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Graduating International Students

Commencement Activities

In addition to the College-wide events surrounding Commencement, the International Reception is a special celebration for all graduating international students, study abroad participants, international peer mentors, and their family and friends. The event is usually held on the Friday evening of Commencement week at Misselwood House. Please contact the Office of International Education for more details. We hope to see you there!

Inviting Family to the United States for Commencement

Your family may need to apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa to travel to attend Commencement. To apply for this type of visa they will need to show the Consulate that:

  • Their visit to the United States is only temporary. For this, you may want to send them a letter from Endicott inviting them to the Commencement with specific dates. If you wish to do this, please fill out and send the Office of International Education a request for a letter of invitation for each member of your family.
  • They have enough money to fund their trip. Current bank statements are suggested for this criteria.
  • They have a residence outside of the United States to which they intend to return. Evidence of a job, home ownership, or other strong ties to the community will help.

Immigration Options

As an F-1/J-1 visa student, you have a few different options available to you as a next step after you receive your diploma.

Apply for work permission

As a visa student, you have the right to work in the United States after your degree program is complete, under certain conditions. F-1 students have the opportunity to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for 12 months of employment. J-1 students have the opportunity to apply for Academic Training (AT) for up to 18 months of employment. 

Apply for graduate school and change your degree level

If you decide to continue your education and attend graduate school at Endicott, your I-20 or DS-2019 form can be changed to your new degree level. If you decide to continue on to a program at a different institution, you can have your SEVIS record transferred to that school. Please bring your acceptance letter to the international student advisor to learn more about completing these processes. Your degree level must be changed or your transfer must be released within 60 days after completing your current degree program (F-1), or by the end date on your DS-2019 (J-1).

Return to your home country

If you decide to return home after graduation, you will have a grace period of 60 days (F-1) or 30 days (J-1) to leave the United States after completing your program. During this time, you may not work or take courses towards another degree. You may, however, take noncredit classes, such as a cooking class. Once you leave the United States after completing your program, you cannot return in F-1 or J-1 status, unless you intend to start a new program and have been issued a new I-20 or DS-2019.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training: Immigration regulations allow F-1 students to complete a total of 12 months of Optional Practical Training while in F-1 student status. Optional Practical Training is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in your chosen profession. The employment must be related to your field of study and commensurate with your skills and educational level. Many international students at Endicott have used this option to gain valuable work experience after graduation.

Permission for Optional Practical Training is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the recommendation of the international student advisor. Applications may take USCIS up to 90 days to process, and you may NOT start work until you receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Students in their last semester at Endicott who are interested in applying for employment authorization after graduation should make an appointment with the international student advisor early in the semester. Any student with questions about off-campus employment is encouraged to contact the international student advisor.

You will be eligible to apply for OPT beginning 90 days before your program end date. For example, if your end date is May 31, 2018, you may begin the application process on March 1, 2018. It is recommended that you apply early since it can take up to 90 days for your OPT to be granted. An OPT application must be requested by the 60th day after program completion.

Download an OPT application (PDF)

J-1 Academic Training (AT)

Academic Training: Academic Training is the work permission category for J-1 students and should be used for both internships and for post-graduation employment. Permission for Academic Training is authorized by the international student services advisor. You must present a job offer to the international student advisor with 30 days after you complete your studies in order for permission to be printed on your DS-2019.

Download an AT application (PDF)

B-1 Temporary Business Visitor

You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
  • Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa

For information on applying for a B-1 visa, see the “Department of State” link.

Non-citizens seeking a B-1 visa from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa. For information about exemptions from the visa requirements, see the Customs & Border Protection page.

If you are in the United States in another valid nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status. To change to B-1 status, file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. For more information, see the Change My Nonimmigrant Status page.

WB Temporary Business Visitor under Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 35 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on the VWP. VWP travelers are required to have valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before traveling. Travelers are screened at the port of entry into the United States and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

For information about the Visa Waiver Program, see the Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Visa Waiver Program, see CBP’s FAQs About the Visa Waiver Program.