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  • F-1 Students: Important Reminders when Graduating

    Download this as a handout here.

    J-1 students who are graduating click here.




    Apply for Work Authorization EARLY!!!

    In order to use the Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment benefit of F-1 status, the immigration service must RECEIVE your application NO LATER than 60 days after the end date of your status (your status ends on your date of graduation or last day as a registered student--whichever is earlier). Click here to read more about OPT. Once you apply for OPT, the documents required for re-entering the U.S. are slightly different than while you are in school.


    60 Day Grace Period to Remain in the U.S.
    but CANNOT Re-Enter

    As an F-1 student, you have a 60 day grace period after your date of graduation or last day as a registered student (whichever is earlier). During that grace period, you may remain in the U.S. but you may NOT re-enter the U.S. in F-1 Status. If you are not going to remain in the U.S. for work or another degree program and only need to re-enter the U.S. to pick up your belongings, speak to an advisor at the ISSO about the possibility of entering the U.S. in tourist status.


    Continuing at Cornell in a New Degree program

    Change of Level or Program Application Form

    If you are planning to begin a new degree program at Cornell after you graduate from one program, you MUST have a new I-20 issued for the new program no later than the end of the 60 day grace period. In order to get your new I-20, you must complete the following steps:

    Unfortunately, if the new I-20 is not issued by the end of your 60 day grace period, you will be out of status.


    Transferring to a different school for another program

    If you are planning to begin a new degree program at another U.S. college or university after graduating, you MUST contact the ISSO and let us know which school you will be attending no later than the end of your 60 day grace period. We will enter the information for your planned transfer to the new school into your electronic SEVIS record. We only have to enter this information by the end of your grace period, you do not have to have the new school's I-20 by that time. Read more about the transfer procedure here.

    Unfortunately, if we do not enter that information by the end of your grace period, you will be out of status.