Optional Practical Training
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
Applying for OPT is a two-step process:
meet with an International Student Advisor to confirm that you are eligible for OPT and she will assist you in your application for work authorization. You must come to an International Student Advisor with the following documents:
- All 1-20s
- I-94 card
- Your passport
- A copy of your graduation petition if you plan to apply for post-completion OPT
Apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Your complete application packet will include:
I-765 (Complete Items 1 to 15)
- Item #9: Social Security Number: This is not your college identification number. If you don’t have a social security number, leave it blank. Office of International Students Services will give you authorization letter and instructions on obtaining a social security number when your OPT is recommended.
- Item #10 Number: Enter the same “admission number” from your form I-94 unless INS previously assigned you an “A-number.”
- Item #11: indicate if you have ever applied for Economic Hardship Employment or Optional Practical Training. If yes, enter where and when you applied, and whether it was granted or denied. You will need to attach a photocopy of the SEVIS I-20 or EAD card that contains that employment authorization to the application
- Two Photographs (Green Card Type): Lightly print your name & I-94 # on the back of each photo in pencil.
- $175.00 fee :In the form of a money order or personal check payable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS
- SEVIS I-20 from PCC: The OIE must endorse the original form. Once endorsed, you will make a photocopy of the front and back of PCC’s SEVIS I-20 to send with your package
- Photocopies of your current form I-94 card (Front and Back).
- Photocopy of personal pages in your passport
- Photocopy of your F-1 visa stamp
- Form I-765 (Complete Items 1 to 15)
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.
Mail your OPT application packet to the Nebraska Service Center by certified mail return receipt requested.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Nebraska Service Center P.O. Box 87765 Lincoln , NE 68501 -7765.
- 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.