Arial View of Campus

Before reading the information below, please read the directions to apply for a visa here.

International Travel

You can arrive in the United States up to 30 days before the date shown on your I-20 or DS-2019 form; however, you should not arrive later than the required International Student Orientation.

At the Port of Entry in the U.S. you will be asked to provide proof of financial support for your studies, living costs and other documents. For more information on these documents, please see our visa application instructions page.

Place tags or labels on all of your suitcases and hand luggage with a copy inside in case the tag or external label is lost. The information you will want to include are the following:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your phone number(s) 
  3. Your email address(es)
  4. MSU Office of International Programs (OIP) phone number
    1. +1-406-994-4031 - Main Office Number for calls Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM MDT/MST (excluding any national holidays)
    2. +1-406-994-7722 - For calls made after office hours about urgent travel or immigration issues
  5. You will also want to write down the OIP's address:

Office of International Programs

P.O. Box 172260

183 Strand Union Building

Montana State University

Bozeman, MT 59717-2260, USA

If your luggage is lost, file a claim immediately at the airport. It is advisable to have enough clothing and personal items packed in your carry-on to last for the first few days.

Travel Documents

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the expected date of entry to the U.S.

You must carry your original I-20 or DS-2019 issued by MSU with you

While traveling, carry all of your important documents, money and bank drafts with you. Guard them carefully; do not place them in your checked baggage. You can bring cash, money orders, or traveler's checks with you when you enter the United States, but bringing more than $10,000 USD or its equivalent in other currencies requires formal declaration upon passing through customs.

When you arrive in the United States, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be reviewed at the Port of Entry by a Customs Officer. Make sure you have it easily accessible

Checklist of Essential Travel Documents:

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the expected date of entry to the U.S.
  • Student's Visa
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of Financial Support (similar to what was provided before your I-20 was issued)
  • Cash for travel
  • Health records
  • Health insurance records (if applicable)
  • Special medication and accompanying prescriptions (if applicable)
  • Useful phone numbers, including the Office of International Programs +1-406-994-4031. After office hours (Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM Mountain Time), you may call +1-406-994-7722 for urgent travel or immigration-related questions.

Travel From the Airport

Bozeman has its own airport, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (airport code: BZN), located 11 miles (17km) from campus.

Six airlines with connections to major American cities serve Bozeman: Alaska/Horizon, Ellegiant, American, Delta, Frontier and United. There are non-stop flights to several cities including Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

If you send the Office of International Programs your travel itinerary at least one week prior to your arrival, we can provide free transportation from the airport to campus. For more information, including days complimentary pickups are offered each term, please visit our airport pick-up page.

You also have the option of using a taxi or rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft to get to campus from the airport; this will cost a minimum of $35.

Check-In With Office of International Programs

After you arrive, you should check in with the Office of International Programs. Please come with your passport and I-20 or DS-2019. Also bring your health history and medical records in English, even if they were sent previously. If you have health insurance from home, please bring proof of that insurance.

The Office of International Programs is responsible for the general well-being of international students at MSU, from admission to graduation and post-graduation training opportunities. The International Student and Scholar Services team has advisors that provide support services and consultations for all aspects of life at MSU. 

The Office assists in the reception and orientation of international students, integration into the university and community, interpretation of immigrations regulations and laws, and other individual problems that may arise. The International Student and Scholar Advisors are here to help ease your transition and assist you on your journey at MSU.

After you have checked in with the Office of International Programs, you will want to obtain your student ID card, also known as a CatCard at the office under Miller Dining Hall. OIP staff will be able to provide directions to the office upon your check-in.