There are three reasons for you to leave the U.S:
- Your visa status is in good standing and your date of completion (Item #5 on the I-20) is still in the future, but you have completed your program of studies and are graduating; unless you have authorized post-completion practical training or a new job with a different visa status, your F-1 status becomes invalid and you will be expected to leave the U.S. within 60 days. The 60 days is called a grace period. You are not permitted to study or work during the grace period.
- Your visa status is in good standing and your date of completion is still in the future, but you have decided to terminate your participation in your program of studies (and you are not transferring to another U.S. school); you will lose your eligibility for post-completion practical training, and unless you have a new job with a different visa status, your F-1 visa status becomes invalid and you will be expected to leave the U.S. within the 60-day grace period.
- The University in rare cases decides to terminate a student's participation in a program of studies for academic or other reasons; your F-1 visa status becomes invalid, you lose your 60-day grace period, and you will be expected to leave the U.S. immediately.
What if my program of studies is not finished by the date of completion on my I-20?
If you are unable to complete your program of study by the date of completion in Item #5 on your current I-20, you must consult with the ISSC at least 30 days before that end date. If you are eligible for an extension of time to complete your program of study, your ISSC adviser will review and assist you with requirements for requesting an extension.
Eligibility for extension requires that you have continuously maintained your F-1 status and are in good academic standing. Delay in completing your program must be due to compelling academic reasons (such as a change of major field or research topic or unexpected research problems), or compelling and documented medical reasons.
If your date of completion has passed you must consult immediately with the staff in the ISSC. Failure to keep your F-1 status valid will have severe consequences for you and any dependents who may have accompanied you to the U.S.