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Completion of Studies & Graduation

Your current F-1 status is valid for the duration of your current degree program. When your studies are completed, your I-20 ends and it is no longer valid. F-1 students who are in status have a 60-day grace period following the completion of a degree program. Your advisor can help you calculate or confirm your graduation date. If your studies end earlier than the program end date on line 5 of your I-20, the date on the I-20 will be shortened to reflect your graduation date. 

All F-1 students who are in status have a 60-day grace period following the completion of a degree program (graduation). You may use this 60-day period to choose any of the options listed below: 

For each option listed below, you MUST inform your DSO, of your plans so they can provide you further details on how to proceed. To contact your DSO, please see the Office of International Programs for more information.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides one year of employment authorization in your field of study. Due to slow processing times, the Office of International Programs recommends applying approximately three months in advance.

For more information about OPT, and how to apply, please visit our Employment Information page.
If you have been admitted to another U.S. school/university to begin a new academic program, you MUST arrange for the release of your SEVIS record to your new school/university BEFORE the end of your 60 grace period. 

F-1 students may remain in the U.S. in between transferring from their current school/university to their new school/university if the SEVIS record transfer procedures are correctly followed. Students who have plans to travel internationally must keep in mind that you must enter the U.S. on the I-20 from the new school/university. It is important to discuss travel plans with the International Office at your new school/university so that an appropriate “transfer out” date and issuance of an updated I-20 can be coordinated to facilitate your travel.
If you do not apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), request a Program Extension, Transfer to another U.S. School/University, or continue with another degree program at UWA, your F-1 record will automatically complete 60 days after your Program Completion Date OR on the date you exit the U.S. (whichever comes first). 
You must complete the appropriate UWA application, be accepted into the new degree program and receive a new I-20 from the Office of International Programs BEFORE the end of your 60 day grace period. 

Please note that if you plan to travel during your 60 day grace period internationally, and will be starting a new degree program at UWA in the coming semester, you must enter the U.S. on a new I-20 that shows your new degree program. 

For questions about being readmitted to UWA to begin a new degree program as an international student, please contact the Office of International Programs.
F-1 students may apply for a change in immigration status during their 60 day grace period. Applications for Change of Status during the grace period carry a high risk of denial. It is recommended that you apply before your program completion or I-20 expiration. 

To apply for a Change of Status, please see the complete set of instructions on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services's (USCIS) website