Congratulations on your admission to Black Hills State University (BHSU) in Spearfish, South Dakota! The staff in the International Relations and Global Engagement Office are committed to BHSU's global mission and vision, and we are eager to welcome you to our campus and into our community.
Please review the information below about applying for your F-1 or J-1 visa to enter the US. You can also find detailed information in our Visa FAQ guide. You should also consult your local Embassy website and the Study in the States website to learn more about the visa application process.
STEP 3: Apply for Your Visa
After paying the SEVIS I-901 fee, you will be able to apply for your visa and schedule the in-person interview. Each country will have slightly different processes and wait times for the in-person interview, so consult your local US Embassy or Consulate and the Study in the States website for how to submit the visa application and schedule the interview appointment.
***Note: J-1 students and their dependents (J-2) will be required to provide evidence that they will have insurance that meets the US federal requirements for J visa holders. If you have questions about this, please contact us by emailing International@BHSU.edu.
As you prepare to enroll as a student at BHSU, there are a few important steps to complete prior to arriving, as soon as you have received your visa. As you complete the steps below, please feel free to contact us by emailing International@BHSU.edu. We will also be sending you communications through email about completing this information, so please check your email regularly!
STEP 1: Immunization Records
MMR Immunizations are required of all students entering universities in South Dakota. Because students are eating, living, and studying in small spaces, immunizations maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all students. Per South Dakota State law, all students must document TWO (2) Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. If you do not or cannot document these vaccinations, they can be administered when you arrive for approximately $70 per vaccination. Document your health history and Immunizations using the Immunization Form. Once completed, please email to International@BHSU.edu. COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to study at BHSU. You will be notified if this changes.
STEP 2: Housing Reservations
BHSU residence halls offer a comfortable, convenient, and economical way for students to stay close to campus. For more information about living on campus and to reserve your room, please go to the Residence Life website to complete the Online Housing Application then submit your $100 housing deposit.
***Note: South Dakota Board of Regent Policy requires students to live on campus during their first two years after secondary school (high school) except upon appeal.
STEP 3: Registering for classes
The International Relations and Global Engagement Office will guide you through the process of registering for courses prior to arriving on campus. In order to register for classes, you will need to meet (virtually) with your academic adviser. These appointments will be arranged for you approximately 1-2 months before the beginning of the semester. The online course viewer allows you to review the courses offered each semester at BHSU (subject to change). If you are enrolling in Academic English Program during your first semester, we will complete registration for you.
STEP 4: Health Insurance
South Dakota State law requires all F-1 and J-1 visa holders to possess an approved health insurance policy. In order to comply with State law, and Federal law governing J-1 visa holders, you must enroll in and purchase the State of South Dakota Board of Regents' health insurance policy for international students each year. You can learn more about the insurance requirements here: Current Student website.
At BHSU, we work with our students on an individual level. You will notice our individualized student service from the day you arrive here when you will be greeted at the airport by staff and/or students from the International Relations and Global Engagement Office. Below, you will find important information you will need to plan for a smooth arrival at BHSU.
STEP 1: Book your Flight and Request Airport Pick-up
We offer complimentary pick-up at the Rapid City Regional Airport prior to the start of each semester (Fall and Spring) and before the start of the new student orientation.
If you wish to take advantage of our complimentary airport pick-up service, you must arrive at Rapid City Regional Airport on the dates specified below, and send your flight schedule at least two weeks prior to the departure date to the International Relations and Global Engagement Office. We will confirm your pick-up time and how to meet up with the shuttle.
Fall 2021 Pickup Dates: August 18 and 19
Spring 2022 Pickup Dates: January 6
If you are purchasing a round-trip flight, drop-off dates are:
Fall 2021 Drop-off Dates: December 15 and 16
Spring 2022 Drop-off Dates: May 6 and 7
STEP 2: Clearing US Customs and Passport Control
We recognize your initial arrival in the United States may be stressful! The better prepared you are to talk with the Customs and Border Patrol agent upon your arrival at the US Port of Entry (usually, this will be the airport you arrive at from your international flight), the less stressful it will be. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
We know students will rely on their friends, family, and other social networks to gather information about what it is like to study and live in the US. We encourage you to use this information to help prepare for your arrival, but we also know a lot of misinformation is shared through personal networks and the “stories” people tell. In addition to your personal contacts, we suggest you take advantage of these official resources in preparing for your studies in the US:
New Student Orientation is required for all incoming students. Be sure to book your flight to arrive prior to the first day of Orientation. Check Preparing your Arrival tab for shuttle details. Please see the schedules for upcoming Orientations below:
ORIENTATION SCHEDULES - Coming soon