Your Final Term

Grace Period

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Leave the U.S. before your grace period expires

The grace period allows you to remain in the U.S. past your program end date to get ready to leave or to travel within the States. You may not engage in any form of employment during your grace period

F-1 Grace Period: 60 Days* 
*Does not apply while your OPT application is pending with USCIS. You may remain in the US for as long as it takes USCIS to adjudicate your request. You will have a 60-day grace period after your authorized OPT expires.
J-1 Grace Period: 30 Days*
*Does not apply if you have applied for J-1 Academic Training. You will have 30 days after your Academic Training expires to prepare for departure.

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Returning to the U.S.

If you are have not applied for F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training, you cannot return to the U.S. in F or J status status during the grace period. 

If you need to return during the grace period, you may be able to return as a visitor in B-1/B-2 status or under ESTA.

Final Term Timelines

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Let us know if you will be graduating earlier than the program end date on your I-20 /DS-2019

We need to update your record and you need to be aware of deadlines.

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Need more time to complete your program?

Follow the instructions at Extending Your Current Program before your current I-20/DS-2019 expires.

Staying in the U.S.

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Extending: Starting a new academic program at Columbia

Extend your F-1 or J-1 status by applying for a new I-20/DS-2019 for the new program before the end of your grace period. Follow the instructions at Beginning a New Program.

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Working in your field of study after graduation

Learn about getting employment authorization in your field of study 

Inviting Friends & Family to Graduation

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Leaving on-campus residence hall

Everything you need to know in one place!

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Leaving a Columbia residential apartment

Don't forget to clean and have your mail forwarded!

Filing Tax Forms After You Leave

You can continue to use Sprintax tax preparation software for nonresident tax returns as an alum. Check our tax pages in late February/early March for information.

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Did you work in the past year?

If you worked in the past year, give your address to your department or payroll (and any other employers) to get the W-2 that you’ll need to file your tax return. We recommend you arrange for an electronic copy of the W-2. Check this list of Year End Tax Reporting Documents to see if there is anything else to follow up on.

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Did you receive a stipend or travel grant from Columbia?

If you received a fellowship/scholarship stipend or travel grant from Columbia, learn about the 1042-S form you should receive by March 15th next year. Contact the Human Resources Service Center by submitting this ServiceNow Form or by calling the HR Service Center at 212-851-2888.

Staying Connected to Columbia

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Columbia Alumni Association

Join the Columbia Alumni Association for social and networking opportunities in NYC and around the world! 

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Request official transcripts

It may be advantageous to get extras while you are still in the United States.

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Columbia library for life!

Alumni enjoy free lifetime access. Learn more at

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Clear your account

Clear your student account and return library books so your diploma and transcripts can be released and you don’t accrue late fees.