Completing Your Program
Congratulations on completing your program!
Please complete a
Program Completion Request
in the ISSS Portal. after you have applied for graduation. Your SEVIS record must be updated to reflect your graduation. Immigration regulations dictate that F-1 and J-1 students must inform ISSS of this change within 10 days.
You may not work on campus after completing your program. Even if your I-20/DS-2019 shows a future date, your SEVIS record will be updated to reflect your graduation. Any on campus work after that date would be considered a violation of your F-1/J-1 status.
There is a 60-day window for F-1 students and 30-day window for J-1 students following your program called the “grace period.” During the grace period, F-1/J-1 students can:
For students preparing to return to their home country, there are several things you should take care of before you leave:
- Close your local bank accounts
- Return library books
- Pay university bills and any other outstanding bills
- Get your graduation certificate and copies of your Illinois State transcript
- Say goodbye to friends and professors, and get email addresses and phone numbers so you can keep in touch
- Pack and/or sell your belongings. If you wish to donate items that you think other international students could use (pots and pans, bedding, lamps, etc.), please contact International House or call (309) 438-5276.
Inviting Family to Graduation
If you would like to invite your family from abroad to attend your commencement ceremony, please see our Inviting Family page for full details on the documentation you can provide to support their visa processing.
Preparing for Re-entry Culture Shock
- Students may be surprised to learn that just as they experienced culture shock when they first came to the United States, students may also experience culture shock when they go back home! This is actually very common among those who have lived abroad for a considerable time. During your time in the U.S., you may have acquired different attitudes, behaviors and skills. Family and friends may notice that you have changed, and at first, you might feel like you don't "fit" in your home culture and country. Rest assured that you will just need time to adjust to people, systems, and customs again.
- Here are a few tips to help yourself adapt to life at home:
- Try to meet people in your country who have studied abroad, too. They may have experienced, or may be experiencing re-entry shock themselves and you can help each other. It will help you to have friends who understand what you are going through.
- Keep in touch with friends whom you have met here. They will be a good source of encouragement and support.
- Do things that you enjoy (for example, playing tennis, listening to music, praying, etc.).
- Contact your old International Student Advisor at Illinois State! We enjoy hearing from former students and may be able to offer a bit of advice, too!
- Join the International House Alumni Association. This is a great way for you to keep in touch with friends and to learn about reunion events at Illinois State. For more information, please contact International House.