Travel during the grace period
If you do not plan to use your post-completion Optional Practical Training or your Academic Training, traveling outside of the U.S. after graduation is not possible. If you are an F-1 student, you are given a 60-day grace period after completing your degree, and if you are J-1 student you are given a 30-day grace period. This period of time is meant for you to make plans to leave the U.S. You can travel within the U.S., but if you leave and re-enter, you may not return as an F-1 or J-1 student. Speak to an OGS advisor if you have further questions.
Travel While on OPT or Academic Training
If you plan to leave the U.S. and re-enter while on post-completion Optional Practical Training (for F-1 students) or Academic Training (for J-1 students), you will need the following documents:
- an unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future
- a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (if your visa has expired you MUST apply for a new visa prior to re-entering the U.S.)
- an I-20 or DS-2019 that has been signed for travel by an OGS advisor; note that F-1 students should have their I-20s signed every six months instead of every year while on post-completion Optional Practical Training
- an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the USCIS for F-1 students on practical training; or an employment authorization letter issued by the OGS for J-1 students on academic training
- F-1 students : Obtain a letter from your employer stating your job title, job description, begin and end dates (must fall within the practical training period), and verifying that your employer knows you are traveling and expects you to return to complete your job. If you do not have a job, you are advised not to travel as you may not be permitted to re-enter the U.S.
- J-1 students : Obtain a letter from your employer stating your job title, job description, begin and end dates, and verifying that your employer knows you are traveling and expects you to return to complete your job.