Fall 2021 Immigration Reminders for Students

New Students

Immigration Check-In

Students beginning a new academic program at Pitt must check-in with OIS before your SEVIS record can be registered.  Refer to the Orientation section of your Pre-Arrival Checklist in My OIS to complete all check-in requirements.  Note that your SEVIS record must be registered within 30 days of the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, so be sure to complete check-in requirements shortly after arriving in the U.S.   Send any questions about check-in to OISnew@pitt.edu

International Student Checklist

Review OIS’ International Student Post-Arrival Checklist to get an idea of things to keep in mind during your time at Pitt.

Continuing Students

Address Confirmation

Please confirm your physical address with OIS. Go to the Biographical Information section in My OIS and submit an ‘Address Confirmation’ e-form. OIS asks that you confirm your address each term.  Immigration regulations also require that students update OIS with any address changes within 10 days of the change. 

Travel and Travel Signatures

Check to see if you have a valid travel signature on Page 2 of your I-20, or the bottom right-hand corner of your DS-2019.  Travel signatures for enrolled students are valid for 1 year, and a valid travel signature is required to re-enter the U.S. after international travel.  If you need to obtain a new travel signature, please submit a ‘Shipment Request’ e-form in My OIS, located in the Biographical Information section.   See the OIS Fact Sheets page for Important Travel InformationTravel Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Visa Renewal Information.

Immigration Documents

Periodically check your immigration documents to be sure they are valid.  This includes your passport, visa stamp, and Form I-20 or DS-2019.  Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended program end date.  Visas can be expired while you are inside the U.S., but should be valid when you intend to re-enter the U.S. after international travel.  (See here for an exception to that rule, called Automatic Revalidation, when travelling to certain neighboring countries.)  Your I-20 or DS-2019 should accurately reflect your biographical information and academic program information.  Please contact OIS if any changes should be made to your document.

Program Extensions

If you will require more time that what is listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 to finish program requirements, be sure to submit a ‘Program Extension’ request in My OIS, found in either the F-1 Students or J-1 Students section.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)/Academic Training (AT) and Internships

F-1 students must be authorized before beginning any kind of off-campus work experience, including internships. CPT is the most commonly-used work authorization for internships, and is granted by OIS.  To apply for CPT, log into My OIS and submit a ‘Curricular Practical Training’ e-form.  

J-1 students must be authorized for Academic Training (AT) before engaging in any kind of off-campus work experience, including internships. To apply for AT, log into My OIS and submit an ‘Academic Training’ e-form.  

Information about CPT and AT can be found at the OIS Fact Sheets page, and students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their Immigration Specialist if they have specific questions about an internship opportunity.

Graduating Students

Reduced Course Load in Final Term

If you only require part-time enrollment to fulfill degree requirements in your last term, OIS must authorize a Reduced Course Load for the term.  To apply for an RCL, go to My OIS and submit a ‘Reduced Course Load’ request.  

Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT)

F-1 students who are interested in working in the U.S. after graduation must apply for OPT work authorization, which is approved by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  Approval can take several months, so students are encouraged to apply as early as they can, which is 90 days before the end date of their last term.  Information about OPT and how to apply can be found in My OIS and on the OIS website.

J-1 students who are interested in working in the U.S. after graduation must apply to OIS for Academic Training.  OIS authorizes AT in-house, but it must be authorized before the end date of your academic program.

Grace Periods

Students have a grace period following the end of their program, during which time they may take any of the following actions below.  The grace period for F-1 students is 60 days, and the grace period for J-1 students is 30 days.  Options include:

  • Depart the U.S.
  • Apply for OPT (F-1 students, only)
  • Transfer to a new academic program at a new school
  • Obtain a new I-20 for a new degree program at Pitt
  • Apply for a Change of Status 

Fall Term End Date

According to Pitt’s academic calendar, the official end date of the Fall term for most programs is December 18, 2021.  

  • If you are employed at Pitt and graduating, do not work past this date without approved OPT.  This may mean there will be a gap in your employment if you are continuing to work in your same position after graduation.  
  • If you will graduate earlier than what OIS originally listed on your I-20 or DS-2019, your document will be shortened.

Departure Notification

If you plan to depart the U.S. following the completion of your degree, please submit a ‘Departure Notification’ in My OIS, listed in the Biographical Section, so that we may close out your immigration record.  This can be shortly before your departure, or shortly after you’ve arrived to your home country.