Introduction to Office of General Counsel Immigration Services

In today's global economy, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' institutions are welcoming increasing numbers of faculty and students from all over the world. The Office of General Counsel, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, is available to assist campuses with immigration-related issues in their roles as employers and educators. Compliance with the law is important. Failure of an institution to comply can lead to sanctions such as fines or withdrawal of approval to sponsor foreign students or employees. Failure of individuals to comply with their legal responsibilities could compromise their future ability to remain in the United States, or achieve permanent residence.

The Office of General Counsel, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, provides general guidance to college and university officials related to the institution's responsibilities in such matters as:

  • Requirements/characteristics of different types of visas;
  • Understanding the institution's role in visa application/extension/change in status processes for students and employees;
  • Defining employer responsibilities;
  • F-1 and J-1 program requirements;
  • Finding forms;
  • Drafting professional/technical contracts;
  • And more!

The Office of General Counsel has many written resources available. This area of law changes rapidly. Using updated forms and current addresses or other information is important for filing documents in a timely manner.

Note, however, that the Office of General Counsel cannot provide personal legal advice or services. Many immigration matters are complex and require the consideration of factors that are purely personal. Individuals are encouraged to consult with private attorneys for advice concerning their immigration status; they may be reminded that many decisions have long-term consequences for their futures and so should be approached thoughtfully.

Local bar associations can provide names of practitioners in immigration law, if assistance for personal matters is requested. The Minnesota State Bar Association Web site is:

If a college or university requires technical assistance in processing immigration matters, the OGC may assist in drafting a professional /technical contract for services and locate suitable providers. Although such work is often done by attorneys, it is important to specify that the contract is not for legal services as per Minn. Stat. Sect. 8.03. Contact Assistant General Counsel, Daniel McCabe for assistance.

FAQ: Employment of Foreign Nationals
Password: your StarID password

The former Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services ("INS") is now known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Its website at: includes many helpful references and links to the applicable federal laws and regulations, as well as forms. The USCIS also maintains local offices. The general information number is 612-854-7754, although you should be aware that it is often difficult to get through by phone.

Department of State Travel Advisories

International Advisor Resources

A good source of immigration-related information that is geared to institutions of higher education is NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Its website at: contains useful information and links, and the organization has published numerous practical booklets and manuals that are available for purchase. Some information is available to the public, but much is limited to members.

Information about international student programs in the metro area is available through the International Student and Scholar Services website of the University of Minnesota:

All Minnesota State Colleges and Universities international student advisors are encouraged to join the Minnesota International Educators (MIE). MIE is a statewide organization of international student advisors that meets every other month during the academic year. Members share best practices and get updated information on new laws, regulations, and government services of relevance to international students. For more information see:

Extensive resources on the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) are located at: .