Post-Completion OPT for December 2018 Graduates

Beginning Friday, September 21, 2018*, F-1 students planning to work in the United States after graduation in December 2018 may submit the OPT Request Form by email to their dedicated IS Advisor. Attendance at an off-campus authorization in-person workshop or completion of the online module in Canvas is required. Applications are processed in the order received within 3-5 business days following submission of a complete application.

*Note: OPT Request Forms will not be accepted before September 21. Requests submitted to OGS before this date will not be processed.

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  Form I-765  OPT Request Form (PDF) 

 OPT Reporting Requirements  Health Insurance Options (PDF)  

Post-completion OPT FAQs  OGS Sample Form I-765 

 OGS Sample Check (PDF) 

Application

  • 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).
  • Download your most recent I-94 record.
  • Submit the completed OPT Request Form and I-94 Record 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.

Application Checklist:

  • Filing Fee: Personal check, cashier's check or money order (sample filing fee [PDF]), or debit/credit card. Paying the fee with a card requires submission of Form G-1450. USCIS only accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, and the card must have a US billing address. If the card does not have the full $410 available, your entire application will be sent back to you.
  • 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 27: (c) (3) (B). See OPT FAQs for general instructions and OGS Sample I-765 [PDF] for details.
  • 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
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery with USPS for advanced warning when to expect the EAD card to be delivered after it has been shipped by 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.

*Students applying for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) who will potentially move to a new home during application processing should consider using an alternative address on the Form I-765 to receive the EAD. USCIS processing is currently an average 90 days. Applicants may ask a trusted family member or friend to use their U.S. address on the Form I-765. See OGS Sample Form I-765 for details.

 

**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! Once an application has been receipted and assigned a case number by USCIS, applicants may check the USCIS online case status for updates

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.
  • Consider signing up for USPS Informed Delivery to digitally preview your daily mail.

Change of Address:

USCIS encourages applicants to report a change of address within 10 days of relocation using the USCIS Change of Address Information procedures.

USCIS will destroy Employment Authorization Cards returned as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) after 60 business days if USCIS is not contacted by the student to correct the address. USPS is barred from forwarding USCIS mail to another address.

OPT processing with USCIS takes an average 90 days. Please monitor your OPT application using the USCIS Case Status Online Tool. If the case status says:

Students who have already submitted the OPT application to USCIS and will depart the home address used on the Form I-765 before the EAD card arrives should take the following actions:

  • Approved or Mailed: The EAD card should arrive within two weeks. If after two weeks you have not yet received the card, please submit a case inquiry to USCIS to verify whether it is undeliverable.
  • Returned: The EAD card is undeliverable. Please submit a case inquiry to USCIS.
    • 1. Complete the USCIS Change of Address online process, and
    • 2. Update their mailing address with United States Postal Service (USPS), as mail from DHS and/or USCIS cannot be forwarded by the post office to a new address.

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