Skip to main content

Graduating Student Frequently Asked Questions

  • Congratulations! We are proud of you and all you have accomplished. We know you will go on to do great things. Please see our international student graduation checklist for a list of final semester reminders and requirements.
  • First, you will need to have an offer of acceptance from your graduate school of choice. You will also need to ensure you have adequate funding for whichever program you intend to complete. Some graduate programs require a financial affidavit to show proof of funding, etc. Once you have these details finalized, you can fill out the transfer out from to request that your ISS advisor transfer your SEVIS record to your school of choice.
  • For J-1 students, you are required to leave the country within 30 days following your program end date. For F-1 students, you are required to leave the country within 60 days of your program end date. Note that if you were approved for academic training or optional practical training, that this date will be extended to accommodate for your training time. However, for graduated F students, if your optional practical training was denied by USCIS for any reason, you are required to exit the country immediately. If you stay past the 30 and 60 day grace periods, respectively, you will accrue unlawful presence, which may have a negative effect on your future ability to enter the U.S. for any other purpose.

    Upon completing your program, you may work with ISS and Travel Services to claim your IPF and work out flight details.
  • If you plan to travel home soon, you may claim your IPF by filling out a Travel Request Form and sending it to our office. We will then create a voucher and you will work with Travel Services about any flight details. The IPF is used to cover the airfare for your return home and is non-refundable, unless you never attend the university.
    • Training must relate directly to your major.
    • Training must have clear learning objectives.
    • You must have health insurance.
    • J-1: You must have an updated DS-2019 prior to AT.
    • F-1: You must have an updated I-20 and EAD card prior to OPT. 
  • Academic training is employment training and practical experience available to J-1 students.
  • Application should be submitted to ISS least 30 days before graduation. This is to allow adequate processing time so that we can update your record prior to the end date on your DS-2019.
  • 1. Receive an offer letter.
    2. Fill out ISS J-1 AT Application.
    3. Submit it for review to your ISS advisor.
  • You will receive notice from the ISS office to pick up your approval letter and updated DS-2019. Please allow us two weeks to process your application.
  • After approval, you must start training within 30 days after graduation.

  • You can do academic training for up to 18 months total. This total includes any internship you complete prior to graduation.
  • If you feel that engaging in an alternative academic training experience would benefit you, you may apply, as you did for your original academic training, to pursue another opportunity. However, you must note that there should be no lapse in unemployment when switching over. Segments of academic training may overlap, provided they have both gone through the necessary approval process.
  • Optional opractical training is employment training and practical experience available to F-1 students.
  • Application should be mailed or submitted online to USCIS as early as 90 days before graduation up to the end of the 60-day grace period.
  • 1. Fill out the ISS F-1 OPT application. This application form has all required steps, clearly explained and outlined for your benefit and use.
    2. Fill out USCIS Application I-765 with required documents and fee ($410). This fee can be paid via money order, personal check or cashier’s check. If you wish to pay the fee via credit card, you must fill out the Form G-1450.
    3. Meet with your ISS advisor so that he or she can review and provide your OPT recommendation.
    4. Send complete I-765 to USCIS. You can either mail in your application or submit it online, depending on your preference.
  • You will first receive an I-797 receipt notice from USCIS. If you mailed in your application, you will receive an I-797 approval notice. If you applied online, you will also wait for the I-797 approval notice, but you can check online if your case status reflects “Approved”. Make sure to watch the mail for your EAD card.
  • After USCIS approval and receiving your EAD card, you must start training within 60 days after graduation.

  • You can do optional practical training for up to 12 months. This amount changes contingent upon if you completed curricular practical training prior to graduation.
  • See our exchange visitor insurance requirement page for third-party insurance information. Having insurance is a requirement of the Exchange Visitor Program. If you have specific questions, please contact our office.