Depending on your current immigration classification, you may be eligible to stay in the U.S. for a designated period of time after your program completion date; this is called a “grace period”. Grace periods can be helpful as they give you some extra time to prepare for the next phase of your life and to take care of certain events (e.g., transferring between schools, changing your status, starting a new appointment, or preparing to depart the US).
It’s important to know whether your immigration classification allows for a grace period, and to be mindful of when your legal status in the U.S. will end.
Classifications with a Grace Period
F-1 Student Classification
What can you do during your designated grace period
- Travel inside the U.S.
- Make preparations to depart the U.S. (ie. sell your bike, microwave, etc.)
- Transfer your SEVIS record to another school, if eligible.
- Apply for Optional Practical Training or Academic Training (for students – but if you were hoping to start working after graduation, you would really want to do this earlier!)
- Apply for a change to another immigration status, if eligible.
What you cannot do during your grace period
- You cannot continue with your studies, research or employment at BU or elsewhere –
- You cannot continue working on-campus
- You cannot work off-campus without authorization
- You cannot apply for program extension (so be sure to do this before your program end, if your plan to stay at BU)
- You cannot depart the U.S. with the intent to reenter under your completed F or J program