International Students

After Elon

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students may be eligible for up to one year of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Applications must be received by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service no later than the student's program end date.  For more information on OPT, refer to the Employment and Taxes page.

Going to Graduate School

An F-1 student who is maintaining valid visa status in the U.S. is eligible to continue their studies without re-applying for their visa.  Depending on the student's situation and the desired course of action, different requirements are in place.  Students who return to their home countries upon completion of their program will be required to re-apply for their visa, even if the visa is still valid.

A student graduating from Elon and pursuing graduate school at Elon must:

  • Apply to and be admitted by the graduate program of their choice
  • Notify the GEC of their intention to pursue graduate studies at Elon no later than their program end date
  • Provide documents proving acceptance and financial means
  • Enroll in the program for the next available term after leaving the previous program (Elon) or for the first term following an authorized vacation

The GEC will:

  • Initiate change of educational level procedures
  • Issue the student an updated I-20 reflecting the change of level

A student graduating from Elon and pursuing graduate studies at another institution must:

  • Apply to and be admitted by that institution
  • Submit the completed record transfer request form to the GEC within 60 days of his or her program end date or OPT end date
  • Enroll in the program for the next available term after leaving the previous program or for the first term following an authorized vacation

The GEC will:

  • Release the student's SEVIS record to the accepting institution 

A student graduating from another institution and pursuing graduate studies at Elon must:

  • Apply to and be accepted by the graduate program of his or her choice
  • Submit proof of financial means for at least one year of study in the program
  • Ensure that the completed visa clearance form is received by the GEC no more than 60 days after his or her program end date or OPT end date
  • Enroll in the program for the next available term after leaving the previous program or for the first term following an authorized vacation

The GEC will:

  • Complete the transfer of the student's record
  • Issue the student a new initial status I-20

Other Work Options

Opportunities for nonimmigrant visa-holders to work full-time in the U.S. after the completion of their OPT are very limited.  The most common scenario would be for the student to complete OPT at an organization who would then sponsor an H-1B visa petition for the student.  This is expensive, and many organizations are reluctant to offer sponsorship.  There is also a cap on the number of H-1B visas that can be granted in any given year.  However, some organizations such as colleges and universities are exempt from the H-1B cap and may be more willing to sponsor a visa.   

For more information on remaining in the U.S. after the completion of OPT, students should consult the GEC.