Carnegie Mellon University

Leaving Carnegie Mellon

Below is information that you should know as you near the end of your academic program. In most cases, you will want to contact OIE at least three months before graduating to learn more about your options.

Remember that, by law, you have a limited time to take action from the date you complete your studies before your presence in the US is no longer legal. Be aware that the date you complete your studies is the day you finish the last requirement for your degree (i.e., the day of your last final exam or the date you hand in your thesis corrections), not the graduation date. This date is important for interpreting the following information.

After Completing Your Studies

If you are here in F-1 status (I-20), and have completed your course of study, you have 60 days from the day you complete your studies to do ONE of the following:

  • Leave the country
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status
  • Transfer to a new school or a new Carnegie Mellon program (get a new I-20 for that program and begin attendance in that program in the next possible semester)
  • Begin Optional Practical Training

This 60-day deadline is final and non-negotiable. Please check the expiration date on your I-20. If your I-20 will expire this semester and you plan to continue studying at Carnegie Mellon, then you must apply for an extension at least one month in advance.

Withdrawing or Leaving Early

If you are here in F-1 status (I-20) and you plan to withdraw from classes and leave Carnegie Mellon before completing your degree program, then you must get authorization in advance from your OIE Advisor. If you have been pre-authorized by your advisor to withdraw from classes because you are planning to leave Carnegie Mellon, theb you have 15 days to do one of the following:

  • Leave the country
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status
  • Transfer to a new school or a new Carnegie Mellon program (get a new I-20 for that program and begin attendance in that program in the next possible semester)

If you leave Carnegie Mellon without completing your degree program and without pre-authorization from your OIE Advisor, then you do not have any additional days to remain in the US. You must leave the US or apply for a change of status immediately.

Practical Training

If you are planning to apply for practical training, then you must apply for the authorization before the end of your 60-day grace period or you will lose your eligibility for the training. Since it takes 3 months for the approval to arrive from immigration, this means that you should apply 3 to 4 months before you complete your program.

View information about how to apply for practical training.

I-20 Information

Your I-20 cannot be signed once you have graduated unless you have applied for practical training. This means that you should not plan any short trips to Canada after completing your program unless you have either received optional practical training work authorization, you will return to your home country from Canada, or you will return to the US on a tourist visa from Canada.

After Completing Your Studies

If you are here in J-1 status (DS-2019), you have 30 days from the day you complete your studies (the day you finish all requirements, not the date on the DS-2019 or visa) to do one of the following:

  • Leave the country
  • Apply for a change to another immigration status
  • Begin Academic Training

You must apply for academic training before you complete the degree requirements. This deadline is final and non-negotiable. Please check the expiration date on your DS-2019. If your DS-2019 will expire and you plan to continue studying at CMU, you must apply for an extension one month before it expires.

If you plan to transfer to a new school or a new Carnegie Mellon program, you must work with your OIE advisor to have your record transferred by the date you finish your program. You may not transfer after the expiration of the DS-2019.

Academic Training

If you are planning to apply for academic training, you must apply for the authorization before you complete your degree program or you will lose your eligibility for the training. View information about how to apply for academic training. After reading the information, you may schedule an appointment with OIE. Additionally, you will need a job offer in order to apply for academic training.

DS-2019 Information

Your DS-2019 cannot be signed once you have graduated, unless you have applied for academic training. This means that you should not plan any short trips to Canada after completing your program unless you have either received academic training authorization, you will return to your home country from Canada, or you will return to the US on a tourist visa from Canada.

Post-Graduation Training

If you will be doing post-graduation 12-Month Optional Practical Training you must report address and employment to OIE using the OPT Reporting Tool within 10 days of any change.

If you are on Academic Training you must send your address changes to oie@andrew.cmu.edu for the entire period of the training. If you terminate your training, change immigration status, or leave the US before your training expires, then you must notify OIE by email.

Taxes/Payroll

If you received payment from the university during your time here, contact payroll at cmu-works@andrew.cmu.edu to give them your new address before you leave so they can send you the appropriate tax documents at the end of the calendar year. Remember that even if you leave the country before tax reporting time (April 15), you are still required to complete US tax forms for your time in the US. Contact OIE or search the Internal Revenue Service website to obtain these forms.

Post-Graduation Address

Be sure to provide a post-graduation address within Student Information Online prior to leaving. This is to ensure The HUB can contact you about diplomas or other documents and Alumni Relations can inform you about alumni groups that may exist in your home region.