The program end date on your I-20 form is meant to reflect the end of the term in which all degree program requirements have been completed. There is a chance that your I-20 form may not correctly reflect the term in which you will complete your degree requirments. It is important that you maintain awareness of your program end date and complete the necessary actions to report to OIE the term in which you will be completing your degree program.
We encourage you to review the information below to ensure you are aware of your options as you near the end of your program.
60 day Grace Period
If you expect to graduate this term and plan to depart the U.S. after finishing your program, please be aware that the U.S. government grants a 60 day grace period after your program end date. During this grace period, you are not eligible for employment and it is meant to be used to prepare your departure from the U.S. You must depart the U.S. on or before the end of your 60 day grace period to avoid visa overstay penalties. Once you depart the U.S. during the 60 day grace period, you cannot re-enter the U.S. to utilize unused time within your grace period.
1. Apply for post-completion OPT: You should submit the appropriate e-form in iStart and send your application to USCIS so that it is received by the end of your 60-day grace period. If USCIS has not received your OPT application by this date, you should depart the U.S.
OPT Hints and Tips
Find more info at oie.gatech.edu/OPT
- OPT takes about 90 days to process. Therefore, you should apply early to ensure you can begin working when you want.
- USCIS must receive your application during your 60-day grace period in order for you to be eligible for post-completion OPT. The latest possible start date that you may request is the last day of your 60-day grace period. Therefore, if you do not submit an application until the last day of your grace period and you request the last possible date to begin your employment, this means that the 90 days of unemployment will begin on this last date of your 60-day grace period. This should be incentive to submit your OPT application early!
- To submit an application, please see oie.gatech.edu/OPT to watch the tutorial and submit the appropriate e-form in iStart.
- Remember that you are no longer eligible to work on campus at GT after the last date of the semester during which you will finish your academic program unless you have your post-completion OPT EAD card.
2. Be accepted to another GT academic program: complete the Change of Level e-form in iStart.
3. Transfer your SEVIS record to another U.S. institution to begin a new academic program.
To request a SEVIS transfer
- Obtain an acceptance letter from the new institution.
- Complete the Transfer Out Request e-form in iStart. In the e-form, upload a copy of the admission letter, provide the name and SEVIS school code for the new institution and include the requested transfer release date.
- Within 5 business days, an OIE advisor will initiate the transfer. The record will not fully transfer until the transfer release date has passed.
- Begin classes at the new institution within 5 months of the transfer. Students who do not begin classes within 5 months must get a new "initial attendance" I-20 from the new institution.
Important reminders regarding choosing a transfer date:
- After the transfer release date, Georgia Tech will no longer have access to the record and cannot make any changes to the record. Any changes to the record must be made by the new institution, including transferring the record to a different school.
- Students are only eligible to work on-campus at the institution that possesses the SEVIS records.
- After the transfer date, students participating in post-completion OPT must stop off-campus employment and are only eligible to work at the new school.
- The SEVIS record must be transferred to the new school within 60 days of completing a Georgia Tech program. After the 60 day grace period, the record is no longer eligible for transfer in SEVIS.