International Students

Dakota College is planning to hold classes face-to-face as normal. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but there are a lot of ways for you to continue meeting your goals during this difficult time. Please see the below Frequently Asked Questions about coming to Dakota College.

Because international travel is changing so quickly and without warning, every student's case is unique. This page provides general advice for many diverse groups of students in F-1 visa status, including new and returning students, as well as Canadian and overseas students. Please keep in mind that these are broad guidelines written to fit the needs of large groups of students.

It is important to remember that this information may change without notice, so you will need to carefully and frequently check Dakota College's website and all college communication when making your travel plans. Pay close attention to the communications you receive from Dakota College and the COVID-19 section of Dakota College's website.


What should I do when traveling Internationally?

You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you travel.

Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting COVID-19:

  • When you are around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you, particularly in crowded areas. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are in shared spaces outside of your home, including when using public transportation.
  • If there are people in the household who did not travel with you, wear a mask and ask everyone in the household to wear masks in shared spaces inside your home for 14 days after travel.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick.

Get Tested and Stay Home After Higher Risk Travel

Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at travelers’ destinations.

If you participated in higher-risk activities during your international travel, take the actions listed above AND do the following after travel:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.



Have the full-time enrollment rules changed for Spring 2021?

The government has not released any guidance for Spring 2021, so we need to assume that the regular F-1 rules will apply. To maintain F-1 status, undergraduate students needs to take a minimum 12 credits including 9 face-to-face on the Bottineau campus.

If you want to study in your home country, you can choose to forfeit your current F-1 status. You can return home to take classes without F-1 status in Spring 2021. Then if you decide to return to Bottineau in Fall 2021, you would need to apply for a new I-20. The only downsides are you would need to repay the SEVIS fee (currently $350), overseas students may also need a new visa for travel, and your CPT/OPT clock would restart. That means if you are interested in working in the U.S. after graduation, you would need to spend a full fall and spring semester in Bottineau studying on the new I-20 before you would be eligible to apply for OPT. If you are not interested in OPT, then there are even fewer downsides to forfeiting your F-1 status.

We truly hope new guidance is released for spring to allow students to maintain status while taking 12 credits from their home country. We do not expect to hear about any guidance until late December, and the government may choose not to issue any guidance at all. For that reason, we would keep your current F-1 status open as long as possible (until classes start in January) just in case that guidance comes through.



What if I need to stay in my home county to study during Spring 2021?

Continuing Students: See the above tab: "Have the full-time enrollment rules changed for Spring 2021?"

New Students: If you are unable to attend Dakota College at Bottineau in person, you can request that your I-20 be deferred to Fall 2021. Please inform the Student Services Clerk that you want to defer your I-20 start date to August 2021.

Depending on your situation, you might be eligible to take online classes during Spring 2021 from your home country. You will need to work with your Academic Advisor to identify online classes that you can take from your home country. You will be assigned an academic advisor once you have been fully accepted.



What will I need to enter the U.S. for spring 2021?

You will need all of the normal travel documents, including your I-20 with a DSO signature no older than one year on page two. You also need an active visa and passport.

New Students: You will need to arrive on campus on Sunday, January 10th. In order to enter the U.S. to study at Dakota College at Bottineau, you will need to travel with the following documents. Without proper documentation you may be denied entry until you have all documents present.

  • Form I-20: you will need to print your name, sign and date the bottom of page one of the I-20 that was sent to you.
  • Passport.
  • Visa (Except for Canadian Citizens)
  • Admission letter: Sent by Student Services with your I-20.
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt: Instructions sent by Student Services in a letter included with I-20 with instructions on how to pay the SEVIS fee.
  • Financial documentation: The same documents you sent to Student Services to prove eligibility to receive an I-20.

Continuing Students: Continuing F-1 students who leave the United States must show the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:

  • Valid U.S. visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens)
  • Passport
  • Valid I-20 with a DSO travel signature within the last calendar year.
  • An I-94. If you arrived by land, you will have a physical I-94 stapled in your passport.
  • A printout of your fall 2020 classes from campus connection just to show you are enrolled in on-campus classes.

Students with pending or approved Optional Practical Training, please visit with Student Services regarding guidance and regulations currently affecting OPT.


What travel restrictions do I need to know about?

The CDC has updated its guidelines to require a negative COVID test before boarding a flight to the U.S. beginning January 26th. You can read more about this rule on the CDC website.

Before you make travel plans to Bottineau, you should carefully monitor  entry restrictions into the U.S. Some students from (or traveling through) Brazil, China, Iran, and certain European countries are currently subject to an entry ban unless they have spent 14 days outside any of those countries. Please keep these restrictions in mind when planning your travel to the U.S.

Remember that this information may change without warning, so you should check the following resources frequently before your travel takes place. Carefully research the situation before purchasing a ticket to the U.S. and remember that changes may occur.

Canadian Parents: The U.S./Canadian border is closed to non-essential travel. F-1 visa students are considered "essential," so they will be allowed entry. However, the B-2 visitor visas utilized by family members are not considered "essential visas" by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Please contact your Port of Entry to speak with a CBP agent for any questions about the border closure.



Will I need to quarantine in Bottineau?


On September 21, 2020 the State of North Dakota revoked the 14-day quarantine order for travelers  arriving in North Dakota countries outside of the U.S. To be clear: students and employees will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days when re-entering North Dakota from Canada or abroad. Please review the following information: MARIANI LIFTS STATE HEALTH OFFICER ORDER REGARDING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL and REVOCATION OF STATE HEALTH CONFINEMENT ORDER #2020-02.3

Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Map to view the current guidelines regarding entry to the U.S. after traveling through your country and any other countries through which you transit. You will be required to follow CDC guidelines and guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health when you arrive to campus.



Will my health insurance cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?

Yes. International students* at Dakota College at Bottineau in F-1 status are required to carry the official health insurance provider for North Dakota public institutions through United Healthcare. The policy is comprehensive and provide excellent benefits. General information about the insurance policy and enrollment process can be found here: Health Insurance for International Students.

Specific information regarding COVID-19 coverage can be found here:

*Canadian citizens  are not required to carry the North Dakota University System insurance policy through United Healthcare. You should refer to your Canadian private and provincial health insurance providers for more information about what sort of coverage you have while attending university in the United States.

*During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that you contact your Canadian health insurance provider to learn if testing for COVID-19 and treatment for COVID-19 related illnesses will be covered while you are in the United States. If testing and treatments for COVID-19 are not covered in the U.S., DCB strongly recommends that you purchase the North Dakota University System insurance policy.

If you are interested in purchasing the North Dakota University System insurance policy, read through the policy details on  this webpage. An email will be sent by ECI Services that will allow you to opt-in to the policy at the beginning of the semester.