Completing Your Academic Program

As you plan your transition from your academic program, it's important to manage your immigration status. Your post-completion plans will determine what you must do to maintain legal status in the United States.

As an F-1 or J-1 student, you have some decisions to make and possibly action items to complete to maintain your status.

Before Graduation

  1. If you have taken the majority of your classes and you do not have a full course of study in your last semester, you will need to apply for a reduced course load with the OISS before classes begin.
  2. If you would like to take advantage of your Optional Practical Training (OPT: one year of authorized work) after graduation, you must apply for it with the OISS 90 days before your program end date.
  3. If you have not finished the coursework necessary to graduate and you need to extend your I-20; you must apply for an I-20 extension with the OISS no later than one month before your I-20's program end date.

After Graduation

Your 60 day grace period begins the day after the program end date on your current I-20. During the 60 days following your program completion you will need to do one of the following:

Begin Your OPT
Your OPT start date must be within your 60 day grace period, otherwise you will be considered out of status.
Transfer to Another Institution

In order to transfer to another institution you must:

  • Apply to the new institution and be accepted as a student
  • When you have been accepted you should receive a Transfer Verification Form from the new institution
  • Bring you Acceptance Letter and Transfer Verification Form to Grand View's OISS to be filled out by a designated school official (DSO) (the DSO will then complete the form and return it to the new institution. Your SEVIS record will be transferred to the new institution after the completion of your program at Grand View University)
  • Begin studying at the new institution within 5 months of your transfer

Note: if you would like to return home between your program completion at Grand View and beginning your new program, notify the new institution of your plans so they can either have your 'transfer pending' I-20 ready before you leave, or they can mail it to your home country address.

Return to Your Home Country With No Plans to Return on the Same F-1 Visa
If you choose to return to your home country after your program completion, your SEVIS record will automatically 'complete' and no further steps will need to be taken. If you choose to return to the U.S. later, you will need to apply for a new visa.