The completion date of your academic program is not necessarily the same date as that listed under Program End Date on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019*. Your completion date is the date that you complete your degree requirements. It is NOT the date that you submit your Declaration of Intent to Graduate (DIG) form, your Commencement date, nor the degree conferral date.
*Although your visa document (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) may list a future "Program End Date", this does not mean you can necessarily continue to maintain your F-1 or J-1 status through that date should your ACTUAL completion date come sooner.
Students cannot intentionally delay the completion of their academic program to suit an immigration-related need, to allow more time to secure post-graduate employment, to take additional non-required courses, or to otherwise continue to maintain their student visa status. Be aware that USCIS sets critical deadlines around the actual degree completion date as per above-mentioned description.
- The completion date for coursework (non-thesis) students is typically the last day of exams of the term in which they will complete their program.
- The completion date for graduate thesis or PhD students is the date by which the student has finished all post-defense revisions, which is normally from 2-4 weeks beyond the thesis/dissertation defense date.
The ISSO will depend on the thesis/dissertation advisor to determine what the student's completion date will be as it relates to the student's eligibility for post-graduate work authorization, extension of status, etc.
If a student misses the DIG deadline, they will be added to the following degree conferral roster, but it will not extend their official immigration completion date.
Any student wishing to work in the US after completing their academic program should contact us prior to the completion of their degree requirements to allow for the appropriate processing time of any necessary work application.