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Students completing their program of study at UC San Diego have several options following their final term.

Review all information below to understand about what your options are, and how they may affect your status.


Commencement 2024: Visa and Travel Information

Congratulations Class of 2024! This year, commencement will occur on June 14 and 15, 2024. More information can be found on the UC San Diego Commencement website.To support our international students and their guests who wish to attend in person, please review the following information and resources. 

Visa Support for Families

  • If your family members or friends are planning to apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to attend your graduation ceremony, they may ask you to supply them with an invitation letter.
  • Since U.S. embassies and consulates do not require invitation letters issued by the school, ISPO does not provide any kind of invitation letters, including ones for graduation/commencement ceremony.
  • However, you are encouraged to write your own invitation letter. You can use this sample invitation letter, or search for another template online.
  • Keep in mind that such a letter does not guarantee a visa will be granted during your friend's or family member’s visa interview, nor is it required for the interview.
  • You might also want to supplement your invitation letter with proof of your current or previous attendance at UC San Diego. The following are the most common options:
  • Furthermore, when you register for the commencement ceremony, you will receive a confirmation email about it, so you could include that confirmation as evidence of your commencement participation.


Visas Wait Times

Visa processing services at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad is on a post-by-post basis, meaning some have longer wait times than others. We advise those individuals who are permitted to enter the U.S. and who need a visa to check U.S. Department of States Visa Wait Times website to learn how long processing might take. 

Filing for Graduation

  • If you are an undergraduate student finishing your bachelor degree requirements, then you should follow the directions here to file for your degree.
  • If you are a graduate student finishing your master or doctorate degree requirement, then you should follow the directions here to file for you degree.


About Diplomas

Please note that our office does not handle diploma matters, the Registrar's Office does. If you have any questions about your diploma, please contact the Registrar's Office.

You will automatically receive a UC San Diego diploma upon successful completion of your university and degree requirements. Diplomas are mailed to the student's permanent address 3 to 6 months after the end of the quarter of graduation.

Visit our Changing Address page for information on how to change your diploma mailing address.

About Dean's Congratulatory Letters for Graduate Students

UC San Diego uses a student's preferred name in all university communications (with the exception of certain legal documents). Upon degree completion, Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs issues the Dean's congratulatory letter to the student using the student's preferred name as listed in university systems. 

Note, there may be instances when international students are required to show their legal name listed on the Dean’s congratulatory letter when applying for immigration benefits with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). International students who have a preferred name listed on their Dean's congratulatory letter may need to provide legal documentation to establish a relationship between the preferred name on the letter and the legal name on the immigration/VISA documents. If such documentation cannot be provided it is recommended that the student remove the preferred name using the Social Identities Tool (login required)

Update your record as soon as possible. For questions regarding the Social Identities Tool or Preferred Names, please contact 

Staying in the U.S. after Graduation

  • The program end date on your I-20 or DS-2019 will be adjusted to the last day of your final quarter of study.
  • Graduate students that have filed in lieu of registration for their final term will have a program end date of their date of defense.
  • If your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 shows a program end date beyond your final quarter of study, ISPO will automatically adjust the I-20 or DS-2019 to the accurate final term. After your program end date, you can remain in the U.S. during your grace period. See below for more details.


Grace Period:

  • F-1 students have a 60-day grace period following the last day of your final quarter of enrollment.
  • J-1 students have a 30-day grace period following the last day of your final quarter of enrollment.


Use your grace period to do one of the following:

Traveling after Graduation

International travel during your grace period:

  • If you depart the U.S. during your grace period, you may not re-enter the U.S. with your completed I-20/DS-2019 and F-1/J-1 student visa.
  • Please discuss your travel options with an ISPO advisor if you have questions about international travel during your grace period.

Working in the U.S. after Graduation

On-campus employment:

  • International students are no longer eligible for on-campus employment beyond the program end date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019.
  • The program end date is based on your final term of study and will be automatically adjusted to the last day of your graduating term.
  • PhD students that have paid the filing fee in lieu of graduation in their final term will have a program end date based on their date of defense.


Other employment:

  • F-1 students must apply for and be approved for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) in order to continue or begin work following graduation.
  • J-1 students must apply for and be approved for post-completion Academic Training before their program end date in order to continue or begin work following graduation.

Getting Health Insurance after Graduation

As an F-1 or J-1 student, you are strongly encouraged to have adequate health insurance during your stay in the U.S. More information, including a list of student health insurance providers, can be found on our Understanding Health Insurance page.


Maintaining health insurance after graduation:

  • If you will be continuing with OPT (F-1 students) or Academic Training (J-1 students) beyond the end of your UC SHIP coverage, contact your employer or a health insurance provider directly for information regarding their policies and rates.
  • You may potentially be eligible to enroll in the voluntary UC SHIP coverage for the quarter immediately following the quarter during which you were a registered student and completed your degree. Voluntary coverage is limited to one quarter.
  • Spring graduates only: If you are enrolled in the UC SHIP for spring quarter and complete your academic program in the spring quarter, you are eligible for continued coverage through the summer, up to the start of fall quarter.