Once you successfully complete your program of study, you have 60 days from the end of your program to take one of the following actions:
• Depart the United States
• Initiate the SEVIS transfer to another school (read below)
• Initiate the change of level to begin a new educational program at UW Bothell
• Change non-immigration status to remain lawfully in the United States
• Receive Optional Practical Training approval from USCIS (available only to students who apply before their I-20 ends)
If you leave the United States during your “grace period” you will not be allowed to re-enter the United States. Plan your departure carefully.
Transfering Your SEVIS Record
When transferring from one school to another school within the United States, you must carefully follow certain procedures to maintain lawful F-1 status. Please note that in this context the term "transfer" means changing schools, either in the middle of a degree program or between degrees, regardless of academic level.
If you intend to transfer to another school in the U.S, you must submit your acceptance letter from the new school and a Transfer Out Request Form to ISS. Once ISS verifies your eligibility for school transfer, your SEVIS record will be released to the new school. Then the new school will issue you a new I-20.
Selecting a Transfer Date
The start date at your new school must be within 5 months of your "transfer out" date in SEVIS or your program completion, whichever is earlier. If the period of time between programs is longer than 5 months, your SEVIS record does not need to be transferred. Your new school will issue a new initial I-20 and new SEVIS number.
Employment While Transferring
You may only work on campus at the school that has access to your SEVIS record. Check with the international student advisor at your new school to verify employment eligibility.
If you are a student on Post-Completion OPT, the new program start date must be within 5 months of your SEVIS "transfer out" date or the end of the OPT authorization, whichever is earlier.
Travel While Transferring
Generally, if you will travel outside of the U.S. while transferring between schools, you must use the I-20 from your new school when you re-enter the U.S. It is important to discuss your travel plans with your current and new school so that an appropriate "transfer out" date can be coordinated.
As long as you have followed the proper transfer procedures, you will be able to use your current, unexpired visa to re-enter the U.S. even though it has your previous school name printed on it.