A friend of mine (who's on an F-1 visa) did the following:

  1. Graduated on the 29th of May, 2017
  2. Fixed his OPT start date as the 21st of July
  3. Got the one-year STEM extension, which ends today (21st July, 2018)

My question is this: He's leaving on the Monday, 23rd of July. I want to know if this is safe. I've been told that there's a 2 month grace period, but from how I understand it, it's only at the end of graduation, and NOT when his OPT period expires.

Will be face consequences (both now and in the future, when he might want to return to the USA) if he leaves 2 days after this OPT period expires?

  • Usually OPT is approved for up to one year, possibly followed by a two year STEM extension. Are you sure he got a STEM extension that ends only a year after graduation? – krubo Jul 21 '18 at 23:13

There is a 60-day grace period to leave the US after completing approved OPT (or OPT STEM extension). This is stated in federal regulation 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(iv):

An F-1 student who has completed a course of study and any authorized practical training following completion of studies will be allowed an additional 60-day period to prepare for departure from the United States ... However, an F-1 student who ... fails to maintain status is not eligible for an additional period for departure. (emphasis mine)

Note that there is no grace period if OPT ends due to failure to maintain status, for example, exceeding the limits on unemployment.

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