International Student and Scholar Services

Life After Oberlin for International Students

As an F-1 international student, once you complete your degree program, you have up to 60 days to remain in the United States. J-1 students have up to 30 days to remain in the United States. You have several options to assist you in your transition to life after Oberlin.

In the first phase of your life after Oberlin, you can:

  • return to your home country; 
  • pursue another degree at a U.S. institution;
  • apply for a change in visa status; or
  • obtain authorization to work in the United States

Return home

The self-explanatory option! Many international students are excited to return home. We expect your Oberlin degree to be a great asset for your job search in your home country. You may also find less competition in your domestic job market than the U.S. job market and, of course, you get to return to your family and friends.

Pursue another degree

You can maintain your visa status by transferring your SEVIS record to another U.S. institution. You need, first, to secure admission to another institution and, second, to complete the necessary transfer forms: Oberlin’s SEVIS transfer out request form. This process is simple, and it allows you to maintain your current SEVIS record and thereby avoid another SEVIS application fee. The timing of these decisions, though, is critical. Make an appointment to coordinate transfer dates, especially if you plan to work or travel before enrolling at your new school. J-1 students also must meet more specific criteria - please contact the ISRC for more details.

Apply for a change in visa status

Most students wait until they have completed their graduate studies, or one to three years of optional practical training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT), before applying, for example, for an H1-B visa: temporary worker in a specialty occupation. The H1-B visa application is complex, and it requires that your employer petition on your behalf (or “sponsor” you) for this visa.

Obtain authorization to work in the United States

OPT and AT are types of temporary employment benefits available to F-1 and J-1 students who have maintained good status. They provide students with the opportunity to earn work experience in a field directly related to their degree. 

Related Documents

  • Sample tourist visa letter : See the list of documents, including a sample letter, you should provide to family members who are applying for tourist visas to attend commencement exercises.