Whether you plan to return to your home country, transfer to another degree program or move on to employment elsewhere in the U.S., you want to insure that you do this without affecting your immigration status in the U.S. Before you leave, it is important to have an understanding, not only about what you may need to take care of before you transition away from WNE, but also what you may or may not be able to do once your program at Western New England University ends.
You should review this information carefully so that you’ll be able to plan the next step in your academic or professional career. Please note that you should plan well in advance, as not all changes can happen quickly and some require more time. Good luck!
Optional Practical Training
The grace periods below are for students who complete their program of study. If you do NOT complete your program, then your grace period will be different. Contact ISSS for more information.
*Once your end date on your I-20 or DS-2019 expires, you are no longer eligible to work on- or off-campus without authorization.
F-1 students have a grace period of 60 days, that begins the day you complete your program, regardless of the expiration date noted on your I-20. Note that if you depart the U.S. during the 60-day grace period, you cannot re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status with your I-20 for the program you just completed. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your official program end date.
Grace periods also apply to any dependents in F-2 status.
If you will remain in the U.S. to take advantage of your OPT, your 60 day grace period will begin the day after your OPT or STEM OPT end dates (listed on your EAD card).
J-1 Exchange Students and Scholars
You have a grace period of 30 days once your program, employment, or research ends. Exchange Students: If you remain in the U.S. to take advantage of your Academic Training (AT) benefit, your 30 day grace period begins the day after your AT expiration.
Grace periods also apply to any dependents in J-2 status.
Returning to the U.S. for the Commencement Ceremony/Invitation Letters
If you depart the U.S. after your program ends and wish to return for your commencement ceremony will need to do so in a different status if you did not apply for OPT. Information about the B1/B2 and Visa Waiver Program is here.
If you wish to invite your family members to commencement, review the Invitation Letter information here.
If you have finished your academic program at WNE and are applying for graduation, you should talk to Enrollment Services to ask about Commencement.
Extending your I-20
If your program end date is approaching and you have NOT finished your degree, contact ISSS as soon as possible to extend your I-20 using the I-20 Extension Form. It is NOT possible to extend your I-20 once your program end date has passed.
If you plan to transfer to another institution, you must first discuss this with your academic advisor and complete all required paperwork. Once done, please provide ISSS with your acceptance letter to your new school and a transfer out form (if applicable). If you are a continuing student, you must begin at your new school within 5 months. If you are an initial student, you must begin your course within 30 days of arrival to the U.S. If you are working on-campus, your employment ends the day your record is transferred to the new school.
OPT/STEM OPT Students
If you are currently on OPT or STEM OPT and plan to transfer to a new school or begin a new program, your work authorization ends as of the date your record is transferred and you are no longer eligible to work. For example, if you request on December 6 that your record be transferred on December 31, your work authorization ends December 31. Send ISSS your acceptance letter to your new school and a transfer out form (if applicable) so we can process your paperwork.