Completion of Academic Program

F-1 Students
J-1 Students

After successfully completing an academic program, F-1/J-1 students are given a grace period allowing them to remain in the U.S. for a specified time after program of study, OPT or Academic Training. Travel and re-entry to the U.S. as an F-1/J-1 student during the grace period is not possible.

Please review the following guidelines regarding the grace period pertinent to F-1/J-1 student status:

F-1 Students

F-1 students have a 60-day grace period in which they are permitted to do one of the following:

  1. Begin a new program of study at USC: Students must apply to the new program, be admitted and be issued a new I-20 from the Graduate Admissions (GA) before the end of the grace period.  Proof of funding is required to issue the new I-20. Please email GA with questions on I-20 issuance. Once the student receives the new I-20, they must submit the I-20 request form indicating “validation of higher degree” and a copy of the new I-20 to OIS.
  2. Transfer to another institution: Student must apply to another institution, be admitted, have the USC I-20 records transferred out to that institution before the end of the 60 days. The start date at the transfer-in school must be within five months following the date on which I-20 is transferred out or within five months of the 60th day of grace period. To request a transfer of USC I-20 record, student will need to meet with an OIS immigration advisor and submit the SEVIS transfer out request form
  3. Apply for a change of status: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive the application to change the immigration status before the end of the grace period.
  4. Depart the U.S. before the end of the grace period

Optional Practical Training and 60-Day Grace Period

F-1 students who plan to work in the U.S. after graduation but have not yet applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) must do so immediately. The OPT application must be received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) before the end of the grace period. However, OIS recommends that students apply for OPT as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind that it takes about three months to process the OPT application and students cannot begin working until they receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. Please complete the OPT online workshop and submit the application to OIS immediately to the OIS front desk.

F-2 Dependents:

The immigration status of an F-2 is dependent upon the F-1 student and they cannot remain in the U.S. under the F-2 status after the F-1 student has departed the U.S. during the grace period.

J-1 Students

J-1 students have a 30-day grace period in which they are permitted to do one of the following:

  1. Begin a new program of study at USC: Students must apply to the new program, be admitted and be issued a new DS-2019 from the Graduate and International Admissions (GIA) before the end of the grace period. Proof of funding is required to issue the new DS-2019. Please email GIA with questions on DS-2019 issuance. Once the student receives the new DS-2019, they must submit a copy of the new DS-2019 to OIS.
  2. Transfer to another institution: Student must apply to another institution, be admitted, have the USC SEVIS records transferred out to that institution and be issued their new DS-2019 before the end of the grace period. In order to transfer out the USC SEVIS record, student will need to meet with the Exchange Visitor Program Coordinator and submit the SEVIS transfer out request form.
  3. Apply for a change of status: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive the application to change the immigration status before the end of the grace period.
  4. Depart the U.S. before the end of the grace period

Academic Training and 30-Day Grace Period

J-1 students who plan to work in the U.S. after graduation but have not yet applied for Academic Training must do so immediately. Although students are not required to begin employment right away, OIS must approve the Academic Training application before the end of the 30-day grace period. However, OIS recommends that students apply for Academic Training as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind that it takes two weeks to process the Academic Training application and students cannot begin working until they receive the new DS-2019 and written authorization from OIS. Please complete the Academic Training application and make an appointment to submit the application to OIS as soon as possible. 

J-2 Dependents:

The immigration status of a J-2 is dependent upon the J-1 student and they cannot remain in the U.S. under the J-2 status without the presence of the J-1 student.