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Students: Understand your Post-completion Grace Period

July 18, 2019

Upon completion of your program of study at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school and any authorized period of practical training, you have a grace period during which you can stay in the United States. The length of your grace period depends on your visa type.

  • F-1 visa holders have 60 days after their program end date to leave the United States. For F-1 students who participate in post-completion optional practical training, they have 60 days after their employment ends to depart.
  • M-1 visa holders have 30 days after their program end date to leave the United States. M-1 students who participate in practical training have 30 days after their EAD expires to depart.

Your program end date is the official date listed on your current Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” The latest date you may remain in the United States is the “admit until” date on your Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” unless you have filed for an extension or practical training benefits with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

You may not depart and return to the United States during your grace period. If you depart the United States before the end of your grace period, the rest of the grace period is lost.

If you do not complete your program of study or do not maintain your F-1 or M-1 status, you may not receive the full grace period. Ask your designated school official (DSO) for guidance on how soon you must depart the United States.

If you fail to depart during your post-completion grace period, this could adversely impact your ability to re-enter the United States under a different nonimmigrant or immigrant classification in the future.

If you wish to extend your stay in the United States, talk with your DSO to learn more about the following options:

  • Transfer to another school and begin a new program of study.
  • Change your education level (for example, bachelor’s to master’s degree).
  • Change your status to another visa status if eligible.

For additional information and resources on how to maintain your status, visit the Maintaining Status page. For case-specific questions, please contact the SEVP Response Center.

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