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Optional Practical Training 

OPT provides students an opportunity to gain employment in their field of study. Students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT, which is generally used after completion of studies. Students will not be able to work until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is obtained. OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to a F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization after completing their academic studies. A post-completion OPT application may be filed up to 90 days before the completion of degree requirements but no later than 60 days after you complete your degree.

If you are authorized for OPT, you may work part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full time.  You are not allowed to be unemployed for longer than 90 days.

 No, a job offer is not required when applying. 

Yes, you may change employers as many times as you want while on post-Completion OPT.

 You will remain in F-1 status. 

  1. Before applying for OPT, make an appointment with the international academic counselor to determine if you have completed your degree requirements before applying for OPT.
  2. If you qualify, complete the  Application for Employment Authorization I-765 form
  3. Bring the following documents to the International Student Program for the international advisor to review.
    • Passport
    • Visa 
    • I-94 card
    • All previous I-20 documents
    • Completed form I-765 
    •  2 passport photos 
    • Form of payment $410For paper filing, the ONLY original document sent is the I-765 form, the check/money order, and the photo: the rest can be photocopies. Please keep copies of all documents sent!
  4. After you submit your application and required documents, you will receive an email from SEVIS with instructions to register on the SEVIS portal.
  5. Wait for EAD card to arrive before beginning any employment (paid or unpaid).
  6. Update the International Student Program regarding any employment information.
  7. Submit a copy of your EAD card to The International Student Center.

More information can be found on the official USCIS website.