You are ready to graduate! Below are some common questions that students have as they prepare to finish their degrees at Minot State.

The International Office staff does not provide letters of invitation. Invitation letters from U.S. universities are not required for visa applications, and often do not help the application.

You can read more at the U.S. Department of State website, including the following important quotation

"Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a visitor visa. If you choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember it is not one of the factors used in determining whether to issue or deny the visa."

However, if you still wish to write your own letter of invitation, be sure to include the following information of the person you are inviting:

  • Full name as it appears on the passport of the person you are inviting:
  • Passport number:
  • Country of citizenship:
  • Date of birth written out (ex. January 1, 1976):
  • Dates of travel:
  • Address in home country:
  • Reason for trip (for example: "I am graduating on X date and would like my mother to attend the ceremony.")
  • Relationship to you (ex. Father, sister, cousin, etc.)

Give the letter to your person you are inviting so that they can include with their visitor's visa application.

Optional Practical Training (OPT): Many students choose to apply for OPT after graduation, which allows students to engage in off-campus employment for 12 months. OPT is defined as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to a student’s major area of study." 

Granting of OPT is not automatic. Students must apply for OPT from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS can take over five months to approve an application for OPT, so students should file their applications with USCIS well in advance of their graduation date. Students who exit the U.S. after graduation or allow their grace period to expire are not eligible to apply for OPT.

Detailed information about OPT can be found here

Other Work Visas: If you are interested in work visas outside of F-1 status, you will need to work directly with a lawyer. You can find a list of immigration lawyers on the American Immigration Lawyer Association website. 

Career Services: Be sure to utilize all the support offered by Minot State's Career Services Office. They can help you perfect your resume, prepare for interviews, and explore career paths.  

The Office of International Programs provides graduation sashes for all F-1 visa students to represent their home countries. More information about 2020 graduation sashes will be coming soon!

The Registrar's Office website has all of the other information you need to prepare for graduation, including:

  • Applying to graduate
  • Ordering regalia
  • Information about the ceremony

Students are fully responsible for all aspects of the graduation process, including applying to graduate and purchasing regalia.

Many students decide to return home after graduation. After you graduate, you have a 60 day grace period before you need to leave the United States. You may not work during that time, and your F-1 status ends as soon as you exit the United States.

  • If you have a paper I-94 card, hand it in at the U.S. side of the border when exiting for the final time after the current semester is over.
  • Keep all of your old I-20s for your records.
  • Please also be aware that if you forfeit your F-1 status or allow it to expire, you will not be eligible for benefits of F-1 status such as OPT.
  • Do not overstay your visa, doing so has very serious long-term consequences. 
Updated Feb 2022 (lc)