Completing Your Program

As a J-1 student, you have several options after completing your program and graduating from IU Indianapolis.

As you get ready to complete your program of study, you can:

  • Apply for Academic Training (AT) so you can work in the United States. Applications for AT can only be submitted to the Office of International Affairs (OIA) before your completion date. See the J-1 Employment section for more information.

  • Apply for a change of status. If you are not subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement [212(e)], you are eligible to apply to change your nonimmigrant status. USCIS must receive the application before the end of your grace period. Find out if you are subject to this requirement by looking at your J-1 visa stamp.

  • Transfer to a new school. You must request a “Transfer Out” of your SEVIS record via Atlas. You will need to have your transfer out approved by the OIA before the end of your grace period. Your new school must provide you with a new DS-2019 within 30 days of the date your program is officially transferred to the new school.

  • Start a new program of study at Indiana University Indianapolis. You must be fully admitted and have received a new DS-2019 from the OIA before the end of the grace period. Updated financial documentation will be required to issue the new DS-2019. You can make your request for a new degree program by setting up an appointment with one of the advisors.

  • Leave the United States before the end of your grace period.

Program Completion and Your J-1 Status

If you are an undergraduate student, or a graduate student in a coursework-only program, your completion date will be the last day of final exams during the term in which you complete your degree requirements.

If you are a graduate student writing a thesis or dissertation, your completion date will be either:

  • The last day of final exams in the last semester or summer term of your enrollment when you are submitting your thesis or dissertation; or
  • The last day of the month if you are in an Indiana University-based degree program that allows monthly thesis or dissertation deposits and does monthly conferrals and you are submitting your thesis or dissertation earlier than the last month of the semester or summer term.

If you are a graduate student in a program with a required cumulative examination that is required for degree completion/conferral, your completion date would be the day of that required cumulative examination.

Please note: incomplete courses do not extend your program completion to a new semester. If you have incomplete courses in your final semester, or are concerned you might have incomplete courses, please contact OIA immediately for assistance.

Your eligibility to work on campus ends upon completion of your program of study.

Your Post-Completion Grace Period

Federal regulations provide you with a 30-day grace period that starts the day you complete your program of study.

For example, if you complete your program of study on May 4, your grace period ends on June 3 regardless of the expiration date on your DS-2019.

If you have not made other plans, you must depart the country by the end of your grace period.

Travel After Completing your Program

If you plan to travel to Canada or anywhere else outside of the United States during your grace period, the OIA will not be able to sign your DS-2019 for travel. If you travel outside of the country, you will NOT be able to re-enter the United States as a J-1 student, because you have completed your program.

You may be able to re-enter the United States as a tourist. Discuss your plans with us before you travel; see an advisor during Walk-in Advising Hours.

Dependent Status After Completing Your Program

If you have J-2 dependents with you in the United States, their status is dependent upon yours. If you choose to leave the country after you complete your program of study, your family members may not legally stay in the United States without you if they hold J-2 status.

Departure Checklists

  • University Obligations

    • If you received any wages from IU Indy during the previous year, be sure to inform the human resources administrator in your Department of your plans for departure.

    • Update with your new mailing address, phone number, and email address.

    • Return any borrowed books or other materials to the library.

    • Pay any remaining balance on your bursar account in Your diploma and official transcripts will not be released until your balance is fully paid.

  • Immigration Obligations

    • Organize a file with copies of all visa and immigration documents pertaining to your stay in the US so that you can access them again in the future. Examples of visa documents include: passport, visa, I-94, DS-2019 forms, I-797 approval notices, and EAD cards. OIA does not archive copies of documents for more than 5 years beyond your departure.

    • If you have a child who was born in the US, visit the State Department website here how to get a US passport for your child. Your child will need a US passport to return to the US in the future.

    • If you have a small, white paper I-94 card, when you depart the US, be sure to turn in that I-94 card. Usually, it will be collected by an airline official. Failure to submit this card upon your exit may result in future travel difficulties. If you have an electronic I-94, then you do not need to take any special actions.

  • Financial Obligations

    • If you received wages from IU Indy or another employer during the calendar year, you will need to file a tax return the following spring. You will need to obtain your W-2 form from your employer. This form contains the data that you will use to complete a U.S. tax return. Please remember that even though you are not in the U.S., you are required to file a tax return on all U.S.-based income. This becomes especially important if you owe the U.S. government taxes. This debt will keep accruing interest until it is addressed. OIA  can give you general information on filing individual tax returns.

    • Notify your bank of your departure plans. If you have been working or have scheduled payments from your bank account, determine if you will need to leave your account open beyond your departure date to allow for pending transactions. Work with the bank to determine the best way to handle the closure of your account or options for maintaining a U.S. account indefinitely after you relocate abroad.

    • Determine if you have any outstanding bills with credit card companies, auto or renter's insurance companies, or other organizations. If you are unable to pay them off before departing, contact the organization to make arrangements for payment.

  • Housing & Related Issues

    • Notify your landlord of your intended departure date. (Check your lease to determine how much advance notice is required and if there are any penalties for leaving before your lease is finished.) Ask if there are any procedures that you must follow. Make arrangements for the return of any refundable deposit.

    • Notify your utility companies (phone, gas, electricity, water, cable, internet, etc.) of your departure date. If you paid any deposits when you set up the service, ask if you can get that money returned. Make arrangements for paying your final bills.

    • Consider donating or selling your household goods. You can donate items to organizations such as Goodwill or AMVETS. You can sell them via the classified ads on or on If you would like to give the items to new students, please contact OIA to learn if we are collecting items at that time.

  • Miscellaneous

    • Request official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office. You may wish to purchase several to avoid having to order them again from overseas.

    • If you will not receive your diploma before your departure date, contact your department to arrange for it to be mailed to you.

    • Learn about alumni email accounts.

    • If you have obtained a Social Security Number (SSN), keep your card! Your SSN will remain valid for the rest of your life. If you return to the U.S. at some point in the future, you will continue to use the same number. If you lose your card, you can only apply for a new one during a future visit if you are in a visa status that permits employment in the U.S.

    • Fill out a "change of address" form at the Post Office. (The online form does not accommodate international addresses.) Please note any U.S. immigration document will not be forwarded. Inform immigration of a reliable U.S. address if you have a case pending.