International Student Services

November 19, 2019

Autumn Grads: Travel Rules After Graduation

The I-20 expiration date is just an estimate. If you graduate earlier than your I-20 end date, your F-1 status in the U.S. ends earlier.

The travel rules change when you graduate. The travel rules after graduation depend on whether you apply for OPT.

Students who do not apply for OPT:

If you graduate autumn quarter, you cannot use your I-20 to reenter the U.S. after December 13, 2019. This includes returning from trips to Canada and Mexico.

Starting December 14, 2019, you have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. The grace period is meant for travel within the U.S. and preparation to depart the U.S.

If you travel to Canada or Mexico and plan to reenter the U.S. for your final flight home, you must enter the U.S. as a tourist. Review the instructions and visa requirements for entry to the U.S. as a tourist.

Sometimes students encounter delays and problems at the U.S. border when trying to reenter the U.S. as a tourist immediately after completing studies in F-1 status. It is impossible to predict the questions/actions of a border official, so you will need to evaluate your comfort level with this situation.

Students who apply for OPT:

The travel rules after graduation in this situation depend on several factors: the status of your OPT application and whether you have a job/training offer. For more information, please see the “Travel and OPT” guidelines.