OPT is a privilege provided by the U. S. government to international students who desire to gain employment experience in their major field of study. Most students avail themselves of this privilege following completion of their program of study. However, OPT may also be used during a vacation period if a student intends to register for the following session, or part-time while school is in session.
International students interested in applying for this privilege should carefully read all instructions below, attend an OPT workshop, and review the OPT Resource Guide before contacting the Office of International Student Services.
To be eligible for Post-Completion OPT:
- The student must have been enrolled full-time for one academic year preceding the OPT application.
- The student must be in F-1 status at the time of application.
- The student must be in the last 90 days of his academic program.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive your OPT application BEFORE the end of your official 60-day grace period.
- Students must attend an OPT Workshop prior to applying.
International students who have completed at least one full academic year of study (two semesters) may engage in Optional Practical Training upon approval by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. The application may be submitted up to 90 days prior to the completion of one academic year, but the authorization will be granted only from the date the student actually completes a full academic year.
OPT may be authorized for up to 12 months for each level of education. For example, a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree may accumulate a total of 12 months OPT during and following completion of the degree. A master’s degree student will become eligible for an additional 12 months following completion of one full academic year of study toward that degree. Students enrolled in the English Language Institute are not eligible for OPT.
OPT may be full-time or part-time. Full-time OPT may be authorized during summer breaks, after completion of all course work but prior to completion of the thesis (for master’s degree students), or after graduation. Part-time (up to 20 hours per week) OPT is permitted while school is in session, but the student must maintain a full course load. Part-time OPT is counted at half the regular full-time accumulation. For example 4 months of part-time OPT will be counted as equal to 2 months of full-time OPT. Any part-time OPT used during school sessions will be deducted from the 12 months total remaining following completion of studies.
Dates of OPT Authorization
A student that desires to participate in OPT following completion of studies must apply prior to the completion of studies. The process may take from 2 to 3 months. Employment cannot begin until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is received.
It is not necessary for a student to already have a job offer in order to apply for OPT. However, OPT, once granted, cannot be recovered if a job offer does not materialize. The employment must be directly related to the student’s major field of study and must be appropriate for someone with the student’s level of education.
Once the EAD has been received and employment has been obtained, students may travel with an endorsed I-20 form. If a student leaves the U. S. after completing the program of study but before receiving the EAD or obtaining employment, re-entry to the U. S. will most probably be denied. Even with the EAD, a letter from the employer indicating that the student is expected to resume duties after a brief absence is recommended.
- Complete the OPT Advisor’s Form, which will be signed by your academic advisor. Check UIS Enterprise prior to submitting the OPT Advisor Form – make sure your address and emergency contact are up to date, all holds have been removed, and you have completed your graduation application. Bring completed and signed OPT Advisor Form to the International Office to schedule your appointment.
- Bring the following documents to your OPT Appointment:
- Typed Form I-765. The address entered in section 3 of the form should be either the address where you will be living when the application is approved or our office address. The F-1 OPT code for section 20 is ( c )(3)(B ). Please note: This is optional, but you can now apply for your Social Security Number (if you do not already have one) on the new Form I-765. If you choose to apply for the SSN using the I-765, then you MUST use your own address. If you use the ISS Office address and you do not already have a SSN, then you must apply for your SSN AFTER you receive your EAD.
- Typed Form G-1145.
- Payment of $410.00 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. View the Paying USCIS Fees website for all payment options, detailed instructions, and a sample of “How to Write Your Check”. You may also pay by credit card by including Form G-1450 with your application. Make sure to include your I-94 number on your payment.
- Copies of all original Form I-20s (with CPT or OPT authorization), Form I-94, and copies of any previous Employment Authorization Documents.
- Make photocopies of your passport ID page and your visa.
- Have two identical color passport photographs made according to these specifications. Print your name and I-94 number on the back of each photograph with a pen or pencil.
- An Immigration Advisor will review your documentation and recommend authorization for a period of up to one year. The Office of International Student Services will return your application to you to be mailed to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration and Services within 30 days for processing. To determine the lockbox to which you’ll submit your application, refer to this table on the USCIS website.
After Applying for OPT
Within two weeks of applying, you should receive a receipt notice (Form I-797) which includes a filing number and status information. This number can be used to check your application status online at the USCIS website.
Approximately 90 days after USCIS receives your application, you should receive an approval message on the website. Allow for approximately 3 weeks for the card to be mailed. If your card will be mailed to our office, we will contact you by email when your card arrives. You may only begin working after you have received your card AND your start date has been reached.
Caution: Students who apply for post-completion OPT and then don’t actually graduate must contact the International Office immediately in order to correct the I-20 and OPT application.
While you are not required to have a job offer to apply for OPT, you are only allowed 90 days of unemployment once the card has started. In order to keep track of these days you are required to report your employment to the Office of International Student Services. You must email the OPT Employer Report within 10 days of your employment change.
- 05-11-2013, 06:47 PM#1
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
Applied for post-completion OPT but thesis pending
My advisor underestimated the thesis effort/time review process and now my thesis has come back for revisions. I'm making the revisions but not sure if everything will be processed for end-may. I applied for post-completion OPT last month and my I-20 date for the OPT application is June 1 2013 to 2014.
Let's say I do not graduate this month, and graduate in August(summer), would this be a problem? I asked my DSO and he said shouldn't be a problem because thesis is considered a separate track. I'm not sure about this though.
- 05-21-2013, 07:29 AM#2
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
I found this from the USCIS Website:
(10) Practical training . Practical training may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical tra ining, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available: (Introductory text revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
(i) Curricular practical training programs . An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for p ost-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
(A) Non-SEVIS process . A student must request authorization for curricular practical training using Form I-538. Upon approving the request for authorization, the DSO shall: certify Form I-538 and send the form to the Service's data processing center; endorse the student's Form I-20 ID with "full-time (or part-time) curricular practical training authorized for (employer) at (location) from (date) to (date)"; and sign and date the Form I-20ID before returning it to the student.
(B) SEVIS process . To grant authorization for a student to engage in curricular practical training, a DSO at a SEVIS school will update the student's record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training that is directly related to the student's major area of study. The DSO will indicate whether the training is full-time or part-time, the employer and location, and the employment start and end date. The DSO will then print a copy of the employment page of the SEVIS Form I-20 indicating that curricular practi cal training has been approved. The DSO must sign, date, and return the SEVIS Form I-20 to the student prior to the student's commencement of employment.
(ii) Optional practical training--
(A) Consistent with the application and approval process in paragraph (f)(11) of this section, a student may apply to USCIS for authorization for temporary employment for optional practical training directly related to the student's major area of study. The student may not begin optional practical training until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document, Form I-766. A student may be granted authorization to engage in temporary employment for optional practical training: (Paragraph (f) (10(ii)(A) revised 4/8/08; 73 FR 18944 ) (Paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(A) revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
( 1 ) During the student's annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session, if the student is currently enrolled, and is eligible for registration and intends to register for the next term or session;
( 2 ) While school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session; or
( 3 ) After completion of the course of study, or, for a student in a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent). Continued enrollment, for the school's administrative purposes, after all requirements for the degree have been met does not preclude eligibility for optional practical training. A student must complete all practical training within a 14-month period following the completion of study, except that a 17- month extension pursuant to paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(C) of this section does not need to be completed within such 14-month period.
(B) Termination of practical training . Authorization to engage in optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
(C) 17-month extension of post-completion OPT for students with a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree . Consistent with paragraph (f)(11)(i)(C) of this section, a qualified student may apply for an extension of OPT while in a valid period of post-completion OPT. The extension will be for an additional 17 months, for a maximum of 29 months of OPT, if all of the following requirements are met. (Revised 4/8/08; 73 FR 18944 )
( 1 ) The student has not previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.
( 2 ) The degree that was the basis for the student's current period of OPT is a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of the degree programs on the current STEM Designated Degree Program List, published on the SEVP Web site.
( 3 ) The student's employer is registered in the E-Verify program, as evidenced by either a valid E-Verify company identification number or, if the employer is using a designated agent to perform the E-Verify queries, a valid E-Verify client company identification number, and the employer is a participant in good standing in the E-Verify program, as determined by USCIS.
( 4 ) The employer agrees to report the termination or departure of an OPT employee to the DSO at the student's school or through any other means or process identified by DHS if the termination or departure is prior to end of the authorized period of OPT. Such reporting must be made within 48 hours of the event. An employer shall consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left the employment or if the student has not reported for work for a period of 5 consecutive business days w ithout the consent of the employer, whichever occurs earlier.
- 01-19-2018, 07:00 PM#3
Please what happened with this ?
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