Find here information on how to ensure you can stay in the U.S., plus information on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

How to Maintain Your Status


During your POST-completion OPT period (Including STEM OPT) ALL students on OPT are required by law to report their address and employment information to the OISS  within 10 days of any change. Please fill out the appropriate reporting forms to update our office regarding your employment.

If you have not reported an employer within 90 days of the start date of your approved OPT, your F-1 status will be automatically TERMINATED in the SEVIS system and you will lose your F-1 status and OPT! 



Employment must be directly related to your field of study and includes volunteer work and internships.

Total employment must equal at least 20 hours per week (you are allowed to have more than one job, as long as all of the jobs are related to your field of study)!  Keep records of each employment.

Students on post-completion OPT may NOT accrue more than 90 days of unemployment during the 12-month period of OPT (indicated on the EAD card). These 90 days include weekends, and the time starts accruing the date your OPT starts. 

You MUST report if you change your visa status (ex. H1B) or decide to leave the U.S. and not use your OPT. If you have not reported an employer and do not report your change in status or departure you will have a “failure to report employer” termination permanently on your immigration record!





EXTENDING YOUR I-20 (F-1) OR DS-2019 (J-1)


You MUST request your I-20 or DS-2019 extension with the Office of International Students and Scholars PRIOR to the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019 form or you will lose your immigration status!

If you do not complete your educational program within the time period indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019 form,  you are required to file a program extension with the OISS PRIOR to the expiration of your immigration form. You must demonstrate that you are currently a full-time student in good standing and have a legitimate academic reason for the delay such as a change in major or research topic or unexpected research problems.

In order to extend your I-20 or DS-2019 form you will need to submit the following:

  • Email or letter from your department chair, faculty advisor, or Dean of your school which states that you are a full time student in good standing, your new expected graduate date and the valid academic reason(s) for your delay.  If your department is providing funding they should include this in the email/letter. Your completion date is your graduation date (unless you are finishing in the summer session in which case it is the end date of your summer session). Dissertation/thesis students: Your completion date will be your defense date including any revisions. If you defend in the middle of the semester and have a assistantship in your department, your completion date will be the end of the semester.
  • Proof of finances for the amount of time you will be extending. Living expenses are set at approximately $2000 per month. Cost per credit for the credits you have remaining should be found on your student account or ask the OISS. Documents can be submitted by email or in person at the OISS. It will take 1-2 weeks for your form to be extended and you will receive an email from the OISS when it is ready.

What if my visa in my passport has expired?

Your visa in your passport is an ENTRY permit. You are allowed to stay in the U.S. if your visa has expired, however the next time you leave the U.S. (with the exception of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean) you must go to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad to apply for a new visa. For more information, please visit OISS.

Grace Period After Completion of Studies

As an F-1 student you are allowed 60 days to remain in the United States after your completion of studies date. J-1 students and scholars are allowed 30 days. During this time you are no longer allowed to work, study or re-enter the US. Note that the 30 or 60 day period is from the day that you complete your studies, NOT necessarily the expiration of your I-20 or DS 2019 form if you have finished earlier than your form indicates.  If you have applied for F-1 Optional Practical Training you can remain in the U.S. while your OPT is pending or until the start date of your OPT.


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical training is employment directly related to your major(s). It is authorized by the Immigration Service as part of your F-1 visa status.  


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular practical training (CPT) authorization allows students to take part in paid or un-paid off-campus training (such as temporary employment, internship, practicum, field work, clinical) which is directly related to their major and required AND/OR for credit towards their degree program.  Upon approval of CPT, students will be issued a new I-20 form with a CPT authorization on page 2.