Post-Completion OPT for May 2018 Graduates

The earliest date to submit an OPT application by email to your dedicated IS Advisor is Saturday, February 17. Applications are processed within 3-5 business days and in the order received.

Quick Information & Links

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment authorization that allows F-1 students to work off campus in a position directly related to their field of study after completion of studies. OPT is an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the degree program to off-campus work in the major field.

Attend an Employment Session  Post-Completion OPT Handout (PDF) 

Form I-765  OPT Request Form (PDF)  OPT Reporting Requirements 

Health Insurance Options (PDF)  Post-completion OPT FAQs


  • Attend an in-person Post-Completion OPT Session or watch the online session.
    • Note: If you watch the online session, you must complete the OPT Quiz in Canvas.
  • Full-time status for one full academic year
  • Good academic standing
  • No employment verification letter required
  • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT at each degree level
  • All employment must be directly related to the major field of study

When can I apply?

You can apply up to 90 days before or 60 days after program completion date. OGS recommends applying for OPT 90 days before your program completion date.

  • Complete the OPT Request Form (PDF) and submit the form to your dedicated IS Advisor via email (in-person submissions are not accepted).
  • OGS will recommend OPT and issue a new Form I-20 to be included in the USCIS OPT application. See Step 3. (Processing Time: 3-5 business days)

Application Checklist:

  • Filing Fee: Personal check, cashier's check or money order (sample filing fee [PDF])
  • Two passport-style photos (sample passport photos [PDF]) taken within 30 days (Write your name on the back with pencil)
  • Form I-765 with the following code in item 20: (c) (3) (B) (sample I-765 [PDF])
  • G-1145 (Strongly Recommended E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance)
  • Copy of new Form I-20 (with OPT recommendation on page 2)
  • Copies of all previous I-20s 
  • Copies of EADS (if any)
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of I-94 card (front & back) or automated I-94 form (
  • Copy of F-1 visa
  • Copy the entire application before mailing to USCIS
  • Submit OPT Application to USCIS by mail (do not use the online form)*
    • OGS recommends sending the application via FedEx or USPS Priority so that you can track your package.

*Your application must be received by USCIS within 25 days of the signature on your I-20 recommending post-completion OPT.  If the application does not reach the service center in time, your request will be denied. If you think your application may not arrive within this timeframe, contact OGS for a new I-20 prior to mailing.

Wait - application processing takes an average of 90 days! You may check the status of your case on the USCIS website.

USCIS will mail communications to the address listed on your Form I-765 after you have submitted your application. You should receive a receipt from USCIS within 2 weeks of submitting your application. Check your receipt notice for errors – especially errors related to your name and date of birth. Please watch your mail closely and respond to any additional requests from USCIS immediately. Contact your IS Advisor with any questions. 

Remember that while the application is pending:

  • You may not legally begin working or volunteering for the organization that offered you the position
  • We do not recommend traveling outside the United States (after program end date) until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) arrives and you have a job offer.
  • We do not recommend changing your address. If you must, notify USCIS immediately, as the U.S. Post Office will not forward Government mail to another address.
  • You will not be able to renew your driver's license until you have the EAD.

Please visit the After OPT is Approved page to understand all of your reporting requirements while on OPT. 

Questions about the OPT application process? Traveling while your OPT is still pending?
Or other scenarios?

 View the Frequently asked questions