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Optional Practical Training

OPT application appointment will start on February 12th, 2018.

As an F-1 student, you may apply to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization for 12 months of temporary employment known as Optional Practical Training (OPT). The employment should be directly related to your major area of study and can only be used once per degree level. To be eligible for OPT, you must be in legal F-1 status at the time of application and have completed one academic year (Fall/Spring semesters) as a full-time student. OPT can be authorized at the following times:

Pre Completion OPT

Pre Completion OPT- Before completion of your studies must comply with one of three situations:

  1. Part-time (20 hours a week or less) during the fall or spring semesters
  2. Full or part-time during summer vacation if you are currently enrolled and intend to register for the following semester
  3. Full-time during fall or spring if you have completed all coursework and are in the thesis, dissertation or comprehensive exams only phase of your degree.

Post Completion OPT

Post Completion OPT- After completion of your studies (most students choose this option)
IMPORTANT! If choosing this option,

  1. Your OPT application must be received by the DHS service center no later than 60 days after your program completion date.
  2.  However, it is strongly recommended to apply 90 days before you complete your studies. 
  3. Your 12 months of OPT must be completed within 14 months of the date of completion of your studies.

To apply for OPT:

  1. Review OPT Overview PowerPoint   
  2. Complete the OPT Application Packet
  3. Complete and save From I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, (save a copy in your email or USB so that the advisor can review the I-765 application before printing)
  4. Use this Form G-1145 for E-notification from USCIS (PLEASE NOTE: getting an e-Notification doesn't necessarily mean that we received your receipt, approval letter or OPT EAD card yet, allow 5 to 7 business days for our office to receive your documents)
  5. For passport photo requirements, review information on link below  https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/news/picture-perfect-passport.html 
  6. Make sure you check and submit the OPT Checklist form before setting up an appointment
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