Resources for International Students

Detroit Mercy Law supports international students with student visas (required for enrollment) and practical training authorizations (required for gaining legal experience in the US).


Student Visas for Incoming Students

Incoming international students must have a valid passport and an F-1 student visa to enroll.

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    Contact Director Winbigler with questions

    Director Stephanie Winbigler is the Designated School Official who supports incoming international students with obtaining their F-1 student visas. | 313-596-9841


    Complete an I-20 Application by or before July 15

    Incoming international students must submit: (1) a completed I-20 application and (2) supporting financial documentation. Failure to timely submit may result in forfeiture of your seat in the incoming class.

    US JD I-20 Application – to be completed by international students enrolling in the US JD program

    Dual JD I-20 Application – to be completed by all students enrolling in the Dual JD program who are not dual citizens of the US and Canada


    Some student visas may require additional time

    Students who are not citizens of the US or Canada may need consular approval for student visas. If you are not a citizen of either country, please allow additional time for visa processing.


    Important notice about visa eligibility

    Visa eligibility is at the discretion of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian Border Service Administration. Although you may qualify at the onset for a student visa, US and Canadian laws are subject to change, which may impact your ability to continue your studies.


    Participation in “Crossing Days” is required

    Students who require a visa for enrollment are required to participate in Crossing Days with their immigration documentation. Crossing days are typically scheduled the week prior to orientation. Dates will be posted on the Admitted Students Webpage.

Practical Training Authorizations for F-1 Students

F-1 students interested in gaining legal experience in the US must ensure eligibility and obtain proper authorization—either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT)—prior to beginning any legal experience.

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    Contact Director Iacoban with questions

    Director Daniela Iacoban is the Designated School Official who supports international students with obtaining practical training authorizations, including OPT and CPT. | 313-596-0223


    Volunteering is generally not permitted

    Volunteering by F-1 students involves a complex intersection of labor law and immigration law. Many not-for-pay opportunities do not qualify as volunteering, and violations can result in serious consequences for students, schools, and employers. As such, Detroit Mercy Law students seeking legal experience with an employer for an unpaid position should do so through the externship program with CPT authorization.


    Extern for Credit with CPT

    Many international students participate in the Externship Program to gain hands-on experience in judicial chambers, public interest organizations, and government offices while earning academic credit.


    Students must meet all Externship Program eligibility requirements and obtain CPT authorization prior to beginning an externship. CPT requires enrollment in F-1 status on a full-time, in-person basis for one full academic year—both the fall and winter semesters at Detroit Mercy Law.


    1. Confirm eligibility for externship program.
    2. Reach out to CSO for support with applications and interviewing.
    3. Notify Director Simkins-Nowak immediately upon receiving an offer to confirm approval of the placement and eligibility prior to formally accepting (students may accept pending approval).


    After your placement is approved, Director Iacoban will authorize your practical training in SEVIS and provide you with an updated I-20 that includes the dates you are authorized for your practical training.

    You must receive your updated I-20 prior to beginning the training experience. You cannot begin before the start date listed on your I-20 and you cannot continue after the end date. Externships cannot begin before the first day of classes and must end by the last day of the term for which your CPT was granted.

    Detroit Mercy Law will authorize international students enrolled full-time for part-time CPT (20 hours per week or less). Please note Dual JD students are enrolled full-time during the summer following their first year. Students with 12 months or more of full-time CPT, are ineligible for OPT (part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT).


    When crossing the border, students should be specific.  For example, state, “I am crossing for practical training/CPT,” instead of, “I am crossing for employment/work.”


    Externship eligibility: Director Simkins-Nowak, | 313-596-9409

    CPT: Director Iacoban, | 313-596-0223

    Best practices for applying/interviewing for an externship: Career Services Office, | 313-596-0223


    Work for Pay with OPT

    Coming Soon

    Additional Resources

Contact the DSO Team

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University Information & Resources

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