Clear Prior exempts students from registering for the term in which their degree will be awarded. Clear Prior is only possible for thesis and dissertation students who have met all published deadlines for the current term but have missed final clearance from the Graduate Editorial Office. No other students are eligible.

FOR IMMIGRATION PURPOSES, THE SEMESTER’S CLEAR PRIOR DEADLINE IS CONSIDERED THE OFFICIAL GRADUATION DATE. This means that the Clear Prior Final Clearance deadline is, for immigration purposes, the date the student completes the degree and is the date the grace period begins.

For a student that will Clear Prior, the student must take action to complete one of the following options before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline:

Apply for OPT
The OPT application must reach and be receipted by the proper USCIS processing center on or before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline.
Apply for a New Degree Program

The student must receive admission to a new degree program before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline. The program start date must be within 5 months after the Clear Prior deadline.

  • If the new degree program will be attended at a different U.S. institution, the student must request a SEVIS transfer so that the SEVIS record can be released by UF and received by the new school that the student will attend. The SEVIS transfer must occur before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline.
  • If the new degree program will be attended at the University of Florida, the student must request an updated I-20 to be issued for that new program. The new I-20 must be issued before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline.
Apply for a Change of Visa Status
The change of visa status process can be quite lengthy.  If the student intends to apply for a change to a different visa category, the student must apply with USCIS as immediately as possible after completing the academic program.  The application must reach USCIS and be receipted by the proper USCIS processing center before the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline.  In some cases, the applicant may remain in the U.S. while the application is pending at USCIS.  However, this is not automatically guaranteed; it is advisable that the applicant discuss the matter with an experienced immigration law attorney as there may be circumstances to be aware of depending on the visa category for which the applicant is applying.
Depart the United States
If the student does not complete any of the actions above, the student must leave the United States no later than the 60th day after the Clear Prior deadline.

For further guidance on Clear Prior, including the exact deadline or to determine eligibility for Clear Prior, please contact the appropriate Academic Department and the Graduate School.  As the exact dates change annually based on the academic calendar, we are unable to link to the current term Clear Prior deadlines; however, by visiting the Graduate School website, and typing “Clear Prior” in the search field, the reader may refer to the UF Graduate Student Handbook and Deadlines links.