Students who are graduating often have many questions about what their status will be after graduation or about what they need to consider when returning home. This list is a brief overview of what students should consider upon graduation in regards to their immigration status.

Apply for Graduation and Attending the Commencement Ceremony

Please see this page for more information on applying for graduation and commencement.

Notes: Graduation date versus program end date on your I-20/DS-2019: These dates oftentimes do not match exactly. Please remember your F-1 or J-1 program ends when you graduate, even if your F-1/J-1 program end date is in the future.

Expiration of I-20/DS-2019

F-1 Students

After graduation, F-1 students are allowed a 60-day grace period in which they can apply for OPT, get accepted to a new school and transfer your I-20 to that school, get accepted to start a new educational level at NDSU, or depart the United States.

If you remain in the U.S. past the end of your 60-day grace period or past the expiration of your I-20 without graduating, you will be out of status.

If your I-20 expires in the future, your I-20 will end for immigration purposes on the date of your graduation. For example - if your I-20 expired on 05/14/2017 but you graduated on 12/16/2016, your I-20 ends when you graduated in 2016 and is no longer valid into 2017.

If you cannot make arrangements within 60 days for the options given above, you should return to your home country. If you wish to return at a later point to NDSU or begin at a new school, you can return home and then apply for admission at NDSU or another school and re-enter later using a new I-20.

  •  F-1 students applying for OPT: Students may apply for OPT up to 3 months before graduation and up to 60 days after. OPT applications submitted more than 60 days after graduation or the expiration of your I-20 will not be accepted by USCIS. Please read our Employment pages for more information on OPT.
  • F-1 students transferring to a new school: You must request the OIP to transfer your record within 60 days after graduation and you must start school in the next available term. Please see our Transferring to Another School page for more information on the transfer process.
  • F-1 students starting a new educational level at NDSU: Within 60 days of graduation from NDSU, you must get accepted to a new program at NDSU and receive a new I-20 for that program.
J-1 Students

The 30-day grace period for J-1 students: After completion of their program, J-1 students are allowed a 30-day grace period in which they should depart the United States, unless they have applied for J-1 Academic Training.

If you remain in the U.S. past the end of your 30-day grace period or past the expiration of your DS-2019 without completing your program, you will be out of status.


Checking out of your Campus Housing

Please contact your RA, Hall Director, or the main Residence Life office in Bison Court West if you have any questions about the procedures to follow.

Important Residence Life dates/deadlines to follow can be found here:

Some students return home and then find out they have a charge on their account, but thought their bill was paid. Sometimes, you may be charged for room damages or a lost key. If you see any charges on your account after you leave Fargo, and you have questions about it, please contact Residence Life for more information on the reason for the charge, and pay your bill as soon as possible.

Update NDSU with your New Address

Be sure to update your address when you graduate, and keep your address updated. Click here to update your contact information in CampusConnection.

If you are in F-1 status and on OPT, or J-1 status and on academic training after you graduate, you must still update the ISSAS office with your new address, within 10 days of any change. Update your address by visiting the menu on the left under "Current International Students" > Immigration > Information for All International Students > Update your Address. The information you submit through this survey will be sent to your international student advisor so that we can make any necessary updates in SEVIS.

Pay any NDSU Account Balance in Full

If you do not pay your bill in full, your account can be sent to collections. Also, owing even a small past due balance on your NDSU account will prevent you from obtaining your NDSU transcript. Please pay your NDSU account in full as soon as possible upon leaving the university. Click here for more information on payments at NDSU:

Pack your Digital Suitcase

Click here for more information from NDSU's Information Technology (IT) Division on how to pack your "digital suitcase" upon leaving NDSU.

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