International students are considered to be maintaining their visa status provided they are enrolled full-time throughout their degree program and meet all other eligibility requirements. Immigration considers an international student to have completed their degree program once they have completed their degree requirements. It does not matter if the student has not applied for graduation or if the student wants to take an extra course.
The student’s program end date on the I-20 (for F-1) or DS-2019 for (J-1) must be updated to reflect the student’s last required semester of enrollment to complete their degree requirements. OIS will use the graduation date of the last semester of required enrollment as the student’s program end date on their I-20 or DS-2019. Students who are pursuing a masters thesis or PhD dissertation may elect to use their defense date as their program end date.
Please note that the student’s program end date (graduation date or defense date) is also the last date that the student is eligible to work on campus. The program end date for the fall 2015 semester is 12/18/2015. The program end date for the spring 2016 semester is 5/7/2016. For more information about the program completion date for international students please see the OIS web page about program completion.