After the completion of your program (either graduation or exchange program), international students on F visas have several options.
If you plan to return home after graduation, you are allowed to stay in the US for an additional 60 days to prepare for departure. If you leave the US during that time and plan to re-enter, you must do so on another kind of visa.
If you plan to continue on to graduate school in the US, your SEVIS record must be transferred to the new institution within the 60 days of graduating from Occidental. You must begin classes within 5 months of the transfer. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a scan of the acceptance letter and any forms your new institution requires. For more information, please consult with IPO.
Students who have maintained status and been enrolled at Oxy for a minimum of one academic year are eligible for 12 months of paid work in the US (within the 14 months of graduation) in their field of study with IPO and USCIS approval. This is called “post completion practical training.” This allows students to get practical training in their field of study. Practical training is also available prior to graduation, although time on pre-completion practical training will be deducted from your 12 months of post completion practical training. There will be meetings at the beginning of the Spring semester explaining this process.
Applications for post completion optional training must be received by USCIS and have a start date within the 60-day grace period after graduation. After that time, it is too late to apply and you forfeit this benefit. Those who have completed at least one full academic year of study (fall and spring semesters) may begin the application process up to 90 days before you want to start working. Please plan ahead - it can take up to 90 days to receive approval. Please see IPO for details on practical training.
Get a second degree at a higher level, get another 12 months: You are eligible for an additional 12 months of practical training if you have completed a second degree at a higher level. If you got your bachelors degree, applied for and received 12 months of OPT, and then complete a masters or PhD, you are now eligible to apply for another 12 months of OPT.
There will be a meeting in the spring semester to explain the procedures for applying for OPT. For more information about OPT click here. The process for applying for OPT can take several months. Click here to see a detailed timeline.
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