Graduation and Beyond

In Your Last Semester

  • Verify completion of academic requirements with your academic department.
  • If you are working on-campus, or off-campus with CPT, prepare to end your employment by your program completion date. Read more >>

    If you are authorized for OPT, you may begin, or resume employment, on your OPT start date as listed on your EAD. Students graduating in absentia, or based on dissertation/thesis defense may consult with an ISSO advisor regarding when to end employment.

    Graduating Semester Last day of CPT or On-Campus Employment
    Spring 2016 5/9/2016
    Summer 2016 8/10/2016
    Fall 2016 12/15/2016
    << Read less
  • Apply for graduation.
  • Applying for graduation has the following potential immigration consequences:
    • Your immigration program completion date for the degree and major on your I-20 will be the last day of final exams unless you notify ISSO that you will be completing your program based of thesis/dissertation requirements. If the graduation application is for a major and/or degree that is different from what is on your I-20, please contact ISSO so that we may advise you on how to maintain your F-1 immigration status.

    • You may be eligible to apply for post-completion OPT based on the completion of your studies. Visit for links to forms, workshop dates and additional information.

    • You may not work on-campus as an on-campus student employee, or as a TA/RA, or off-campus based on CPT authorization after your program completion date.

    • If you do not apply for OPT, your electronic SEVIS record will be shortened to reflect the last day soon after the end of your final semester. If you are concerned that you may not graduate, or learn that you did not graduate, contact ISSO for advising in order to maintain your F-1 status. 
      << Read less
  • Use the invitation letter template from the ISSO to create your own invitation letters to use in the tourist visa process if you wish to invite friends or family to come to the U.S. to attend your graduation ceremony.
  • If you will remain in the U.S. after graduation, make appropriate preparations, such as applying for OPT.

After Graduation

Congratulations on completing your degree program! You have the following options after graduation:

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    Up to one year of work authorization per educational level. You can apply up to three months prior to your program completion date and up to 60 days after. USCIS must receive your OPT application on or before the 60th day. USCIS processing time is 2-3 months.

    << Read less
  • Start or continue another academic program

    at UT Dallas – Obtain a new Form I-20 within 60 days of your program completion date. You must start classes in the new program within five months of your program completion date.

    << Read less
  • Transfer out to another school

    Arrange for your SEVIS immigration record to be released to the new school within 60 days of your program completion date. You will also want to check with an international student advisor at the new school to determine if a transfer clearance form is required.

    << Read less
  • Change to another visa category

    Your F-1 status remains valid for 60 days after the I-20 program completion date. If you will apply for a change of status while remaining in the U.S., your petition must be filed by the 60th day to avoid any gap in status. Seek legal advice to assist you with your change of status.

    << Read less
  • Leave the U.S.

    Leave within 60 days of your program completion date if you do not wish to pursue the options.

    << Read less

Maintain Copies of Your F-1 Immigration Documents

The ISSO offers a courtesy service for UTD students and alumni who need copies of immigration documents that the ISSO has on file.

  • Submit the Immigration Document Copy Request by email to or in person to request the document copies
  • Processing time is 3 business days
  • Collect the documents or arrange to have them mailed. Due to security and privacy concerns, ISSO will not scan and email the documents Read more >>

    You have two options to obtain your endorsed I-20:

    • Pick it up in person or e-mail to authorize a friend to pick it up next business day. Provide their full name. You or your authorized person must bring a photo ID.
    • Request it be mailed to you:
      << Read less

Remember, maintaining copies of all your immigration documents is your individual responsibility.

Alumni Relations

Whether you are remaining in the U.S. or returning home, you can connect with other UT Dallas graduates. Talk to the Alumni Relations office about benefits, campus news and ways you can contribute.