International Students

International students are an essential and valuable part of the NMSU community. International students enjoy all the rights, privileges, and protections of domestic students. They are subject to all the same responsibilities and regulations as their fellow domestic students. However, some special policies apply only to international students. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) ensures these requirements are met and works with international students to maintain their immigration status. Some students not seeking degrees, such as international exchange students, may work directly with the Office of Education Abroad.

Federal Regulations

An international student is any individual attending NMSU while present in the United States on a non-immigrant student visa (F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-4, NATO visas, and possibly others such as students in temporary protected status).

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) should present documentation of their status to University Student Records and go through the same admission process as U.S. citizens.

The United States Department of Homeland Security has established rules for students in non-immigrant status, such as those with F-1 or J-1 visa types. Some of these rules include the following:

  1. For immigration purposes, each student must maintain full-time student status

    1. Full-time status for fall and spring semesters is defined as 12 or more credits for undergraduates (only three online credits can apply to the full-time requirement).
    2. Full-time status for summer is defined according to NMSU requirements. Exceptions possible for final semester. Consult ISSS officials for more details.
  2. International students may not work off campus without authorization. On-campus employment may be authorized under certain conditions.

  3. All international students must maintain an up-to-date record in the ISSS Office. This record must indicate the student’s current living address, phone number, and email address.

  4. Before admission, a prospective international student must demonstrate the following:

  5.  Academic ability to succeed in the chosen course of study.

  6.  Adequate financial support to complete the chosen course of study.

  7.  English language proficiency as defined by the university.

University Procedures for International Students

Regular Undergraduate Admission (Degree Seeking)

International students are subject to the same admissions standards as all other NMSU students, but some additional requirements apply. This section addresses those additional requirements.  Visit for more information.

Applications for admission that include the transfer of credits earned at a non-U.S. university must include a professional Foreign Credential Evaluation (FCE) report from a member institution of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) for every transcript from a foreign secondary school and/or university attended. The ISSS department highly recommends that applicants consider using SpanTran for their FCE. NMSU has worked with SpanTran to provide applicants with clear understanding of which evaluation is needed. SpanTran provides an applicant portal to track and access evaluations. SpanTran is a long-standing member of NACES. For more information please visit  

English Language Proficiency Requirements

For full undergraduate admission to the university, NMSU requires a score of 520 (paper-based) or 68 (internet-based) or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or a score of 95 on the Duolingo English test for all international students both non-degree and degree seeking.

A waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be considered for:

  1. Students who are native speakers of English.
  2. Students from the following countries will be exempt from providing a TOEFL score for admission purposes. NMSU requires all admitted international students to take the English Language Placement Test for placement purposes.
    1. Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Caicos Islands, Cameroon (Anglophone), Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Christmas Islands, Cook Island, Dominica, England, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grand Cayman Islands, Grenada, Grenada and the Grenadines, Guernsey, Guyana, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jersey, Kenya, Kiribati Islands, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, St. Christopher, St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Tristan da Cunha Island, Turks & Caicos Islands, Uganda, Virgin Islands, Wales, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  3. Students completing high school in the United States who (a) have attended the high school for at least two full years and (b) have scored in at least the 75th percentile in English on the ACT.
  4. Students transferring from a two-year college, community college, or university in the United States who have earned a minimum of 30 acceptable semester credits (45 acceptable quarter credits) with a GPA of 2.0 or better (acceptable credit means classes that require a high proficiency in both written and oral English).
  5. Students scoring a 70%---(3) or better in English with the International Baccalaureate.

The university reserves the right to require any prospective international student to meet the TOEFL or IELTS requirement.

English Language Placement Test

Placement in writing classes for international students is determined by the results of the English Language Placement Test (ELPT).  

Based on the results of the ELPT, the student is either assigned to ENGL 1105M (a bridge course designed to ensure success in ENGL 1110M) or is allowed to enroll directly in ENGL 1110M (for multilingual students).  Please note that these classes are only available on NMSU's Las Cruces Campus. International students excused from ENGL 1105M will be required to take ENGL 1110M. The student may then be required to complete one or more regular English classes as required for a particular degree. Completing basic English courses at other U.S. institutions does not automatically satisfy the ENGL 1110M requirement. Equivalencies for ENGL 1105M and equivalencies for ENGL 1110M or ENGL 1110G are determined by the University Student Records Office, who may refer exceptional cases to the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In cases of dramatic discrepancies between TOEFL/ IELTS scores and the ELPT, the ELPT results shall determine placement.

Proof of Financial Support

The university reserves the right to require advance deposit of funds for any period deemed reasonable before granting admission. Each prospective international student must submit a current financial support document with their application. This document must show that:

  1. The person providing the financial support has the necessary funds.

  2. The funds can be transferred from the student’s home country to the United States.

  3. Proof of adequate financial support should be sent directly to ISSS.

Admission Restrictions

International student admission may be prohibited if, Sufficient classroom-based courses are not available to maintain visa status (e.g. courses are online).

All application material, transcripts, national examination scores, transcripts from colleges or universities (with an English translation), and test scores (including the TOEFL or IELTS) should be sent directly to the NMSU Undergraduate Admissions at Please note that transcripts, test scores, and foreign credential evaluations sent directly from an applicant/student to NMSU will be considered unofficial. To be considered official, transcripts, test scores and foreign credential evaluations must come directly from the school, testing agency, or evaluation agency. All documents should be emailed to

SEVIS Check-In Course & Document Upload Portal

The SEVIS Check-In Course & Document Upload Portal is a mandatory online course for new undergraduate and graduate international students to NMSU. The SEVIS Check-In & Document Upload Portal is a Canvas Course. Students will receive an email invitation to the course once they have set up their NMSU email address. The course consists of 7 modules, and each module must be completed before proceeding to the next module. The Check-In Course covers important legal rules and requirements students must follow to maintain their F-1 status, as well as information about acclimating to New Mexico State University and the Las Cruces community. During the Check-In Course, new international students are required to submit specific documentation and physically check in with the International Student and Scholar Services office.

New international students should activate their NMSU email address and reach out to the ISSS office at to be enrolled in the SEVIS Check-In Course. Tin addition, the NMSU ISSS office will facilitate 3 Mandatory In-person SEVIS Check-In Session. The dates for these sessions will be found in the final module of the SEVIS Check-In Course.

For full consideration for undergraduate admission, applicants are subject to the following deadlines:

July 1 (application initiated) Fall Semester
July 15th (all documents submitted) Fall Semester
October 1st* (Study Abroad) Spring Semester
November 15th (application initiated) Spring Semester
December 1st (all documents submitted) Spring Semester

*Admissions to summer terms in not available to new undergraduate international students due to the limited number of face to face course offerings.

*New international graduate students seeking admission to summer terms are encouraged to work closely with their department and The Graduate School to assure that the student is enrolled in a schedule that meets federal enrollment guidelines

* Contact the Office of Education Abroad for exchange program admission deadlines.

Graduate International Students

For more information on graduate international student procedures, please visit the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Miscellaneous Regulations

​Health Insurance

New Mexico State University (NMSU) requires all F-1 international students studying at NMSU to have health insurance coverage. It is the student’s responsibility to purchase and maintain health insurance coverage while enrolled at NMSU. The health insurance coverage must cover the student while they are physically present in the U.S. including summer and winter breaks. NMSU will provide an educative role whereby NMSU will inform international graduate students with their options for obtaining health insurance along with the advantages and disadvantages of each option and allow the students to make an informed decision on their own.

  • Canvas Health Insurance Course - All new international students at NMSU are required to complete the Canvas Health Insurance Course. Students will be sent a link to the course after they have enrolled in classes and activated their NMSU email address. Participation in the course is mandatory. Completion of the course acknowledges that you have been provided with the information necessary to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of your health insurance coverage. It acknowledges that you understand the pros and cons of the plan you selected, including taxes and potential complications during subsequent change of status procedures.
  1. New international students are not permitted to enroll in classes until all ISSS requirements are met, including attending Aggie Welcome and Orientation, the Mandatory SEVIS Check-in Session, and taking the English Language Placement Test (when applicable, see English Language Proficiency Requirements section).  All international students, are required to the campus to which they were admitted. The following are the offices that a student may need to report to:
    1. Las Cruces campus: International Student & Scholar Services, Suite 101 of the Educational Services Building (575) 646-2834,  (Note:  Exchange students need to report to the Office of Study Abroad in 132 Garcia Center.)
    2. Doña Ana Community College: International Student & Scholar Services, Sufficient classroom-based courses are not available to maintain visa status (e.g., courses are online).
    3. Alamogordo Community College: Office of Student Services, Student Services Building, second floor

    4. Grants Community College: Office of Student Services, Walter Martinez Building, Main Office Complex

  2. Students in non-degree exchange J-1 visa status must be engaged full time in a prescribed course of study.  Consult the Education Abroad Office for more details.

  3. All international students are required to register at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center within a week of arriving to undergo a TB test or submit results of a current TB test done in the home country within a week of arriving.  Guidelines will be provided by the Aggie Health and Wellness Center.

TB test done in the home country within a week of arriving.  Guidelines will be provided by the Aggie Health and Wellness Center.

International Exchange Students

An Exchange Student is defined as a visiting student who is coming to NMSU for one semester to one Academic Year but is not seeking a degree. An Exchange Student typically comes to NMSU from one of NMSU’s partner universities or one of NMSU’s partner consortiums.

All international exchange students are required to be enrolled in NMSU-approved health insurance.  Office of Education Abroad will enroll the students and bill the insurance amount to the student’s account. 

Exchange Students are required to attend a mandatory Orientation before courses begin. Orientation will be scheduled and facilitated by the Office of Education Abroad, abiding by guidelines set forth by the US government per J-1 visa requirements.

Exchange students are subject to the same English Language Proficiency policies outlined in the section on University Procedures for International Students.

Application Process for International Exchange Students

Prior to admission to NMSU, a prospective international exchange student must be nominated from their home university, complete an application with the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) and submit their required documents. The process is as follows:

  1. Nomination for exchange must be submitted by the Home University to the Incoming Exchange Coordinator by March 15 for Fall semester and September 15 for Spring semester. Please see your home university exchange coordinator for more information and to complete the nomination process.
  2. Once a nomination is received, students will be directed to make an account at the OEA website:
  3. The student is then required to complete the Exchange Student Nomination Form Questionnaire and upload the following documents:
    1. Passport
    2. Transcripts (in English)
    3. Financial document showing proof of $5,000 per semester attended. ISEP students do not have to provide the financial documents
    4. Current TOEFL scores (2 years or less). See below for acceptable scores.
  4. All international students, regardless of status, must apply for Admissions to NMSU  Once the Student’s OEA application has been approved, OEA Staff will submit the documents listed above to Admissions on behalf of the student.

Academic Restrictions

The majority of the NMSU catalog applies to Exchange Students, with the following exceptions:

  • Exchange students must take the English Language Placement Test.
  • Courses must be taken at Main Campus only. Community college courses, including DACC, are not available to Exchange Students.
  • The Nursing Department is the only department strictly off limits to exchange students, with case-by-case exception by the department and this would have to be approved well in advance of the student being nominated.
  • Exchange students are required to abide by all pre-requisite requirements and class size restrictions (i.e., if a course is closed when the student goes to register, an exception cannot be made).
  • Online courses are restricted due to visa requirements (no more than three credits can be taken online. Additional fees will apply.