Maintaining Your Status

Grace Period

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 ( login to iStart and click on the “OPT Application” E-Form under “F-1Practical Training”) or Academic Training (if applicable) 

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.

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.