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Grace Periods

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Oct 25, 2019)

F-1 Students

F-1 students have 60 days after completing their studies or their post-completion OPT to leave the United States, apply for change of status, or transfer to another school.

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F-1 students who withdraw from classes altogether with the approval of their DSO, will have 15 days to leave the United States. If they withdraw without the DSO's approval, they must leave immediately.

F-1 students who transfer to a new school after completing their study program or OPT, have 60 days from their current completion date to request that their SEVIS record be transferred to their new school. However, they would have five (5) months from their current completion date to start their new program at their new school.

F-1 students who transfer to a new school in middle of a semester or session must immediately start their studies at the new school.

J-1 Exchange Scholars

J-1 scholars, who complete their program or academic training, have 30 days to leave the United States, apply for change of status. J-1 scholars who withdraw from their program must leave the United States immediately. J-1 students who wish to transfer to another school must do so before the end of the completion date of their program or academic training.  J-1 students cannot transfer during the grace period.


You cannot leave the United States and come back during the grace period.  Be careful if you are taking a trip around the country and are thinking about taking a short detour into Canada or Mexico.

If you need to reduce your course load (especially if the reduction would make you a part-time student) or if you need to completely withdraw from a semester due to medical conditions, please contact your DSO to submit the required documentation.


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