Your Final Term

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! There are a lot of things to think about and to do as you finish up the last semester of your program.

If you will be graduating earlier than the program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019...

We need to update your completion date in your SEVIS record and ISSO record and issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019. This will help you get timely information about deadlines to protect your immigration status. 

You are allowed to be less than full-time in the final term of your degree program, but if we don't know it's your last term, your under-enrollment will be seen as a violation of your status. Please keep us informed!

Leave the U.S. before your grace period expires at the end of your program.

Once you have completed your studies and any authorized post-graduation employment under F-1 or J-1 status, you have an additional grace period that allows you to remain in the U.S. to get ready to leave or to travel within the States.

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

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

Information on Transferring, Extending, or Working in the U.S.

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Extend your F-1 or J-1 status: 

if you will be attending another academic program at Columbia. Follow the instructions at Beginning a New Program, or 

if you need more time to complete your program. Follow the instructions at Extending Your Current Program

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Transfer your SEVIS record if you are going to attend another school in the U.S.
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Working in your field of study after graduation in F or J Status

Learn about:

F-1 Optional Practical Training ​​​​​​ 

J-1 Academic Training 

Tax forms after you leave Columbia

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.

If you received a stipend or travel grant from Columbia, give your address to the Human Resources Service Center to get the 1042-S form that you'll need to file your tax return.  There is no electronic version of the 1042-S.

Check our tax pages in early March to find information on filing your tax return.  As an alumnus, you can continue to use our tax preparation software.

Some Logistical Things to Consider

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Join the Columbia Alumni Association for social and networking opportunities around the world! about keeping CU email address.

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Clean your apartment, make arrangements for checkout and the return of your key money/security deposit.

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Notify utility companies (gas & electric, cable, telephone) of your departure and try to pay bills in full before you leave.

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Check the Registrar’s information for requesting official transcripts. It may be advantageous to get extras while you are still in the United States.

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

Return library books.

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Online form for change of address (to another U.S address only) from the U.S. Postal Service

Invite family and friends to graduation!

Have fun traveling and visiting friends and family in the U.S!