Graduate, Transfer and Return
If you are graduating this term - Congratulations!!
Look for your invitation to the International Student Graduation Reception for you and your family members. Fall Graduate Receptions will be at the end of the last week of classes in December, Spring Graduate Receptions will be the week after final exams in May. If you don’t receive your invitation by the last month of classes, please contact us!
Remember – you must APPLY to graduate through MyMC for the semester you will finish your classes (or re-apply if you needed to take additional classes).
If you need less than 12 billing hours to graduate in your final semester, you can get permission to be enrolled PART TIME. After you register for your final semester courses, bring proof that you are qualified to graduate (the Yellow Copy of your Graduation Audit mailed to you by the Graduation Coordinator). We must report on your I-20 record that you have permission for Reduced Course Load and PRINT that on your I-20.
We hope you will come to celebrate at Commencement in May. Some students show their pride as an International Student by wearing a Graduation Sash with the motif of their country's flag or a multi country sash including the US. You can find these here.
If your family is applying for B-2 Visitor Visas to attend your graduation ceremony, make sure you get enough tickets for them (remember they can also view remotely in air-conditioned comfort with no ticket). If the US Consulate requires an invitation letter, please contact the International Coordinator’s office to request the letter.
Please NOTE: Your F-1 status officially ends 60 days after graduation or 60 days after the end date on your I-20, whichever is earlier.
If you will be leaving Montgomery College you MUST do one the following:
- Leave the United States by day 60 after you graduate OR
- Be admitted and have our office Transfer your I-20 record to another school within 45 days after your I-20 expires, OR
- Have submitted an application to USCIS to change to another immigration status in the United States within about 45 days after your I-20 expires (*you may need also apply for a 'visitor status' to bridge the time between the end of your F-1 status and when your new status will be decided), OR
- Graduating students may also apply to our office for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (full time work authorization) between 90 days before and 45 days after graduation. To find out more, review OPT instructions, or see the office for instruction sheets on this process.
You will be welcome to take classes at Montgomery College even after you graduate.
However, you can only have F-1 status through Montgomery College if you are on OPT or if you apply to return to us for a new degree program and get a new I-20.
Our goal at Montgomery College is to have our students complete an Associate degree and transfer on to complete a Bachelor (or for some of our International students directly to a Master) degree. We hate to see you leave but want to help you pursue your dream!
Follow these steps to be able to successfully transfer:
- Keep your F-1 status valid.
- Work with an Academic counselor (one of the College Counselors or an Adviser in your academic department) to know which courses you need to take to prepare to transfer.
- Apply and be admitted to the school (or schools) you are interested in attending. Apply as an "International Student" and a "Transfer Student". Be sure to apply by the earlier deadline listed (transfer deadlines are sometimes too late for students who need an I-20).
- Follow the new schools' guidelines for any forms. Some schools require our office to complete a "Transfer form" as part of your application, some require that form after you are admitted. Fill in your part of the form and bring it to the office. We can fax or mail the form to the school based on their instructions.
- Once you are admitted AND have chosen your new school - contact our office (in person or by email) to tell us which school we should 'release' your I-20 record to. We can only "release" your record to ONE school and only after you complete the semester at Montgomery College
If you will travel outside of the US, please discuss your situation with your new school so they can guide you.
After you graduate you MUST be fully admitted and have your record released to the new school within 60 days. Please contact our office within 45 days after graduating to be sure your record will be released on time.
Students on OPT (Optional Practical Training) apply as a 'normal' international transfer student. Please discuss your OPT end date with your new school to be sure you do not need to stop work too early.
Travelling out of the United States between semesters does NOT complete the transfer of your I-20. Remember to get your I-20 that says "Continued Attendance" in the top box as the "Form Issue Reason" no later than the end of the first week of classes!
See an academic counselor and/or the Transfer web page web page for instructions on applying and having courses recognized.
If you wish to return to us after completing an Associate or higher degree we will need some specific information.
USCIS may question your need for more than one Associate degree so we must be careful to document what you will need.
Find out more (PDF, ) .