Special for international students
If you hold a non-immigrant visa of any type, have been formally admitted to the University of Minnesota, and are registering for the first time, three types of holds may be placed on your record:
- AI Hold (nonimmigrant status document check & orientation)
- AZ Hold (English proficiency)
If you hold a F-2, B-1, or B-2 visa, you may not enroll in courses at the University of Minnesota. Consult an ISSS adviser for information on change of visa status.
AI Hold (nonimmigrant status document check & orientation)
- After you check into your housing, come to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), 190 Humphrey Center, West Bank campus, Minneapolis, (map) for Document Check. A schedule of days and times for Document Check is available online or you may call ISSS at 612-626-7100.
You must bring your passport and other documents indicating your legal status in the U.S. (e.g., I-94 form, current University and any previous I-20 or DS-2019 forms, and any Employment Authorization Document).
If you arrived with F-2 or J-2 dependents, you must also present dependent documents at Document Check. If you are a sponsored student, please bring all documents related to your sponsorship. An adviser at ISSS will examine these documents, create a file for you, and temporarily remove the AI hold from your record so you can register.
At this time you will also sign up for the mandatory International Student Orientation Program, during which you will receive essential information about maintaining your legal status, as well as living and studying in the U.S. at the University of Minnesota.
AZ Hold (English proficiency)
You will have a AZ hold placed on your student record if you are a new international student who has not met the University’s English proficiency requirement. Your AZ hold must be released by an English as a Second Language (ESL) adviser.
If your TOEFL score is lower than that required by your college, you may be required to take an English language proficiency test and/or register for English classes until you achieve the required test score. You must pay a $30 testing fee when you register for the test at the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP), 160 McNamera Alumni Center, East Bank campus (map).
If you have questions about the English language requirement, contact an ESL adviser at 612-624-1503.
As an international student, you and your dependents are required to purchase the University-sponsored Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) unless you are covered by a U.S.-based employer-sponsored health plan or the Graduate Assistant Health Plan.
Health plan coverage must be continuous from the date of arrival in the U.S. through the final date of departure from the U.S. This means that international students will be charged for health plan coverage even if they are registered for fewer than 6 credits or are away from campus for the summer or an academic semester.
Go to International Students Student Health Benefit Plan for full details.
In order to waive the University-sponsored plan, you must provide verifiable coverage information by the end of the second week of the term. Submit the following documentation to the Office of Student Health Benefits in person, by mail, or by fax before the registration deadline:
- proof of coverage such as your insurance identification card; or
- a certificate of credible coverage obtained from your insurance company
- Waiver form
If you are an international student holding an F-1 and J-1 visa, you are required by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to register for a full course of study each academic semester at a minimum.
To meet DHS requirements, Graduate School students are required to take a minimum of 6 credits per semester and undergraduates must register for 12 or more credits each semester. Audit registrations do not count toward these full-time enrollment levels.
If your academic program or University office, as well as any exchange and scholarship program sponsors and other private educational funding agencies in which you participate, have a different credit requirement for you that is higher than that of the DHS, it takes precedence over the DHS requirement.
Exceptions to this rule are possible only in a very limited number of circumstances. To request an exception to minimum credit requirements, you must obtain prior approval from ISSS as mandated by DHS regulations. Please come to the ISSS office or call 612‑626‑7100, if you have questions about this requirement.