Reminders for F-1 Students Graduating in Summer
As you near the end of your program, it is important for you to read the information below so you can understand your how program completion impacts your F-1 student status.
The end date on your I-20 is initially determined by the average length of your program but often changes during your final semester to reflect the date you will officially complete your program. Since the official BU summer graduation date has changed from September 25 to August 25, we will be adjusting I-20 end dates throughout the summer when you apply for OPT, when you apply to be part-time in your final summer semester, or, after your summer graduation is confirmed
I am graduating in summer and want to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Please note that you must be physically present inside the US in valid F-1 status and you must obtain a new I-20 with the OPT recommendation from ISSO BEFORE you can submit your OPT application to USCIS.
USCIS is currently processing OPT applications in 2 to 3 months and your OPT must be approved before you begin any work. The deadline to submit your Optional Practical Training (OPT) application to USCIS will end 60 days after your official program completion date on August 25, 2022. This means that your OPT application must arrive at USCIS on, or before October 21, 2022.
The ISSO offers a toolbox of services to help you prepare your OPT application:
- Learn more about OPT from the ISSO website
- Watch all 8 short videos to learn about the application process and what to expect
Once you ready to apply for OPT based on your August 25, 2022 graduation:
- Make sure you have been cleared to graduate by your school/college and that your expected graduation is posted as Summer 2022 in the student registration system
- Gather all of the documentation on the OPT checklist
- Obtain a new I-20 from the ISSO with the OPT recommendation
- Submit your application, fee and all supporting documentation to USCIS
To obtain the I-20 with the OPT recommendation, you can choose whether you prefer to schedule an OPT application appointment with an ISSO Advisor to review your application and request the I-20
if you are certain of the OPT start date you wish to request and, you are using the standard August 25, 2022 completion date, you can skip the advisor appointment and drop off the following documents at the front desk of the ISSO to request the I-20.
If you elect to apply for OPT without an ISSO advising appointment, you must:
- carefully review our video instructions on how to apply for OPT
- stop by the front desk of the ISSO during our normal business hours with the following documents to request the new I-20 with the OPT recommendation:
- valid passport
- passport with most recent US visa (if different from current passport)
- current I-20
- printed version of your I-94 record listing your most recent entry to the US in F-1 student status which can be retrieved and printed from the USCBP I-94 website
- completed ISSO OPT Acknowledgement Form indicating that you take responsibility for the success of your OPT application
- printed copy of the email confirmation that you have paid the $100 ISSO OPT Processing Fee
- if you are enrolled in fewer than 12 credits this summer, you must also complete and submit a the Summer Semester Verification Form to request authorization for a reduced course load during your final term
Once we review your request and confirm that you are scheduled to graduate in May, we will send you the new I-20 with the OPT recommendation to you via email in approximately one week. Please only choose this process if you will not wish to meet with an ISSO Advisor for OPT. If you drop off your OPT Application you should not make another appointment to discuss OPT with your Advisor.
OPT Drop off process disclaimers:
- Please be advised that the staff at the front desk of the ISSO will not be able to advise you on how to file your OPT application so it is critical that you review all of our OPT application videos for specific details.
- All OPT applications are the responsibility of the student applicant and are adjudicated at the discretion of USCIS
- If during review, ISSO finds your records are incomplete, we reserve the right to require an OPT advising appointment.
- Please be advised that we cannot accept drop-off requests for OPT I-20 for students not using the official 8/25/2022 date of completion. Any students with a different completion date must schedule an OPT advising appointment.
- Please be advised that we cannot accept drop-off requests for OPT I-20 via email as we must check immigration documentation.
I am graduating in summer but not planning to apply for OPT
You should take one of the following actions during the 60 day grace period after your August 25, 2022 program completion date:
- Submit a request for the ISSO to transfer your SEVIS record to another college or university if you have been admitted to a program at the new school and will start classes at the new school within 5 months of the day you last attended classes at BU.
- Inform the ISSO that you have been admitted to a new program of study at Boston University and obtain a new Form I-20 for your new program.
- Apply for a change of status to another nonimmigrant classification, if you are eligible to do so.
- Depart the U.S.
Your 60-day grace period allows you to remain in the U.S. but not to depart and reenter the U.S. in F-1 status. Once you leave the U.S. you may not return in F-1 status unless you have a new I-20 for a continued F-1 study.
As a reminder, for the entire time you remain in the U.S. in F-1 status under the sponsorship of Boston University, federal regulations require that you keep Boston University informed of your current residential address. You must do so by updating your “Immigration-U.S.” address on the Student Link within 10 days of moving.
I am NOT graduating in Summer
Check the end date of your I-20. If you will NOT complete your program of study by the program end date on your I-20, you must apply for a program extension. The extension request and all supporting documentation must be submitted to the ISSO at least two weeks in advance of the expiration of your I-20. Please refer to the ISSO web page for more information on extending your program and I-20. You should also work with your school/college to update your expected graduation date in the student registration system.
If you have any questions or wish discuss any of these options, please feel free to connect with our virtual advisor-on-call or email our team at email@example.com.