Completing Your Study at SF State

Congratulations!  You are graduating!  Here are the things you need to do/know before departing the U.S.:

Academics Considerations

  • Undergraduate Students go through your Major Academic Advising Centers: review your major/ minor / general education (GE) and GPA requirements
  • Graduate Students go through your Graduate Advisor: review major and GPA requirements  

F-1 Status Considerations

You are eligible for a 60-day grace period starting from the “Grades Available on SF State Gatewaydate posted on the Registrar's website.  This does not apply if you have applied for OPT, see “What can I do during the 60-day grace period- If you have applied or will apply for OPT” information below.

If you have applied or will apply for OPT:

  1. Once you apply for OPT, you may stay in the U.S. on "Pending OPT" status as long as your case is pending. Once your OPT is approved, you may stay in the U.S. on "Approved" OPT status. You are not using your 60 day grace period in this case. OIP Recommends students to apply for OPT 3 months before the “Grades Available on SF State Gateway date.
  2. Please follow the OPT website for application deadlines. Review all of the information to learn about the process time, unemployment days, how to choose your start date, and what documents to submit to OIP.
  3. If you are interested in OPT and travelling after graduation, talk to an F-1 international student advisor before booking your flights. See the Travel While on Post-Completion OPT information.

If you plan to pursue another academic program in the U.S. right after graduating from SF State

  1. If you wish to attend another academic program in the U.S., you must contact OIP and request your SEVIS record to be released to your new school within your 60 day grace period.  There is no exception.  Please follow I-20 Transfer Procedures so OIP can release your SEVIS record to your new school. 
  2. If you plan to transfer to another academic program here at SF State you will have to receive an I-20 with your new academic program.  Contact OIP and complete a Change Degree Level form. 

If you will not apply for OPT and/or transfer to another school

  1. You will not need to do anything regarding your F-1 status.  You should plan to leave the U.S. before your 60-day grace period ends. 
  2. Your SEVIS record/your I-20 will automatically change from “Active” status to “Completed” status upon the end of your 60-day grace period. 
  3. You are not allowed to work or take a course if you are not on OPT or not transferring to another school 
  • You are allowed to work on-campus up to the “Semester End Date” posted on the Academic Calendar for the semester you are graduating. No exceptions even if you have applied for OPT.
  • You are not allowed to work for during Summer after graduating in the Spring due to immigration restrictions. Domestic students are allowed to work during the summer after graduation, but F-1 international students may not due to immigration restrictions. Your on-campus employer may not be aware of this restriction for F-1 international students, please let your on-campus employer know about this immigration restriction for F-1 students. 

Before you travel

  • Decide if you are interested in applying for OPT. You must apply for OPT before you leave the country on your 60-day grace period.
  • If you will leave the U.S, book your flight back home early, so you have a deadline of when you must leave. We recommend students to not wait until the very last day to fly home. If there are any flight delays due to weather or other reasons, your F-1 records will automatically complete and you will not have a valid F-1 status to stay in the U.S.
  • Check to make sure your Passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your desired travel date. You might not be able to board the plane if you do not have a valid passport.

Travel within the U.S. during your 60 day grace period

  • F-1 International Students are allowed to travel within the U.S. during their grace period. You do not need a signature on your I-20 to travel domestically.
  • Depending on where your future takes you, it may be a little while before you will return to SF State, San Francisco, or the Bay Area. Re-visit some of the places you will miss! Also, take advantage of your free time and visit the different cities in the U.S. that you have always wanted to see!

Travel outside of the U.S. during your 60 day grace period

  • If you leave the country within your 60 day grace period, your SEVIS record will be automatically completed, and you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. on your I-20.
    • For example, Alice’s program ends on June 3, and her 60-day grace period will begin on June 4. Alice has decided to go to Canada for a week (June 15 to June 25) and wants to return to the U.S. to move out of her apartment by June 30, her housing lease end date. If Alice leaves the country on June 15, she will not be able to return to the U.S. on June 26 after her trip to Canada, because she left the country during her grace period.
  • If you are interested in OPT and travelling after graduation, talk to an F-1 international student advisor before booking your flights.

Other Considerations

  • Did you know? You have access to Career Services & Leadership Development (CSLD) resources as an alumni!
  • If you are interested in OPT, it is time to apply for OPT and find a job, visit the Career Services & Leadership Development (CSLD) for more information on Resume, Cover letter, Interview Skills, Networking, Salary Negotiations, etc. 
  • If you will not be applying for OPT and will return to your home country for employment, we highly recommend you to write down the highlights and key challenges that you have experienced during your time in the U.S, and how you overcame them. Use these stories to help you stand out among your peers during interviews back home!

Pay Your School Bills

  • Pay any outstanding campus financial obligations such as tuition, housing fees and library fines. Pay parking fines if you receive tickets. Log on to SF State Gateway and see if you need to pay anything before you leave.

Banking

  • If you have opened up a bank account in the U.S. and you do not plan to keep it, make sure to communicate with your bank to close your account and transfer your money.

Phone bills

  • If you have a U.S. phone number with a U.S. phone carrier, make sure to cancel your plan in order to avoid being charged for the number. If you would like to keep the number, explore options to keep it, such as transferring it to an online phone number.

Utilities/Other

  • If you have your name on any utility or other bills (such as water, electric, internet, etc), make sure to end it or transfer it to your roommates, so you are not going to be liable for the charges.

Furniture, car, clothes, other personal belongings

  • Figure out what items you would like to sell or ship to your home country.

Books & school work

  • Reach out to your friends and classmates to see if you can sell some of your books. SF State bookstore may buy back some of the books.
  • Note that some Graduate Programs ask for writing samples, if you are interested in graduate school, you may consider keeping copies of some of your school work for reference.

Move Out Notice

  • If your lease is ending and/or if you are not on a lease, you will need to consider when is the best time to tell your landlord that you are moving out.

Final Walk-Through

  • If you live off campus you probably paid a security deposition to your landlord to cover any damage done to your apartment. A walk-through will help you and your landlord agree on if your landlord should keep any of your security deposit.

Friends

  • Your friend may stay in the U.S. or leave and return to their home countries, you will have personal and professional connections all over the world if you maintain these bridges. Take time to reach out to people and connect with each other.

Other SF State Students

  • Just because you did not connect during your studies, does not mean you cannot afterwards, the SF State Alumni network is available for you to keep in touch with the university and people
  • Did you receive help from someone else when you were at SF State? Are you hoping to give back and be the help you wanted as a student? Gator Connect is an online platform that connects alumni with current students to have career conversations and build professional networks.

Faculty / Staff

  • Your friend may stay in the U.S. or leave and return to their home countries, you will have personal and professional connections all over the world if you maintain these bridges. Take time to reach out to people and connect with each other.
  • Take time to reflect on if any faculty or staff made an impact in your educational journey, either professional, academic, or personal. Reach out to these people to let them know. It is nice to feel appreciated and it is nice to keep a connection, so if you ever need an academic reference for graduate school, you already have some people in mind.

 

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things

Henry Miller, American writer

Last updated: April 2020