Incoming Exchange Students

We are thrilled that you are considering NMSU for your education abroad experience! An exchange student is a student who intends to come to NMSU on an official exchange program established by a formal agreement between New Mexico State University and one of its partner institutions or via the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), or the National Student Exchange (NSE) program. If you are interested in studying at NMSU as an exchange student, your home university must first nominate you. Your Study Abroad or International Office Advisor/Exchange Coordinator can inform you about the procedures at your university and answer specific questions about the application process for exchange students.

Degree-seeking international students should instead refer to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) webpage for information related to studying at NMSU.

What is an Exchange Student

An exchange student is a student who is coming to NMSU to study for one to two semesters from one of our partner institutions or via the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), or the National Student Exchange (NSE) program. Exchange students are admitted to NMSU as non-degree students. If you are not sure if you are an exchange student, please contact


We recommend that all students, regardless of immigration status, apply as early as possible. Course registration opens mid-late April for fall applicants and late November/early December for spring applicants. Until students have been fully admitted to NMSU, they will not be allowed to register for courses or apply for housing. For all students attending NMSU on a J-1 visa, the application dates are as follows:

Deadlines for International Exchange Students

Fall Applications
  1. Program Materials Deadline (upload into NMSU Education Abroad Portal)
    1. Applications Open: March 15
    2. Deadline: Aprial 15
  2. NMSU Admissions Application 
    1. Applications Open: April 1
    2. Deadlian: May 1
  3. DS-2019 creation and mailing
    1. End of May
Spring Applications
  1. Program Materials Deadliane (uploaded into NMSU Education Abroad Portal)
    1. Applications Open: September15
    2. Deadline: October 15
  2. NMSU Admissions Application
    1. Applications Open: October 1
    2. Deadline: November 1
  3. DS-2019 creation and mailing
    1. Mid-November

Deadlines for National Student Exchange Students with a U.S. Passport

Fall Applications
  1. Program Materials Deadline (uploaded into NMSU Education Abroad Portal)
    1. Applications Open: March 15
    2. Deadline: June 1
  2. NMSU Admissions Application 
    1. Applications Open April 1
    2. Deadline: July 1
Spring Applications
  1. Program Materials Deadline (uploaded into NMSU Education Abroad Portal)
    1. Application Open: September 15
    2. Deadline: November 1
  2. NMSU Admissions Application 
    1. Application Open: October 1
    2. Deadline: December 1

In order to provide the best selection of classes to exchange students, deadlines are non-negotiable.

Nomination Process

International Exchange: Home university nomination – all students that are nominated are contacted personally by the NMSU Incoming Advisor. If you have not been contacted, please check that your home university has nominated you.

National Student Exchange: Placement confirmed within the NSE portal. Once you have been nominated and approved to proceed, the next step is to upload the required documents to your Education Abroad account.

Application Process

Select one of the following incoming exchange programs and click on “Create Account”:

  1. International Exchange Students
  2. National Student exchange Students

Once you have successfully logged into your study abroad portal, you will see the required signature documents and questionnaires.  You need to read and sign the signature documents and complete the questionnaires.  You will also need to upload a current transcript that has been translated into English, a current passport photocopy, and recent TOEFL/IELTS test scores if you are not a native English speaker. 

NMSU will only accept the following tests/minimum scores:


TOEFL iBT:  68



Cambridge Test (CAE/CPE): C2

Duolingo: 95


TOEFL iBT:  68-79

TOEFL PBT: 549-550

IELTS:  6.0-6.5

Cambridge Test (CAE/CPE): C1

Duolingo: 104-105

Once you have finished all the application materials, email to move on to the next step. Once your application has been approved, you will then be instructed to apply for admission to NMSU.  Do not apply for admissions prior to verification of a completed application. 

After your application is created, you can continue accessing your application by logging in to the Education Abroad Application portal using the “log in with Portal Account” button.

New Programming Fee

Starting in Fall 2021, all incoming exchange students will be required to pay a one-time $200 programming fee. This will be paid as part of the NMSU Admissions Application process.

Included in this fee:

  1. DS-2019 Creating & Mailing
  2. Transportation form El Paso International Airport to NMSU upon arrival (some restrictions apply)
  3. Welcome Dinner & Reception
  4. End of Semester Event
  5. Cultural Activities during the semester
  6. Official NMSU Transcripts

Contact Information

International Exchange Students

Email globalvl@nmsu.edufor more information

National Student Exchange Students

Email for more information Zoom appointments are available for interested students. Please contact us to set up an appointment.

New Mexico State University is located in Las Cruces, in the Southwest corner of New Mexico. More than 14,000 students from 49 states and 89 foreign countries are currently enrolled, earning everything from a Bachelor’s Degree, all the way to a PhD. NMSU is a NASA Space-Grant College and is home to the very first Honors College in New Mexico. A Hispanic-Serving Institution, NMSU serves a multi-cultural population of students and community members across the state at five campuses, a satellite-learning center in Albuquerque, cooperative extension offices located in each of New Mexico's 33 counties, and 12 agriculture research and science centers.


Exchange students that come to NMSU are particularly interested in Business and Engineering programs, which are some of the best in the region! Many exchange students also take advantage of the bilingual nature of the border region that Las Cruces resides in and will add a Spanish class to their semester! With a few exceptions, the majority of programs at NMSU are available to exchange students, provided they meet any stated prerequisites. Browse the Course Catalog to see what NMSU has to offer! Please refer to Main Campus or Las Cruces Campus when searching for courses. Keep in mind that not all courses are offered in any given semester. To see what courses are currently being offered, you can go to the NMSU Course Look Up. Course schedules are released towards the end of the current semester for the next semester. The courses that are not available to exchange students are all Nursing, CMI (film), and English Literature. English language courses, such as ENGL 111M are available provided students meet the pre-requisites or based on the English Language Placement Test taken during orientation.

Housing and Meals

Exchange students are encouraged to live on campus, as that is the best way to experience life as an NMSU Aggie! For Upperclassmen students, NMSU has three different apartment options for students to choose from. In most cases, students in the apartments share the space with one other student, but there are some quad living options, as well! NMSU offers students a wide variety of on-campus food choices, from an all-you-can-eat-buffet at Taos Restaurant to chain and local restaurants to grab and go items! Many students at NMSU choose to purchase one of the meal plan options. There are options to suit every budget and need.


All students at NMSU are invited to take full advantage of campus life as an Aggie! NMSU Student Involvement & Leadership Programs has a wide range of student organizations and Greek organizations for students to choose from, based on academic or personal interest. For those who like to stay active, the NMSU Activity Center has something for everyone. This includes the James B. Delamater Activity Center which offers facilities such as a weight room, elevated indoor jogging track, racquetball courts, aerobics room, cardio room (including exercise bikes and treadmills), and basketball/volleyball courts. Also available for your fitness and recreation needs is our climbing wall, mat room, and ping-pong tables. While it is not common for Exchange Students to participate in the NCAA sports, all students are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Intramural Sports. Do you have a desire to explore New Mexico and all the natural wonder that is to be found in the state? If so, then consider taking one of Outdoor Recreation Service’s many trips offered throughout the semester!

Health & Wellness

NMSU takes student health very seriously, so we offer a wide variety of resources to help keep students healthy and happy. Aggie Health and Wellness Center is a nationally accredited outpatient ambulatory health care center offering services in acute medical care, mental health, women’s health, immunizations, and health education. The International Health Insurance provided by NMSU includes free use of the Aggie Health and Wellness Center.

International Student Health Insurance

All international students are required to maintain insurance during their time at New Mexico State University. All international students participating in the exchange program with NMSU Education Abroad will be enrolled in NMSU’s insurance plan, via Relation Education Solution. This is mandatory regardless of home university/country insurance requirements. The semester cost of the insurance is billed directly to the NMSU student account at the start of each semester. More information can be found on the NMSU Exchange Students International Student Insurance Plan website.

Student Life

The NMSU Office of the Dean of Students is the office on campus for students to go for any conflicts that may arise that are of either a personal or an academic nature. This office can impose disciplinary sanctions and help mediate between two parties. The Dean of Students Office is part of the larger Student Life Department at NMSU.

Student Employment

Per J-1 visa regulations, exchange students can work a maximum of 20 hours on-campus ONLY. Off-campus work, including volunteering, is prohibited and can lead to deportation. For students interested in working on-campus, please contact the Incoming Exchange Advisor for more information.

General Facts About Health Care in the United States

Medical care is expensive, and insurance is necessary. Most international visitors find that healthcare in the United States costs much more than it does at home. A visit to the doctor can cost several hundred dollars. Being treated at a hospital, even if you do not stay overnight, often costs thousands of dollars. Patients are charged for each service or procedure. For example, there may be a charge for the ambulance, and then for the examination, for the tests, for the equipment, and for the medication. In addition, each medical provider charges for his or her time. Most people-Americans as well as international visitors– are unable to pay large medical expenses. It is common to rely on insurance for protection in case of unexpected medical emergencies. All International students at NMSU are required to be enrolled in the approved NMSU International Insurance Plan.

Caring for your Health in a New Environment

Moving from one culture to another requires many adjustments because cultural assumptions, expectation, and practices are a part of everything we do. Similarly, good health is related to almost all of our activities, from sleeping to eating to how we spend leisure time; and the process of cultural adjustment and the steps needed to stay healthy are closely connected.

When you First Arrive

The early days of a new culture are often filled with anticipation about the many new and exciting experiences you may have while you are here. At the same time, you have many details to take care of and many things to learn. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time. Get enough sleep. You may be jet-lagged and unaccustomed to the time change between the United States and your country. Your feelings of excitement and anxiety may interfere with your sleep. You will sleep best if you do not consume too much alcohol or caffeine, avoid eating too late in the evening, and get to bed early enough so that you can get at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest. Eat regular, nutritious meals. American food may be different from the food at home. You may be tempted it skip meals or eat too much or choose unhealthy foods (which Americans sometimes eat in excess). Eating too much fat (contained in fast food) will lead to weight gain. Eating too much sugar (found in soft drinks and desserts) often causes mood swings and loss of energy. Across the street from the campus is the Toucan Market, which has an excellent variety of fresh foods and international and ethnic ingredients.

Exercise Your Way to Good Health

Research shows that exercise, in addition to providing benefits to physical health, is an excellent way to remain energetic and positive. One way of exercising is by walking or biking to and around campus. In addition, you can visit the Campus Activity Center free with your Aggie ID. The facilities include two swimming pools, a weight room, numerous cardio machines, an indoor track, as well as classes.

Manage Stress Effectively

Moving from one culture to another, beginning a new academic program, and adjusting to many changes at the same time can cause significant stress. Stress, in turn, can interfere with your ability to sleep, concentrate, and to succeed academically, so it is essential to manage your stress. You can do this by taking care of yourself, staying in touch with family and friends, making time for relaxation and rest, engaging in some fun activities in your leisure time, and maintaining your sense of humor. Americans sometimes counsel all things in moderation. This is wise advice, meaning that some work, some rest, and some socializing will help you achieve a balanced life. Too much of any one of these can cause stress. Some stress is to be expected, but if it starts to affect aspects of your day-to-day life, please contact the Aggie Health and Wellness Center.

Adjusting to U.S. Culture

Although you have been looking forward to your U.S. study experience as a positive goal and a new adventure, you will experience a period of cultural adjustment. Researchers have identified a cycle called culture shock that most people go through when they move to a new culture for an extended period. The first few weeks are exciting and fun, almost like a vacation. During this time, you will face the new environment and its challenges with anticipation and curiosity. Then a new and more difficult period sets in when you begin to feel weary of so many changes and so much that is unfamiliar. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may become exhausted from listening to and speaking in English for so many hours each day. Everything from the people to the food, the living conditions, and the way Americans relate to each other may begin to frustrate you. Perhaps you begin to spend more time at home by yourself. You may skip class or find yourself engaging in unhealthy eating or drinking. You may have trouble sleeping, or you may be sleeping many hours each day. During this period of adjustment, which can last from several weeks to several months, some students even decide to abandon their education in the U.S. Please know that this is all a normal part of the process, but it if becomes overwhelming, please remember that you can contact the Aggie Health and Wellness Center, should you need assistance.

Safety and security in the United States

While in the US, you will be subject to all local, state, and federal laws. In addition to that, you will also want to ensure that you stay in compliance with your Visa requirements. Due to Las Cruces’ close proximity to the US/Mexico border; there are U.S Border Patrol Checkpoints within 100 miles of Las Cruces in every direction. In order to leave the El Paso/Las Cruces area, you will have to go through one of those checkpoints. It is important that when you plan to travel, that you always travel with your Passport and current DS-2019. Your visa is what gets you into the U.S., your DS-2019 is what allows you to stay in the country and you must always have a current one in your possession when traveling outside of the local area. For emergencies, please call 911.

New Mexico or The Land of Enchantment is the 5th largest state but the 6th smallest in terms of population density. There is only one large metropolitan city, Albuquerque, which is approximately 3 ½ hours north of Las Cruces by car. There are many National Parks within New Mexico and many people come to New Mexico to experience the scenery and various natural phenomena, such as White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Las Cruces is the second-largest city in New Mexico and is located within 50 miles of the US/Mexico Border and El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces has a small-town feel with many great local restaurants, activities, and plenty of outdoor activities! The proximity to El Paso International Airport allows students easy access to many popular travel destinations, such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Additional Resources

El Paso International Airport

Las Cruces Shuttle

Las Cruces City Bus


Outdoor Activities

Local Attractions



City of Las Cruces

Old Mesilla – Historical community just miles from campus.

State of New Mexico

  1. Visa Requirements If you are currently outside the U.S., you should use the DS-2019 form to apply for a J-1 student visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate nearest your place of residence only after you are sure you will attend NMSU. If you have already applied for a visa using another school’s form, and you want to attend NMSU, you will need to return to the consulate and apply for a new visa that has NMSU listed as the school you will attend. Canadian citizens do not require a visa, but must present this form when entering the US from Canada and must pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee before arriving (see below). Non-citizen residents of Canada should check with the US Consulate to find out whether or not they need a visa. For information on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate(s) nearest you, please see
  2. Required SEVIS Fee All students must pay a mandatory SEVIS fee. This is a U.S. Government fee, not a university fee, and is in addition to any visa fee. Because the payment of the fee will be recorded in the SEVIS system and it MUST be fully processed before you arrive at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for the visa interview, you must pay it at least 3 business days prior to the visa interview, and you must bring proof of payment to the interview. Canadian citizens must present proof of payment of the fee when arriving at the port of entry to the U.S. (they do NOT need a visa). For more detailed information on the fee payment process, please go to the SEVIS website at You can pay the SEVIS fee in one of three ways:

a) Online at Use a credit card and complete the online Form I-901. Once you have submitted the payment, please print the computer-generated receipt. This receipt will be your proof of payment. Please note that SEVP is unable to accept credit card payments on behalf of students from Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, or Kenya.

b) Through Western Union Quick Pay. This option is available in any country where Western Union offers its Quick Pay service. This service allows you to pay the SEVIS fee electronically and directly to the Department of Homeland Security in local currency. You must fill out the I-901 form on you go to Western Union and record or print the unique coupon number to submit your payment (if someone will pay for you they will also need to enter your coupon number in the Account Number field of the Western Union form to pay). To read the detailed instructions for this form of payment, please go to

c) Through the mail by submitting a completed Form I-901 and a check or money order drawn from a U.S. bank. The mailing address and instructions can be found at payment confirmation you can print from the FMJ fee website will serve as proof of payment for the I-901 SEVIS fee.

3. When to Apply for the Visa and What to Bring to the Consulate You cannot apply for the visa more than 120 days prior to the date your U.S. program begins (check your DS-2019 for the program start date). Documents you will need to bring with you to the U.S. Consulate and to the U.S.:

  • Passport
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee
  • DS-2019 form
  • NMSU acceptance letter
  • Proof of finances for your studies
  • Any evidence that you intend to return home when you complete your studies (e.g., proof of property, a job or family in your home country)

​Please contact the U.S. Consulate before you go to find out how to make an appointment, what the fees are, what additional documents you should bring to the interview, and how long it generally takes to process the visa. A list of U.S. Embassy/Consulate website can be found at Due to recent changes to visa and immigration policy, we expect visa interview and processing times to be longer than in previous years for all students, no matter what country you come from. Be smart and get your visa appointment as early as possible within the 120-day window!

4. The Visa Interview If you will have an interview at a U.S. Consulate, GEO recommends the following:

  • Be ready to articulate in English briefly and clearly your reason for study in the US and your plan to use your education in your home country after program completion.
  • Know how your academic degree will fit into your home country job market.
  • Be prepared with the above information, but do not memorize a “speech” which sounds rehearsed.
  • Remain calm.
  • Ask the consular officer if s/he will review any documents you brought (even if s/he doesn't ask for them.)
  • In case of a denial, ask that the reason be given to you in writing before you leave the consulate. Only in this way, can you address the U.S. Consulate’s concern if and when you return for a second interview. Reasons for visa denial are found at
  • You may be subject to a security check that will delay the visa application process. Therefore, we highly recommend that you apply for the visa as soon as you receive this form (but not sooner than 120 days before your program begins).
  • Once your visa is issued, you should verify that all information is correct and does not contain any typographical errors in your name, date of birth, or other biographical information. It is extremely important that your name and biographical information on the visa MATCH your passport and DS-2019. Make sure you have the correct type of visa, J-1 (NOT F1). It is extremely difficult to correct these errors once you have left the consulate and nearly impossible once you have entered the US, so you want to get these errors corrected BEFORE you leave your home country.
  • Finally, once you are issued a visa, the consular officer may seal your DS-2019 in an envelope and attach it to your passport. You should not open this envelope! The Customs and Border Protection Officer at the U.S. port-of-entry will open the envelope. DO NOT PACK THE ENVELOPE IN YOUR LUGGAGE!

5. How Soon Can I Legally Arrive in the U.S.? New students CANNOT arrive more than 30 days prior to the reporting date listed on the DS-2019 form. Be sure that you do not arrive earlier than that date or you may be sent back to your home country.

6. What You Need to Enter the U.S. You should bring the following with you to enter the U.S. (do not pack these documents in your luggage!):

  • Passport with entry visa
  • DS-2019 form (in many cases this will be in an envelope that the U.S. Consulate has given you)
  • Proof of finances to support your stay in the U.S.
  • Money to cover initial costs (approximately $8,000 in accessible funds via an ATM, debit, or credit card; for your protection, DO NOT bring more than $1000 in cash.)

According to U.S. law, you must enter the U.S. using the DS-2019 from the institution you plan to attend first. If you enter the United States with a form from a university other than New Mexico State University, you will be required to report to and possibly attend that university before you will be eligible to transfer to NMSU. Upon your arrival in the U.S., the official should review the form and return it to you. At the U.S. port of entry, an official should stamp your passport and indicate the correct immigration status (J1) on the stamp. DO NOT ENTER THE U.S. on a B visitor’s visa or WB/WT visa waiver or you will be ineligible to study! As part of your orientation process, you will print out the record of entry (form I-94) at at the Education Abroad office. I-94 is an important document that records your current U.S. immigration status.

7. Special Information for Canadian Citizens Citizens of Canada do not require entry visas but must present the DS-2019 form, financial proof, and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee when entering the U.S. from Canada. Passports are required for all Canadian citizens entering the U.S. in student status. Students receiving assistantships or plan to work on campus must have a valid passport. Canadian students crossing at a land port need to be sure that their DS-2019 is reviewed by the immigration official AND need to carefully check that the stamp in the passport accurately indicates their J-1 status.

8. Insurance Requirement All J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to have insurance for the duration of their program. NMSU requires all International Students to purchase the University approved insurance. More details will be provided in your acceptance/orientation materials.

9. Academic Training Post Exchange All J-1 Exchange students are allowed to participate in an internship or work experience post exchange program for the same duration as their exchange program. This is called academic training. The experience must be related to the student’s field of study and there are multiple requirements. For more information, please contact NMSU Education Abroad at

10. 30-Day Grace Period All J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to remain in the US for 30 days from the expiration date on their most current DS-2019 for the purposes of leisure and tourism.