Home  ⁄  Student Affairs  ⁄  International Student Services  ⁄  Current Students  ⁄  Complete or Extend Program

Complete or Extend Program

Your STU program completion date should match the end date on your I-20. If you complete your program or degree earlier than the end date shown on your I-20, you should report this information to ISSS at intlserv@stu.edu.

Departure (Grace) Periods

All F-1 students have a 60-day grace period after the completion of the program or degree.

During the grace period, students may:

  • Remain in the U.S. and prepare for departure
  • Transfer to another school or enroll in upper level degree program
  • Apply for a change of status
  • Apply for Optional Practical Training (for F-1)
  • Depart the U.S. before the end of the grace period

If you plan to apply for Optional Practical training to stay in the U.S after the grace period, please consult the ISA.

Failure to take one of the above actions is a violation of your legal status.  Immediate departure is required if you fail to maintain status by passing the grace period.

Important note: Students who travel outside the U.S. during the grace period cannot reenter the U.S. in their original F-1 status.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

If you are from one of the countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, you may be able to leave the U.S. during your grace period and re-enter in tourist status on the Visa Waiver Program without a B-1/B-2 visa. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for details.

Program Extension

Most students complete their programs in the period of time noted on their I-20 but occasionally students need an additional semester or more to complete the program. If you need additional time, you must consult your ISA as soon as you believe that you might need an extension and at least 30 days before the expiration of your I-20 to allow sufficient processing time.

If you plan to extend your program, you are required to proceed with the following steps.

  1. Complete the Program Extension Form
  2. If you are an undergraduate student, bring the form to your academic advisor. If you are a graduate student, your professor will help you. Complete the form together and obtain the required signature from your professor or academic advisor.
  3. Include proof of funding for the extension period.
  4. Submit your paperwork to the International Student Advisor during walk-in advising hours or by appointment. If your extension is approved, a new I-20 will be issued for you within 5 business days.

It is not possible to extend your stay after your I-20 expires.