Optional Practical Training

Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for OPT if you:

  • Are currently maintaining F-1 status and have attended school full-time for one academic year (three quarter terms)
  • Will complete all the requirements for the degree by the end of the current quarter term
  • Have not previously used your full 12-months OPT benefit on the same academic level
  • Have not used 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training

Procedure

Applying for OPT is a two-step process:

  1. Meet with an International Student Advisor to confirm that you are eligible for OPT. Please complete the OPT Request Form prior, and bring the request form to your appointment. Upon confirmation of eligibility, the International Student Advisor will provide you with a checklist of items to prepare for the authorization of OPT.

  2. Prepare the necessary documents to apply for OPT. The international advisor will give you a checklist of items to prepare and the USCIS address of where to mail your your documents to.

Processing Times

USCIS takes approximately 60-90 days (maybe longer) to process OPT applications. You may not engage in any employment until you have received a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If you would like to begin employment soon after completing your studies, you should plan on applying for OPT at least 60 days prior to your completion date.

Limitations

  • You must have your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) in your possession before you can begin work; or travel and reenter the U.S. from another country following graduation.
  • Students on an F-1 visa are limited to 12 months of OPT at each level of a degree program (for example: after completion if a one-year certificate program, a two-year degree, or a bachelors degree). OPT must be completed within a 14-month period following completion of studies. Students who have been authorized for 12 or more months of full-time curricular practical training are not eligible for OPT.
  • You may travel while you are on OPT or your OPT application is pending. To re-enter the U.S. you will need to have the following: a valid travel signature on your I-20 form, a valid U.S. visa, a valid passport, and your Employment Authorization Document if you have received one.