Graduating Students

Congratulations on your scholastic achievement! As you approach the completion of your degree or program, it is important to understand your options for remaining in the United States or planning for your departure.

When you complete the requirements for your degree or program, you are automatically granted a grace period (60 days for F-1 students, or 30 days for J-1 students) to remain in the United States as you plan your next steps. You may not study or work during the grace period. You can travel within the United States during this grace period; however, you cannot travel outside the Untied States and re-enter with your F-1 or J-1 visa.

Before the end of the grace period, you must do one of the following:


Apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training for F-1 students
F-1 students may apply for post-completion OPT work authorization up to 90 days before completing degree requirements.  Plan ahead and attend the mandatory Post-completion OPT workshop at the beginning of your final semester.  Please review our Optional Practical Training page for more information.


Apply for post-completion Academic Training for J-1 students
J-1 students should apply for AT before the expiration of your DS-2019 and the completion of degree requirements.  Applications should be submitted at least two weeks before your anticipated start date. Please review our Academic Training page for more information.

Request a transfer of your SEVIS record to continue your studies at another U.S. institution
Planning to continue your studies at another school within the United States?  Follow our Transfer Out procedure to maintain your legal status and request the release of your SEVIS record to your new school.


Apply for a Change of Program or Change of Degree Level to continue your studies in a new degree/program at Rutgers
If you plan to continue your studies here at Rutgers, you must receive an updated I-20/DS-2019 with the information about your new degree or program.


Apply to change your legal status (if eligible)
You are required to inform International Students and Scholars Services of any change to your legal status.  If you have an application to change your legal status pending with USCIS, please contact an international student adviser to understand how this may impact your current F-1 or J-1 status. 


Depart the United States
When you make plans to leave the United States, before the end of your grace period, you must submit a Request to Close SEVIS Record and End Rutgers’ Visa Sponsorship form to Rutgers Global–International Students and Scholar Services to ensure your SEVIS record is accurately closed.