Foreign Student and Scholar Resources

In order to maintain your lawful status and apply for non-immigrant benefits such as employment and program extensions, you will be required to complete various forms during your time at Montana State University. International Student and Scholar Services will usually process these forms in three to five working days.

Health Care and Insurance

Health care is very expensive in the United States and the U.S. government does not pay any part of the medical expenses for international students or their family members. This is why having health insurance is mandatory. If you do not have an insurance plan and end up needing medical treatment, be prepared to pay very expensive bills without any reimbursement options.

Buying an insurance plan after you get sick or injured is impossible because insurance companies do not pay for services which occurred in the past.

Tuition Payment & Banking

If you are a new student, your tuition and fees will be due shortly after arrival at MSU. Your bill will be complete after you register for classes. For more information on deadlines, please visit the Student Accounts website.                           

On-Campus Employment

International students who maintain legal status under the regulations set forth by the U.S. government can generally be allowed to work for wages on campus. Permission to work off campus can also be obtained for the purpose of practical training and in a small number of other situations.                           

Tax Information

The deadline for tax filing in the United States is April 15th each year. Free tax assistance is offered to assist foreign students and scholars in the Spring each year.                                             

Obtaining a Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique and personal 9--digit number assigned by the government to US citizens and non-citizens who will be temporarily working in the United States of America. It is used for tax purposes and in some situations as an identification number. Once issued, the number is valid for one's lifetime.

Obtaining a Driver's License
  • Any student or scholar who will live in Bozeman for more than six months can apply for a driver’s license.
  • The duration of the driver’s license will be based on the program end date on the I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Please note that a Montana Driver’s License is required of a long-term resident, if they own a vehicle and/or drive regularly (after three months, people without a Montana license will be fined for not having it, if stopped by the police).
  •  If your stay in Bozeman is less than six months, you will not be able to get a driver’s license.
  • If you have an International Driver’s License, this can be used in lieu of a Montana License for one year for people who cannot apply for the state license or for those who do not own a vehicle and only occasionally drive a car.
  •  For the driving part of the driver’s license, all students must  make an appointment.
Tips to Obtain a Visa

In order to set a visa appointment, the SEVIS fee must first be paid and the following items must be presented:

  • form I-20 (certificate of eligibility issued by Montana State University),
  • a valid passport, and
  • proof of sufficient financial support

Form I-20 is also used to obtain F-2 visas for dependents:

  • proof of marriage is necessary in order to obtain a visa for the dependent spouse

Exchange Visitor Program participants entering the United States on the J-1 visa should follow the above procedures, but must submit the Form DS-2019, issued by the sponsor.