International Student Services

Welcome, International Students! Saint Paul College is proud to have you in our campus community. Below is information about maintaining your F-1 status, SEVIS, employment eligibility, health insurance, and resources for living in Minnesota.

Student Advisor

Your International Student Advisor is here to support you if you have questions about your F-1 status and being an international student at Saint Paul College.

Schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor through Navigate.

Contact International Student Services:

International Student Resources

Maintaining your F-1 Status

As an F-1 student, it is your responsibility to understand F-1 rules and regulations and maintain your F-1 status while studying in the US. This includes enrolling full-time every Fall and Spring semester, not working without authorization, and purchasing the required health insurance. Review the below “Maintaining your F-1 Status Guide” for more guidelines about your responsibilities as an F-1 student

In a few circumstances, an F-1 student is eligible for a Reduced Course Load (academic or medical). All reduced course loads require authorization from the International Student Advisor in advance. To request a Reduced Course Load, complete and submit the appropriate Reduced Course Load request form found under “International Student Services Forms” below.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information:

Visa vs. Status (Understanding your I-20, F-1 Visa, and I-94)

Being an international student involves a lot of documents. It’s important that you understand your documents and what they mean for you while in the US, outside the US, and travel to and from the US

I-20
The I-20 is the document that was provided to you after your acceptance to Saint Paul College. This is a legal document. Any time you receive a new I-20, you should print it, sign it, date it, and keep a copy for your records. When you were provided your initial I-20, you became eligible to apply for an F-1 non-immigrant student visa.

Your I-20 is what allows you to study as an F-1 student once you are inside the US. You must complete your program of study by the program end date on your I-20. If you find that you need more time to complete your program, you may request a program extension (see under “International Student Services Forms” below).

You should never throw out any of your I-20s, as they may be requested by USCIS in the future.

It is your responsibility to notify the International Student Advisor or a Designated School Official (DSO) of any changes to the information on your I-20.

F-1 Visa
Your F-1 visa is the stamp in your passport that allows you to enter the US in F-1 status. The visa is only used at the time of entry to the US.

An F-1 visa can only be applied for from outside the US. You cannot apply for an F-1 visa from inside the US.

F-1 Visa vs. F-1 Status
Once you are inside the US, your F-1 visa can expire, as long as your I-20 remains valid and you are maintaining F-1 status. However, if you decide to depart the US, you must have both a valid F-1 visa (unexpired) and valid I-20 signed for travel to re-enter the US.

If you applied for a change of status to F-1 status within the US, and you do not have an F-1 visa in your passport, you must apply for an F-1 visa if you decide to leave the US and wish to re-enter in F-1 status.

For more information about travel as an F-1 student, visit the “Travel” section below.

I-94
Every time you pass through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at your point of entry to the US, you receive an I-94 number and record. You can find your I-94 number and record at i94.cbp.dhs.gov (click “Get Most Recent I-94”).

When you enter the US on an F-1 visa, your I-94 “Class of Admission” should be “F1” and your “Admit Until Date” should be “D/S”. D/S stands for “duration of status”.

You should download your new I-94 every time you enter the US. Your I-94 record is only kept in the digital system for 5 years. Contact the International Student Advisor right away if you have difficulty accessing your I-94. 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information:

On-Campus Employment

While in active F-1 status, you are eligible to work an on-campus Student Employment job once you arrive to the U.S. You may work no more than 20 hours/week while school is in session, though you may work more during the breaks.

If you have been offered on-campus employment:
You will need to apply for and receive a Social Security Number (if you do not already have one), and complete the student employment onboarding process and paperwork before you begin working. You may not begin working until you receive permission from the Student Employment Coordinator, and we are not able to back-date your pay.

Student Employment Coordinator: Malia Thao, malia.thao@saintpaul.edu

For information on applying for a Social Security Number (SSN), click under “IDs: SSN, Minnesota Driver’s License, and State ID”

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information: Working in the United States.

Off-Campus Employment

F-1 students may be eligible for off-campus employment authorization through USCIS due to severe economic hardship that qualifies for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) emergent circumstances. These options are most commonly known as Severe Economic Hardship (SEH) or Special Student Relief (SSR).

Please contact the International Student Advisor with questions about eligibility requirements and steps to apply.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information: Working in the United States.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization related directly to your field of study at Saint Paul College, before graduation from your program. There is an application process, and authorization requires registration in an approved internship, externship, or practicum course during the semester of your CPT. There is an application process, and authorization requires registration in an approved internship, externship, or practicum course during the semester of your CPT. You must be approved for CPT and receive authorization on your I-20 before you may begin your internship.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Application Forms:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information: Working in the United States.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization to allow F-1 students to gain experience directly related to their field of study. Students may apply for OPT during their program (pre-completion OPT), after completion of their program (post-completion OPT), or a combination of both.

To apply for OPT, you must request a recommendation and receive approval from the International Student Advisor, and apply to USCIS by filing Form I-765. OPT is approved or denied by USCIS and Saint Paul College has no influence on USCIS decisions. If approved for OPT, you must report your OPT employment either through your SEVP Portal Account (post-completion OPT only) or to the International Student Advisor.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States information: Working in the United States.

Other Helpful DHS and USCIS Links:

IDs: SSN, Minnesota Driver’s License, and State ID

It is not required for F-1 students to apply for a Minnesota Driver’s License or State ID, but you are eligible to do so if you wish:

F-1 students are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) only if they have been offered an on-campus Student Employment job, or authorized for CPT or OPT and offered a paid internship. There is no other way to apply for and receive an SSN.

Contact the International Student Advisor for more information on applying for an SSN.

Travel

There are no restrictions on travel in the US for F-1 students as long as you ensure you are maintaining status. Carry your passport and your I-20 with you.

Before you travel outside the US while on F-1 status, you must have your I-20 signed for travel (travel signature must be less than one year old).

You must also have a valid F-1 visa. If your F-1 visa in your passport has expired, or you changed status to F-1 while in the US, you will need to re-apply and be approved for an F-1 visa before re-entering the U.S.

You must have the following with you to re-enter the US:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Valid I-20
    • I-20 signed for travel on page 2 less than one year old – contact the International Student Advisor for a travel signature
  • Copy of paid I-901 SEVIS FEE receipt
  • Copy of unofficial Saint Paul College transcript (print from eServices under “Academic Records”)
  • Copies of your bank statement or other financial statements showing US$24,015 (recommended)

You are responsible for researching visa requirements for other countries you may visit outside of the US.

Health Insurance

Mandatory Health Insurance Requirement and Payment Information
Health insurance is required for all F-1 international students at Saint Paul College. This requirement provides a healthcare plan and protects against financial hardship resulting from the need for medical care.

International students must purchase the system-approved health insurance, per the Minnesota State policy: Undergraduate Admissions Policy Part 5, Subpart B, #2. This plan is United Health Care Student Resources (UHCSR). Students may also have supplemental insurance such as spousal insurance, or state insurance (if applicable), but must still purchase the system-approved policy while attending Saint Paul College in F-1 status.

New students must pay the required insurance fee before registering for first-semester classes.

Continuing students must pay the Fall or Spring/Summer insurance fee before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters, respectively. Students who do not pay in full by the deadline will have their classes dropped for non-payment.

Students should budget for this expense each semester. International Student Services will notify students of the insurance fees for the year and due date as soon as it is available.

2023-2024 UHCSR Health Insurance Costs
Fall: $901
Spring/Summer: $1,388
Annual (Paid in Full): $2,289

Fall 2023 coverage runs August 10, 2023 – December 31, 2023. Spring/Summer 2024 coverage runs January 1, 2024 – August 9, 2024.

Payment for Spring/Summer 2024 is due for current students by December 13, 2023 and must be paid in full. The fee will be available to pay starting November 1, 2023. Health insurance fees cannot be paid using the Nelnet payment plan. Payment can be made in full through eServices or at the Tuition Office window.

If you have paid the insurance fee on eServices and continue to have a hold on your account, contact the Tuition Office at 651.846.1395 or tuition.office@saintpaul.edu.

F-2 dependents are not required to purchase health insurance, but it is highly recommended.

How to Access your UHCSR Account
You will need to create a HealthSafe ID (HSID) when you access your MyAccount for the first time. If you already have a HSID, you will use this to log-in to your MyAccount.

When creating your HSID Account, please note that your “Student ID” is your 8-digit Student ID (also known as a Tech ID) number that is listed on your SPC Student ID card. Do not enter your Star ID here.

Visit the UHCSR Videos webpage to watch helpful videos about how to log-in and use your UHCSR account, including:

  • How to Create My Account
  • How to Submit a Claim
  • How to Find a Provider and Cost Estimator
  • How to Request an ID Card

Please note: your insurance card will NOT automatically arrive in the mail. You must request it in your MyAccount.

Finding a Healthcare Provider
To search for a healthcare provider that is in the UHCSR network:

  • Visit the United Healthcare website.
  • Click on “Medical” or “Behavioral” under “Find providers”. (Only choose Dental if you have purchased the optional Dental Plan).
  • Click “Change Location” to type in desired zip code (55_ _ _) to search near the school (55102) or near your home. Many students click on the box “places” to find a primary care clinic. 

Please note: “in-network” does not mean your medical care will be 100% free. You may still owe a co-pay, or a percentage of the cost. You can always ask the provider what your estimated out of pocket cost will be when you provide them with your insurance information.

If you have questions about the health insurance, please contact:

Taxes

Regardless of whether or not you have worked, all F-1 students and their F-2 dependents are required to file an annual tax form by April 15 each year for the previous calendar year. Students are responsible for filing their income taxes and tax forms. Taxes are always due for the previous calendar year.

If you did not work or receive any income but you were present in the United States for the previous calendar year, you are legally obligated to file the Form 8843(Statement of Exempt Individuals). If you worked or received a stipend, grant or allowance in the United States, you may also need to file the Form 1040-NR. (The NR stands for Non-Resident.)

If you have worked either on- or off-campus for CPT or OPT, you must file your state and federal income taxes.

It is highly recommended that you use Sprintax or the below options to file your taxes and tax forms.

Saint Paul College partners with a tax company called Sprintax to support students in filing non-resident tax returns. Sprintax can help you file state and federal tax returns. You are not required to use Sprintax for help filing your taxes, but it is highly recommended. Please note that there is a fee for the services through Sprintax that you are responsible for. Small discounts for Sprintax are available through the International Student Advisor.

Between January and April, the International Student Advisor will send out a link to the Sprintax website that you may use.

Other options for tax help:

Please note: the International Student Advisor is not a tax expert and cannot give tax advice.

More Tax Resources:

Housing Resources

Saint Paul College does not have any on-campus housing or official affiliated off-campus housing. F-1 international students at Saint Paul College are responsible for finding their own housing arrangements and accommodations. We have compiled some resources to help you in your housing search.

There are many apartment options available throughout Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Please note: Saint Paul College is not officially affiliated with the housing options provided.

Popular Apartment Search Websites

Rent a Room with other International Students

Consider a Home Stay

A Home Stay is both an affordable option and also an opportunity to learn Minnesota culture, build relationships, and share your own culture. Saint Paul College partners with two homestay agencies:

These applications can take time. Apply at least 8 weeks in advance.

Look for Roommates

Consider looking for groups of students who already lease an apartment or house, and are looking to fill a room. Join Facebook groups for student housing or sublets. Local students will often post room vacancies and seek roommates in these groups. Important: It’s a good Idea to meet individuals you’re considering living with and view the space either in-person or over Zoom before signing any lease agreement to ensure the arrangement is safe and a good fit.

Housing Tips

  • Pay attention to where your housing is located in relation to Saint Paul College. When looking at apartment/housing locations, consider the distance from the Saint Paul College campus. Is the apartment on a bus or metro line that goes direct to campus? Will you need to transfer buses to get to campus? How long will it take you to get to campus using the bus route? The Twin Cities (Saint Paul and Minneapolis) are larger than they may look on a map, and you want to ensure you have an easy commute to campus so you can attend all your classes.
  • Meet potential roommates and tour the apartment/housing in person or virtually. It’s a good idea to meet Individuals you’re considering living with and view the space either in-person or over Zoom before signing any lease agreement to ensure the arrangement is safe and a good fit.
  • Always read a lease agreement before signing. A lease is a legal document and agreement. Typically, when you sign a lease, you are agreeing to pay rent for the duration of a lease. It’s Important to understand the terms of the lease agreement. You should always read the terms of a lease before signing.
  • Renting without a social security number (SSN). International students are only eligible to apply for an SSN if offered a job on-campus. It can be challenging to rent as an international student without a social security number (SSN), but many apartments will consider renting to an international student without an SSN. When contacting apartment companies, ask them if they would rent to an international student without an SSN. Often, apartments may ask students without an SSN to pay a larger deposit (sometimes equal to a month’s rent) due to the fact that you do not have an SSN.
  • Be careful of rental scams. Be aware of rental scams. Review this page to learn how to identify rental scams and how to best avoid them: Rental Fraud: Top Tips for Avoiding Common Scams