Graduation Resources

ISSS has developed the following tips and timeline to help you organize your plans before and after graduation. We hope this provides a useful guide.

All GSU students must apply for graduation in order to trigger the process of an official audit. This will ensure that you have officially met all the requirements of your degree program in order to receive your diploma. However, you are not required to participate in the graduation ceremony. Failure to apply for graduation when you have completed your degree program requirements could put your immigration status at risk.

Two semesters before graduation:
  • File a formal application for graduation with the Office of the Registrar.

One semester before graduation:

  • Meet with your academic advisor to ensure all degree requirements will be met in time to graduate.
  • To take advantage of post-completion employment authorization through F1 visa OPT (Optional Practical Training) or  J-1 visa AT (Academic Training), be sure to apply within established deadlines.  Also visit the GSU Career Services Center for resume, job search and interview assistance.
  • If you plan to leave the U.S. after graduation, make flight arrangements and submit the Notice of Future Intentions form in iStart.
  • If you plan to stay in the U.S. for further study at a different school, talk to an ISSS about the process of transferring your SEVIS record.

2-3 months before graduation

  • If family and friends are visiting for the commencement ceremony, prepare for their lodging or make hotel arrangements. If your visitors will need visas to enter the US, remind them to apply for their B2 visitor visa at the US embassy or consulate closest to them.
  • Start the job search if you’re interested in staying in the United States for authorized employment.

1 month before graduation, departure from the U.S. or moving:

  • Notify your landlord or housing office that you will be vacating your apartment. Most leases require 30-days written notice. Check your lease for details.
  • Make sure your roommates are aware of your plans.
  • Agree on a date to have a check-out appointment with your landlord and discuss your deposit if you had one.
  • Contact your US service accounts to inquire about termination of service:
      • Phone service
      • Gas
      • Water
      • Electric
      • Garbage
      • Cable TV / Internet
      • Newspapers/Magazines
      • Renter’s Insurance
      • Make arrangements with your bank to close your account(s).
      • Unsubscribe to e-mail lists you no longer need.
  • Consider what to do with your vehicle if you have one
  • Contact health, car, and life insurance companies to discuss coverage options and whether to close the account.
  • Leave a forwarding address at your local Post Office so they can send your mail to your new address if staying in the U.S.
  • Pay any fines you may have (library, parking, etc.) or return library books.  If you owe money to Georgia State University your official transcript will not be released.
  • Sell miscellaneous personal items like: furniture, appliances, computers, automobiles, bikes, etc. by holding a garage sale or placing the items on a website such as Craigslist or EBay.
      • You can also give away items to a local thrift ship, such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
      • Contact shipping or storage companies if needed.
  • Contact the GSU Alumni Association and register yourself to receive updates and establish yourself with the Georgia State University Alumni Community

ISSS congratulates you on your upcoming graduation. It is a major accomplishment indeed!

If you are planning to invite friends or family members from abroad to your graduation ceremony, they may need a  visa. Application is made at their nearest US Embassy or Consulate for a visitor (B2) visa. They should prepare all the documentation indicated on the Embassy or Consulate website.

It will be very important for your visitor to demonstrate permanent ties to the home country to receive a visitor visa. Examples would include providing documentation of:

·        home or business ownership

·        loans to banks in the home country

·        utility bills

·        automobile ownership / insurance

·        bank statements, etc…

The Embassy will also want to know the address where your guests will be in the US, exact dates of their visit, your US phone number and the full names and dates of birth of your visitors.

Invitation letters for international guests or family visitors

The Georgia State University Registrar provides a number of services related to graduation, including support letters for international visitors. ISSS does not provide these letters since we are not able to confirm enrollment or graduation. To request this letter, visit the Degree Conferral and Diploma Information page and scroll down to “Services”.

Other support letters available at the same link include:

·        Certified Diploma

·        Replacement / Duplicate Diploma

·        Degree Verification

·        Letter of Completion