Final Term Reminders

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

Maintaining Status

Let us know 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. 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 without permission or further action. 

If you do not need a full-time course load to complete your degree requirements, you do not need permission for a Reduced Course Load (RCL). It is not a violation of your status, but you will need to check whether your academic program has a minimum registration requirement of all its students.

Grace Period

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 departing the U.S. after you complete your program of study (without 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 during the grace period. 

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

  • 60 days for F-1
  • 30 days for J-1  

Keep in mind that 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.

Extend your F-1 or J-1 status if you: 

Transfer your SEVIS record if you are going to attend another school in the U.S.

Working in your field of study after graduation in F or J Status

Learn about

Invite family and friends to graduation! 

Learn how to help them apply for a visa.

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 office 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.

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Other things to keep in mind:

  • Join the Columbia Alumni Association for social and networking opportunities around the world! about keeping CU email address
  • Clean your apartment, make arrangements for checkout and the return of your key money/security deposit
  • Notify utility companies (gas & electric, cable, telephone) of your departure and try to pay bills in full before you leave
  • Clear your student account so your diploma and transcripts can be released and you don’t accrue late fees
  • Check the Registrar’s information for requesting official transcripts. May be advantageous to get extras while you are still in the U.S.
  • Return library books
  • Online form for change of address (to another U.S address only) from the U.S. Postal Service

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