IMMIGRATION INFORMATION FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS
Application forms and related information for SEVIS Form I-20 for F1 Visa students are available through the University International Services Office at www.udmercy.edu/ISO. The Assistant Dean and Registrar, Loretta Lewins-Peck, is the School’s Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and the Designated School Official (DSO) is Director Jennifer Henderson with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The PDSO or DSO can sign or re-issue SEVIS Form I-20s. The PDSO or DSO signature on every F-1 student’s Form I-20 is valid for one year from the last time it was signed by the PDSO or DSO. Therefore, it is highly recommended that F-1 students pay close attention to the PDSO’s or DSO’s signature date on page 3 of their Form I-20. If the signature date is close to expiring, please stop by the Student Service Center, room 126 for another signature.
F-1 Visa students no longer enrolled in the Dual JD Degree Program or the JD/LED Program and not engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) MUST surrender their I-94 card to the US Customs Official at the US border the last time they leave the US. Please read the back of the I-94 card for detailed instructions. Failure to do this will result in problems for those individuals trying to re-enter the US.
Optional practical training (OPT) is defined in the SEVP regulations as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.” There are two types of OPT categories for law students: pre-completion and post-completion. It takes roughly 3 months for USCIS to process OPT applications. First year students are encouraged to file a Form 1-765 for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before being enrolled for one full academic year, provided that the period of employment will not start prior to the completion of the full academic year.
For post-completion OPT, the student must properly file his/her Form I-765 up to 90 days prior to his/her program end date and no later than 60 days after his/her program end date. The student must also file the Form I-765 with USCIS within 30 days of the date the PDSO enters the recommendation to OPT into his/her SEVIS record.
All completed applications for OPT must be processed through the School of Law Registrar’s Office. Detailed OPT information, application forms and application instructions can be found here.