Quick Information & Links

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in your degree program to off-campus work in your major field prior to your graduation. OPT is 12 months of available work permission authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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

Form I-765  Pre-Completion OPT FAQs  OPT Request Form (PDF) 

Application

  • Attend a Pre-Completion OPT Session or watch the Pre-completion OPT Online Session.
    • Note: If you watch the online session, you must complete the CPT Quiz in Canvas.
  • Full-time status for one full academic year
  • Good academic standing
  • No job offer letter required
  • F-1 students are eligible 12 months total OPT at each degree level
  • Work permitted up to 20 hours per week during academic year
  • Work permitted full time during official university breaks and vacations
  • All employment must be directly related to the major field of study

  • Complete the OPT Request Form (PDF) and submit the form to your dedicated IS Advisor via e-mail.
  • OGS will recommend OPT and issue a new Form I-20 (Processing Time: 3-5 business days) to be included in the USCIS application. See STEP 3. 

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. If the card does not have the full $410 available, your entire application will be sent back to you.
  • Two passport-style photos taken within 30 days (sample passport photos [PDF]) (Write your name on the back with pencil)
  • Form I-765 with the following code in item 20: (c) (3) (A) (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 
    • If you do not have all copies of your previous I-20s, you should write a letter acknowledging that they are missing. (sample letter [PDF])
  • Copies of EADs (if any)
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of I-94 card (front & back)
  • Copy of F-1 Visa
  • Copy the entire application before mailing to USCIS
  • Submit OPT Application to USCIS (do not use the online application)
    • OGS recommends sending your 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 can check for case status updates on the USCIS Website.

Once USCIS approves the OPT, you will receive an Employment Authorized Document (EAD). You cannot begin work until you have received the EAD card and reached the start date on the EAD. If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), you will need to apply for one as soon as your EAD start date is valid.

Questions about the OPT application materials or process? View the Frequently asked questions