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Immigration and Status Reminders for Graduates

If you are graduating in spring 2015—congratulations! F-1 students have a 60-day grace period and J-1 students have a 30-day grace period from the date they complete their programs this summer. During this time such students may transfer, depart the United States, change their status, or apply/start OPT or Academic Training. 

Applying for OPT

If you would like to apply for OPT and have not yet submitted your application, please turn in the required documents to the International Center (IC) to allow time for processing. For details on how to apply, please see the OPT Tutorial on the IC website.

The IC's processing time is approximately three weeks. The processing time from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receipt notice date until your EAD arrives is currently three months (see for details). Apply as soon as you are certain that you will complete your program in spring 2015.

OPT processing and mailing rules

  • Complete the OPT Tutorial on the IC website.
  • You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT; in fact, waiting for a job offer can cause your start date to be delayed due to processing times.
  • Your OPT application may not reach USCIS more than 90 days before the program end date listed on your OPT I-20.
  • Your OPT STEM application may not reach USCIS more than 90 days before the OPT expiration date listed on your EAD.
  • Your OPT or OPT extension must reach USCIS no more than 30 days after your OPT request is listed in the SEVIS system. This is the date that the IC advisor signed your I-20 when you first applied for OPT. You must review the reminder handout provided with your OPT application for the exact timeframe the OPT must reach USCIS.

If you disregard these timelines, your OPT/Extension application may be denied or delayed and you will  receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS.

If you will complete your program during the summer 2015 term, you may apply based on the last day of registration. Please see above concerning OPT processing times and mailing rules for spring program end dates.

Academic Training 

J-1 students sponsored by IIT may be eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization—Academic Training (AT). AT must be in the field of study indicated on the DS-2019 form. A written job office is required in order to apply. For further instructions click here.

Transferring Out 

If you would like to start a program at another U.S. school, please see the transfer-out handout on the IC website. An admission letter and the IC transfer-out request form are required.

Program Extension

Please check the end date on your I-20/DS-2019. If you do not think that you have the required GPA or have reason to believe you will not graduate on time, you should apply for a program extension with the IC to ensure that you do not fall out of status. For more information click here.

If you do not graduate and do not apply for a program extension before your program end date, you will be out of status. If you have any questions, please contact an International Center student advisor during walk-in advising hours.