F-1/J-1 students who make changes to their degree programs must request a new I-20/DS-2019 from Bechtel International Center. This is not an automatic process and you must request the new I-20/DS-2019. This includes
- Changing degree level
- Changing departments
- Adding a new degree program
- Adding a co-term program
If you are interested in doing Optional Practical Training based on your undergraduate program, you should not yet apply for a new I-20 for your new education level. The reason being that as soon as we issue you a new I-20 for the new degree level, you are no longer eligible to participate in Optional Practical Training based on your undergraduate program. Otherwise you will eventually need to request a new MS level I-20.
How to Request a New I-20/DS-2019
To request a new I-20/DS-2019 reflecting changes in degree level, department or degree program, submit a completed I-20/DS-2019 online transaction to the Bechtel International Center along with the required proof of funding either prior to or as soon as the new program begins. If you are admitted to a co-term program, please see an International Student Advisor at the Bechtel International Center.
If you are planning to start a new degree program after either graduating or discontinuing the degree program currently noted on your document, submit your I-20/DS-2019 request before completion or discontinuance of the current program.
1. Speak with advisor/department for approval
2. Begin request through Bechtel Connect for a Change of Degree Level (F-1).
- The request will require the approval of your advisor.
- Students must upload acceptable proof of funding for the new I-20/DS-2019
3. Once your advisor approves the request, return to Bechtel Connect, click on Check Requests / Continue My Requests in Progress and submit the Change of Degree Level (F-1) on-line request form. Processing time for the request with Bechtel is 5-10 business days.
I am a Coterm student, and my Undergraduate degree on my I-20 expires this quarter. Do I need to request a new I-20 to reflect my Graduate degree?
If you want us to extend your I-20 at the UG degree level you will need to have degree requirements left to complete.
If you are finishing all your degree requirements for the UG degree this quarter then we cannot extend your I-20 under the UG degree. You must request a change of degree level I-20 if you will not work under post-OPT after you graduate this quarter, and instead plan to continue on with your GR degree.
If I complete all my degree requirements for both UG degree and GR degree this quarter, when should I request the new GR level I-20?
If you are Coterm and will be graduating with both degrees at the same time, you need to request a change of degree level I-20 at least one month before your current UG I-20 expires.
Why can’t I extend my UG I-20 since I have not graduated yet?
Immigration law prohibits the undergraduate based extension since you have no more required undergraduate coursework needed to graduate.
How much time do I have to request a new I-20 since I am not currently in the U.S.?
You may request a change of degree level I-20 as early as you would like. You must initiate the request at least one month before your current UG I-20 expires. Bechtel can take 1-2+ weeks to issue the I-20. You must always use the latest I-20 to re-enter the U.S.
Will I be permitted to work in both fields of study if I confer my UG degree this quarter, and my GR degree 2-3 quarters later?
If you confer your UG degree this quarter, and then graduate 2-3 quarters later with the GR degree, immigration law will not permit you to work on the UG degree field that you conferred previously. But, if both degrees are conferred at the same time, then this will permit you to work in both fields upon graduation. Immigration rules require you to apply for post-OPT in a timely manner, and no later than 60 days from the date of graduation.
If I graduate with both the UG and GR degrees at the same time, will I qualify for two 12 month periods of post-OPT based on my GR I-20?
No, you will only qualify for 12 months of post-OPT. If your graduate degree is STEM based, you will be eligible for an additional 24 months based on the STEM based degree.
If I graduate with my UG degree this quarter, and take a leave of absence from my GR degree for a year, will I be permitted to do post-OPT for my UG degree? Then, also do post-OPT for the GR degree when I return and graduate 2-3 quarters later?
Yes! You may do 12 months of post-OPT and if you are in a STEM field, you may also request the two-year STEM extension based on the UG degree. Then, based on the new GR I-20 you will also qualify for 12 months of post-OPT and the two-year STEM extension (if you are in a STEM based degree).
When should I be requesting my GR I-20 if I am on OPT for my undergraduate degree?
About 1 week before finishing your UG based OPT (and no later than 10 days before school begins), you will need to request a new GR I-20 to come back to Stanford. Please note, once you request the graduate based I-20, you should no longer work. Once the GR I-20 is issued, the UG based OPT is cancelled and you are not permitted to continue employment (even if the Employment Authorization Document / EAD is still valid.) When you submit the request for the new I-20, do let us know your last day of employment. NOTE: Immigration rules prohibit you from taking classes for a degree while on post-OPT.
What happens if I graduate with both degrees, but I do not request the graduate level I-20?
You will forfeit your ability to work based on your graduate degree! Do NOT make that mistake!
What if I graduate with a coterm degree, but do not ask for a GR I-20, will I qualify for post-OPT for another Master’s degree a few years later?
Yes, in this scenario you will qualify to do post-OPT if you had never requested and had never been approved for OPT based on the earlier Master's degree.
Can you explain more about post-OPT?
If you are interested in doing Optional Practical Training based on your undergraduate program, you should not yet apply for a new I-20 for your new education level. Once we issue a new I-20 for the new degree level, you are no longer eligible to participate in Optional Practical Training based on your undergraduate program. Otherwise you will eventually need to request a new graduate level I-20.
Where do I find information about being Coterm and requesting a new change of degree level I-20?
Please review information found in:
What is the funding amount I need to verify to request a new GR based I-20?
Please review the financial budget information here
As an F-1 student with an I-20, where can I find the details on how to request a new level I-20?
Please see the following link to request a change of degree level I-20:
As a J-1 exchange student with a DS-2019 where can I find the details on how to request a new level DS-2019?
Please see the following link to add a new program as a J-1 student: