Optional Practical Training
International Students are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). You do not need to have a job in order to submit an application. Applications are reviewed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If approved, students will be granted permission to work in the United States for up to 12 months in a position related to their field of study. Students may not work until they receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS. As processing of applications by USCIS takes up to 90 days, students are encouraged to plan ahead. To be eligible, all students must have completed one academic year (2 semesters) in F-1 status by the requested OPT start date.Pre-Completion OPT:
Students with pre-completion OPT authorization may work up 20 hours per week during the school term (while also maintaining their full-time enrollment). Students may work up to 40 hours per week during the summer and winter vacations. Any months of Pre-Completion OPT will be subtracted from the total 12 months of standard Post-Completion OPT for which a student is eligible.Post-Completion OPT:
Post-Completion OPT may begin after graduation or after all coursework is completed, but while the thesis, project, or comprehensive exam remains, according to the student’s preference. Post-Completion OPT applications will be accepted by USCIS between 90 days prior to the student’s completion of the degree and 60 days after the completion of the degree. The program completion date on the front page of the I-20 will be adjusted (if necessary) to reflect the student’s anticipated graduation date. If the student does not complete all courses (excluding thesis, project, etc.) as anticipated, the student will be limited to working 20 hours per week until the degree requirements are completed. The dates requested for OPT must begin no later than 60 days of the completion of the degree and must end within 14 months of completion of the degree.
a) You must take care of any university “holds” you might have.
b) Determine which address you wish to use in your OPT application as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) will be sent to that address. It may take up to three months to receive the card. The post office will not forward these documents even if you have your other mail forwarded.
c) Adjunct status: Graduate students who have not graduated and are not registered in regular courses, must register in adjunct status at Regional and Continuing Education in order to keep their space in the Graduate School.
a) Complete and sign form I-765. For question 16, write (c)(3)(A) for pre-completion OPT and (c)(3)(B) for post-completion OPT.
b) Complete the student section of the departmental recommendation form and request that your department chair, faculty advisor, or graduate coordinator complete and sign the department section.
a) I-94 card (or photocopy of front and back).
b) Proof of current health insurance coverage.
c) $380 application fee – check made out to Department of Homeland Security.
d) Two passport-size photos- 2 inches x 2 inches – lightly write your name and I-94 number on the back.
e) Copy of previous EAD card if you have received employment authorization in the past.
f) Copy of passport biodata and visa pages
a) The International Student Advisors will issue a new I-20 for you with a recommendation for OPT.
b) After you sign the I-20, the application will be mailed by the International Student Advising Office to USCIS and a copy retained for your student file.