Options for F-1 students after Graduation

Return home

  • You have 60 days from your completion date to return home.
  • Can I reenter the US during the 60 day grace period after finishing my program? NO!

Transfer to another school

  • Student wishing to continue your studies in the United States
  • Get accepted to transfer school, complete transfer form from EMU
  • Receive new SEVIS Form I-20 from transfer school
  • Attend school you are transferring too (be sure to visit their International Student Service office within 15 days of classes beginning to register)

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This is defined as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the students major area of study.”

1. Application Materials:

  • Form I-765 – application to USCIS for OPT, © (3) (i)
  • Form I-765 filing fee of $175 (checks payable to USCIS)
  • Two ADIT-style photos (front with color)
  • Copy of all prior Form I-20s
  • New endorsed SEVIS Form I-20 from Designated School Official (DSO)
  • Copy of both sides of the Form I-94
  • Copy of the ID pages from passport

2. Mail in completed application:

  • Meet with International Student Advisor to make sure all materials are present.
  • Your International Student Advisor will enter request for OPT in SEVIS and print new Form I-20 which is to be signed and mailed with application materials.
  • Application must be received by USCIS before completion date on Form I-20 and OPT must start before 60 days after completion date.
  • The earliest you can apply for OPT is 120 days before your intended start date.

3. Once OPT is accepted:

You will receive your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) which allows you to work in the US. You are allowed to work only after your start date on the EAD and when you receive your EAD. Working before you receive your EAD will cause your Form I-20 to be terminated. Please do not lose this card; you will need it for your employer.

4. Address changes:

Address changes need to communicate to the International Student Advisor within 10 days. Contact information at or (540) 432-4459 or Student Life Suits in University Commons.

5. Travel: before traveling please contact the International Student Advisor

  • Can I reenter if my request for OPT is pending? Yes
  • Can I reenter if I left while on OPT?
    -If your OPT has been approved and you depart before you get a job, your OPT ends and you cannot reenter
    -If you have a job, you may travel and reenter to resume work at the same job.