Congratulations, you are a UAH graduate! As you pursue your future endeavors, remember you still need to stay connected to the university while you remain on F1 status. Some common examples of considerations are provided below.
Students authorized for OPT All students authorized for OPT are required by law to:
- Be employed in your field of study while authorized for OPT. F1 students are eligible for no more than 90 days of unemployment during the 12 months of authorized Post-completion OPT
- Maintain a current address on file with UAH and the International Student & Scholar Office (ISSO)
- Update the International Student Advisor of your employment status, employer's name and address
It is your responsibility to update the International Office of any new changes. Please complete the SEVIS Information Update Form to properly notify our office. For more information regarding responsibilities, please see OPT requirement FAQ
OPT STEM Extension Certain F1 students authorized for OPT may be eligible for an additional 17 month extension of work authorization if they graduate in a STEM discipline. Please see OPT STEM Extension FAQ available on the forms & resources page of the ISSO website for more details.
CAP GAP Extension: F1 students are eligible to stay in the US and OPT work authorization will be extended for a student authorized for OPT, who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H1B petition being considered in the "lottery" with a requested employment start date of October 1, 2008. The F1 student status and work authorization will automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H1B petition filed on the student's behalf. Please see OPT Cap Gap Extension FAQ for more details.
Traveling outside of the U.S. while authorized for OPT
If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. while on O.P.T. you will need the following documentation:
- VISA-Make sure the F1 visa in your passport is valid. IT CAN BE RISKY TO RENEW YOUR VISA WHILE YOU ARE AUTHORIZED FOR OPT
- I-20--UAH Designated School Official signature on back page must be no more than six months old. Make plans far in advance to mail the I-20 if you don't live in Huntsville.
- PASSPORT--Your passport must be valid at least six months in the future
- EAD-You must take your EAD with you when you travel outside the US.
- LETTER FROM EMPLOYER--This letter should be on official stationary and state your dates of employment, your job title, and the fact that you will return to your position.
IMPORTANT--You should NOT travel outside the US in the following situations:
- OPT is approved but you have NOT secured employment
- A change of status is pending. It is recommended that you work closely with a qualified immigration attorney in this situation.
- OPT has ended and you want to re-enter the US during the grace period
Transferring from UAH to Another Institution in the U.S. Transferring to a new school in the U.S. requires advance planning and preparations. Students must submit a transfer release request form and include a copy of your acceptance letter from the new school in order to complete the transfer process. J1 students should meet with an international student advisor to discuss the transfer process. F1 students have two options to transfer between schools:
A student may legally stay in the U.S. between finishing classes at one school and starting at another if the proper process is followed. A student may also finish classes at one school, travel home (during the school vacation or to take a semester off) and return to the U.S. with an I-20 issued by the new school. A student who decides to travel home during the break from one school and before the other classes begin will need a valid F1 visa and an I-20 from the new school to return to the U.S. The student is not required to obtain a new visa unless the previous visa stamp has expired. It is not required to have the new school listed on the visa if the transfer process is followed correctly.
Students authorized for OPT: Students who are authorized for OPT will need to indicate the date you would like your I-20 record released in SEVIS on the transfer release request form. Be aware that all OPT employment authorization will become invalid once your I-20 record is transferred in SEVIS and the new I-20 record is activated by the new school.
Transfer process deadlines: The transfer process (obtaining a new I-20 from your new school) must be completed within 60 days of finishing classes at UAH or within 60 days of your OPT authorization expiration. In addition, F1 students must begin classes at the new school within 5 months of the last day of attendance at the old school.
Obtaining UAH Academic Records (Transcripts and Diploma): Transcripts- To get your academic transcripts from UAH you must complete a Transcript Request Form located on the Charger Central website. Mail or fax the Transcript Request Form to Charger Central. Fax number and address are found on the Charger Central website.
Diploma- You can either pick up your diploma or put in writing a formal request for UAH to mail you your diploma. If you choose for UAH to mail you your diploma, put in writing the address you want the diploma to be mailed.
Updating Addresses: If you move after graduation, you are responsible for updating your address with the University. You can update your address with the university by filling out the Address Change form on the Charger Central website and faxing it to (256 824-7780. This will insure that the University has your correct address to update records and that the International Student and Scholar Advisors can update your address in SEVIS.
Taxes: If you had a job (GTA/GRA or On-Campus Employment) at UAH you will receive by mail a W-2 form and must pay taxes. Be sure that you update your current address with Payroll Services so that UAH can mail you this important W-2 wage and tax statement.
Changing Your Immigration Status: If you change your status from F1 to any other immigration status, you must notify the ISSO. There are two documents that we need in order to update your file. You must submit the SEVIS Information Update form along with a copy of the approval notice confirming your new status. Fax these two documents to (256) 824-4515.
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