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International Programs

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training can be used during the following times:

  • 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.

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:

  • Completed Optional Practical Training Acknowledgement form.
  • Application Fee - $410.00 check or money order payable to: Department of Homeland Security.
  • Form I-765
  • Provide an electronic copy of I-94 and identity pages of your passport.
  • Provide photocopies of all previous I-20’s.
  • Submit all of the above to  International Student Support 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:   Once you have applied to the USCIS for Optional Practical Training, it will take approximately eight to twelve 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.