Information on Optional Practical Training (OPT)
• Students qualify for OPT if they have been in full-time status for one academic year and are still in F-1 status at the time of application.
• Students qualify for 12 months of OPT after completion of an associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctoral degree. Student will lose access to their OPT benefit if it is not used after each level of study. Students at the graduate level who have completed all of their course work with only dissertation credits remaining may apply for post-completion OPT. For more clarification as to the difference between Pre-completion and Post-Completion OPT, please ask the international advisor.
• An OPT I-20 must be submitted with all materials within 30 days of the I-20 being issued. Failure to mail in an application within 30 days can result in loss of OPT. The Office of International Programs prefers mailing in applications on your behalf so that they are received in a timely manner. Students cannot begin working until they have received their Employment (EAD) card.
• Students do not need to obtain a job before they apply for OPT; they are given 90 days to find a job in their field. Students can work for pay, be an intern or volunteer. Students must report the name and address of the employer and any address changes to the Office of International Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org). Students qualifying for a STEM extension should have paid employment with an E-verify employer.
• Any travel while on OPT should be discussed with the Office of International Programs. It should be noted that it is better for students to travel after they have received their Employment (EAD) card. While on OPT, students will still be required to obtain a valid travel signature on page 3 of their most current I-20 in order to travel without issues. Students can apply for a new visa while on OPT. Applying for new visas while on OPT can be a bit riskier, but a letter from your employer that states that you will be returning to continue working should help you avoid any issues.
Completed Form I-765 & the instructions at www.uscis.gov
Two "passport" size photos. See details for photo on the instruction sheets for I-765.
Check made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" in the amount of $410.
Completed Form G-1145 which allow you to receive a text or email with your receipt number.
Letter from your academic advisor indicating your status in the program.
Copies of ALL previous I-20s.
Copies of passport information page, visa, and I-94. If you did participate in OPT for a previous program, a copy of the EAD card needs to be included.
8. Bring all these materials to the OIP so that a new OPT I-20 can be issued.