Student Visa Information

Getting Your Student Visa for Study at MSU Law

First-Time Visa Applicants

Upon admission, students will be emailed instructions on how to complete the I-20 application in the Online Application Portal.  The I-20 is essentially the invitation from MSU Law necessary to apply for an F-1 student visa. If a different type of student/scholar visa is needed, our office will work with the student so that the proper paperwork is made available.

Students will need to provide the following items to complete the I-20 application process:

  • I-20 Application - This application is found in the Online Application Portal.
  • A copy of the passport identification page
  • Proof of financial ability to pay for the program - A crucial part of acquiring an I-20 is showing that student, has adequate funding to pay for their studies.  Incoming students must show that they have funds available to afford the budget for the first year and the ability to raise the funds needed for subsequent years.
  • Sponsor Affidavit Form - If someone other than the student is paying for all or part of their costs a Sponsor Affidavit Form must be completed.  If the sponsor is a government or business,  a financial guarantee or letter affirming payment must be included.

After funding documents are submitted to MSU Law, students will receive an I-20 in the mail. Students must take the I-20 to their local consulate/embassy for an interview, at which time students will be granted or denied an F-1 student visa or asked to provide additional information.  Canadian students will not have to obtain an F-1 visa but will have to present their I-20 at the border.

Transferring an I-20 or DS-2019 or Changing a Visa Status

Students who are transferring to Michigan State University College of Law from another school in the United States (high school, community college, university, or technical school, etc.) and are seeking an I-20 or a DS-2019, please follow these steps to obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019.

1) MSU Law cannot issue an I-20 or DS-2019 until a student's current school has released his or her record in SEVIS. Students must work with their current school to ensure electronic transfer of their SEVIS record. Once that record has been electronically transferred, MSU will issue the document.

Each student and his or her current school are required to complete the Transfer-In Form in order to process his or her transfer to MSU.

2) Students who ask for an immigration document that DOES NOT correspond to their current visa status must change their visa status. ISSUING AN I-20 or a DS-2019 DOCUMENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY CHANGE STATUS TO AN F-1 or J-1 STUDENT.  For information on how to change status while in the United States, contact the SEVIS Coordinator at

3) If a student intends to travel outside the United States after he or she has transferred out of his or her current school and before he or she receives the MSU Law I-20 or DS-2019 he or she MUST re-enter the United States on the MSU Law I-20 or DS-2019. In this case, students must get in touch with the SEVIS Coordinator at to provide them with an overseas mailing address so their documents can be sent to them. MSU Law will charge students for the cost of the express mail service so please be ready to provide credit card details.

Seeking a New Visa Status

If a student's visa type is NOT currently F-1 or J-1 and he or she is asking for an I-20 or a DS-2019 to be issued, that student will need to change your visa status. REMEMBER THAT OBTAINING THE I-20 or DS-2019 is only the first step in this process, FURTHER ACTION IS NEEDED TO BECOME AN F-1 or a J-1 student. Please consult the College of Law SEVIS coordinator for more information by emailing