If you are interested in opening up a checking or savings account with MSUFCU, you may visit their International Student webpage, or review this Handout and MSUFCU Account Checklist for more information.

Here is a list of banks in East Lansing on Google Maps

Immigration Check-In

International Students in F-1 and J-1 status must complete Immigration Check-In with OISS.

Step 1: After arriving in the U.S. students will be required to fill out a check-in form online.  A step-by-step guide to completing check in will be emailed to students for whom check in is required.
 
Step 2: OISS staff will review your check-in submission and will follow up with you by email if any further information is required.

Classes Begin

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Students should follow their Monday class schedule on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Thursday, September 3 and Friday, September 4, 2020 classes will meet as normally scheduled. See the MSU Academic Calendar for all important dates including tuition and housing billing dates, enrollment deadlines, and university holidays. 

Enrolling Online from Outside the U.S. Fall 2020

Notify Your Academic Department and OISS

If you will not be in the U.S., at any time, during fall semester, you can enroll in online classes and you do not need to be enrolled full-time. You must notify your academic department.

Your academic department will also talk with you about how this may impact scholarships, fellowships, or graduate assistantships. You can also apply for a Health Insurance Exemption for Fall Semester if you will not enter the U.S. before January 1, 2021. 

F-1 students: Notify your academic department and OISS by sending an email to oiss(at)msu.edu

J-1 students: Notify your academic department and OISS by sending an email to jvisas(at)msu.edu

Updated I-20 or DS-2019

Your I-20 or DS-2019 will be updated with a Spring semester 2021 start date (January 2021). After your I-20 or DS-2020 is updated, OISS will email you with additional details and information.

On-Campus Housing Contract/Lease Release Fall 2020

If you signed up to live in an on-campus but you will not be entering the U.S. for Fall 2020, submit a contract/lease release by logging into My Housing.

Not Coming to MSU?

We wish you were coming to MSU because it's great to be a Spartan, but we understand that plans change.

If you are not coming to MSU, please notify your academic department or college. department and program directory is available to find appropriate contact information.