F-1 Grace Periods
 

 


  
  1. New F-1 students may be admitted to the United States up to 30 days before the "report date" or "program start date" indicated on Form I-20.
  2. An F-1 student may remain in the United States for up to 60 days beyond:
    • the completion of the program of study; and
    • the completion date of any authorized post-completion optional practical training
  3. An F-1 student who has been granted an authorized early withdrawal by a DSO may remain in the United States for up to 15 days following the withdrawal noted in SEVIS, to prepare to depart the United. 
  
30-day admissions with Form I-515A

 
An F-1 student admitted with Form I-515A is admitted in F-1 status only for a 30-day period, not for duration of status (D/S). To convert the admission to D/S, the student must submit the required documents to SEVP, before the 30-day expiration date recorded on Form I-94.
Go to: Study in the States - What is a Form I-515A? for detailed information.
 

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.
 
Preparing for departure during the F-1 grace period
If a student is planning to depart the United States after completing a program of study or post-completion OPT, he or she is required to do nothing more than depart the United States within the 60-day period.
 
Transfers to another school to begin a new program
 
The transfer-out action must be initiated in SEVIS before the completion of the 60-day grace period, and the student must start attending classes within five months of the last day he or she attended classes (or the end date of post-completion OPT) or the next available session, whichever comes sooner.
Change of nonimmigrant status
The 60-day grace period following completion of a course of study can also be used to apply for a change of status. 
As with any change of status, however, the requested start date of the new status being requested must be no later than the end of the F-1 student's 60-day grace period.
Applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) during the F-1 grace period
 
The 60-day period following the completion of studies can also be used to file an application for standard post-completion optional practical training (OPT).  The 60-day period following the completion of studies can also be used to file an application for standard post-completion optional practical training (OPT).  The OPT application must be received by USCIS within 60 days from the program end date.
 
Travel during the F-1 grace period 
 
The 60-day period cannot be used to reenter the U.S. as an F-1 student after travel abroad.
 
On-campus employment after completing a course of study
 
A student may not engage in on-campus employment during the 60-day grace period following the completion of a course of study or thereafter.
If a student will choose to use OPT to work in his/her field at the school where he/she pursued his/her educational objective, the source of the student's work authorization in that case is OPT although the services in fact are performed "on campus."
 
 
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.