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International Programs

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training can be used during the following times:

  • Vacation and other times when school is not in session, if the student is currently enrolled and intends to register for the next term.
  • While school is session (if practical training does not exceeds 20 hours per week).
  • After completion of all course requirements for the degree.
  • Employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • You must have been in F-1 student status in the United States for at least one academic year (three terms).

Eligibility:

  • Employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • You must have been in F-1 student status in the United States for at least one academic year (three terms).

Procedure:

  • Complete and sign USCIS Form I-538, Section A.
  • Complete USCIS Form I-765.
  • Provide two photographs of yourself.  Photographs must meet USCIS specification:
  • Color, glossy and un-retouched, white background, full frontal view, no earrings or hair on ears. The distance from the top of the head to just below the chin should be 1-¼ inches and overall photo size not greater than 1 ½ inch square.
  • Provide a photocopy of your I-94 card (both sides) and identity pages of your passport.
  • Provide photocopies of all previous I-20’s
  • Obtain a certified bank check or money order for $380.00 made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Submit all of the above to the International Student Advisor for recommendation.

EAD Card

Immigration will issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will be sent by mail to the address you indicated on Form I-765.  You cannot begin employment until the EAD is received.

Travel Regulations While Applying for the OPT

In order to reenter the United States after you have obtained Optional Practical Training, you will need the following:

  • Have USCIS Form I-20 endorsed for travel within the last six months.
  • A valid Employment Authorization Document.
  • A valid F-1 student visa. 
  • A letter from the employer. If you try to come back to the United States after graduating and you do not already have a job, you may have difficulty entering the United States.

Note: English as Second Language students are not eligible for Optional Practical Training.  Students may only work part-time while school is in session, but full-time during vacations or after graduation.  Once you have applied to the USCIS for Optional Practical Training, it will take approximately four to eight weeks for the USCIS to process your application.  There is no way to cancel or change the employment authorization.  IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DO NOT TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE US WHILE THE APPLICATION IS PENDING.