F-1 students may be admitted to the U.S. no more than 30 days before the “report date or program start date” indicated in SEVIS and on Form I-20.
60-day post-completion grace period
An F-1 student may remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond:
- the completion date on Form I-20, or the completion of the program of study, if earlier than the date on Form I-20
- the completion date of any authorized optional practical training following completion of studies
Activity during 60-day post-completion grace period
The regulations state that the 60-day period may be used to “prepare for departure from the U.S. or to “prepare for transfer.” Student after completing OPT cannot keep working during the 60-day grace period.
Generally, no employment is permitted during the 60-day grace period. However, see “On- campus employment after completing a course of study” section in “On-campus employment” page for a discussion of a student’s eligibility for on-campus employment during the 60-day grace period after the student has completed a course of study or term, but who has been issued a Form I-20 to begin a new program (at the same or different institution) during the next academic term.
The 60-day period cannot be used to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad. See “Re-entry to the United States” section in “Visits abroad and re-entry in F-1 status” page for a discussion.
15-day grace period after authorized and approved withdrawals
An F-1 student who has been granted an authorized withdrawal by the ISP office may remain in the U.S. for up to 15 days following the withdrawal reported in SEVIS to prepare to depart the U.S.
The regulations refer only to “preparation for departure” as an activity permissible during the 15-day period following a withdrawal authorized by the ISP office. No employment is permitted. The provision granting the 15-day period does not refer to preparation for transfer, as does the language creating the 60-day period.
Unapproved withdrawals or terminations
If a student fails to maintain status, or withdraws from school or otherwise terminates or interrupts his or her course of studies without first obtaining the ISP office approval in SEVIS, the student is not eligible for any grace period, and would be considered under the regulations to be out of status.