Graduation Preparation

Program completion and your F-1 status

If you are an undergraduate student, your completion date will be the last day of the term in which you complete your degree requirements (regardless of the date you actually graduate from the university).

If you are a graduate student writing a thesis or dissertation, your completion date will be the date that you submit the final draft of your thesis or dissertation (provided that you have been making average progress toward your degree completion).

Your post-completion grace period

Federal regulations provide you with a 60-day grace period that starts the day you complete your program of study.

For example, if you complete your program of study on May 4, your grace period ends on July 3 regardless of the expiration date on your I-20.

If you have not made other plans, you must depart the country by the end of your grace period.

Travel after completing your program

If you plan to travel to Canada or anywhere else outside of the United States during your grace period, OIS will not be able to sign your I-20 for travel. If you travel outside of the country, you will NOT be able to re-enter the United States as an F-1 student, because you have completed your program.

You may be able to re-enter the United States as a tourist. Discuss your plans before you travel; see an advisor during Quick Question Advising hours.

Dependent status after completing your program

If you have dependents (F-2) with you in the United States, their status is dependent upon yours. If you choose to leave the country after you complete your program of study, your family may not legally stay in the United States without you if they hold F-2 status.