Final Semester Considerations
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! We want to make sure you keep a few things in mind during your final semester.
In your final semester you may be enrolled in only the course(s) you need to graduate. You can enroll in less than the 12 for Undergraduate and 9 for Graduate full time enrollment if you complete and are approved for a Reduced Course Load for completion of program. You cannot be in only online course(s) during this final term.
If your final semester is summer you must be enrolled in at least one credit hour of an in-person course. Your graduating semester is not considered annual vacation like summer usually is.
Please complete our F-1/ J-1 Exit E-Form to let us know your plans and how we can stay in touch!
F-1 Students receive a 60 day grace period after completing their program while J-1 Students receive a 30 day grace period. You cannot continue on-campus employment during this time. This time can be used for the following:
- Prepare to depart the US
- Travel within the US
- Receive a Change of Level I-20 to begin a new program at USF (F-1 only/ must begin within 5 months of previous program end date)
- Transfer Out to new school (F-1 only)
- Apply for Post Completion OPT or Academic Training in iStart
During your grace period you CANNOT:
- Exit the US and reenter
- Continue any employment
- Take classes
Taking a cruise is considered exiting the United States. For this reason, you should travel with all your valid travel documents. If you go on a cruise during your 60 day grace period please be aware that you will not be allowed to re-enter as an F-1 or J-1.
You could potentially re-enter as a visitor using a B1/B2 visa or ESTA if you are from a Visa Waiver country. Please see an advisor in our office if you have questions about this.
Warning: Entering as a visitor would abandon any benefits related to your F-1 or J-1, such as OPT or starting a new degree program. If you have any concerns please make an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options.
Post Graduation Employment Options
We often host presentations by local immigration attorneys on this topic. Please check our events page to see the next available presentation.
Commencement & Sash Ceremony
If you are about to graduate and join the ranks of USF Alumni, here is a checklist of things to do to participate in commencement:
1. Submit your application to graduate before the appropriate deadline.
Information on how to apply for graduation is available from the Office of the Registrar.
International Sashes: To receive your international sash for the country you are from to be worn during the graduation ceremony, you need to make sure to apply to graduate on time. All F-1 students who apply to graduate by the deadline will receive an email from our office with instructions for placing your international flag sash order. Please direct questions about international sashes to email@example.com.
2. You must completely fill out the Commencement Registration.
3. Graduation Sash Ceremony
All international students who are registered for commencement are invited to participate in the USF International Services Graduation Sash Ceremony. This ceremony takes place the week of graduation on the Tampa Campus.