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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Post Completion OPT is intended to provide hands-on practical training work experience within the United States that is directly related to your program of study. OPT may only be used one time at each degree level, if approved by USCIS. You must be in F-1 status to apply for OPT. You can apply for OPT up to 90 days prior to your program end date. You can apply for OPT during your 60-day grace period. USCIS needs to receive your application prior to the end of your 60-day grace period.

Please Note:
  • You must receive an I-20 recommending OPT from the ISO prior to submitting your application to USCIS. For information about receiving the I-20, please visit the following article: OPT Application Process
  • You must submit your application to USCIS within 30 days of the date ISO has issued the OPT I-20.
  • Certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree programs qualify for an additional 24 months of OPT. Please review the following article STEM OPT Overview and Application Process.

Eligibility Requirements
  • You must be in Active F-1 status. If you have a pending F-1 Change of Status, you cannot apply for OPT while your application is still pending.
  • You must be in your final semester of your degree program.
  • You cannot have been approved for Post Completion OPT previously at the same degree level.
  • You cannot have used more than a combined 364 days of full-time CPT at your current degree level.
  • You must earn your degree during the final semester you apply for OPT. Students cannot engage in approved Post Completion OPT and study at the same time.

Apply for Post-Completion OPT Recommendation

At the time of receiving your I-20, you will be given instructions for completing the application process either online or through the mail. ISO cannot advise on the method of delivery you should send your application. 

NOTE: If you submit an OPT application to USCIS without an I-20 recommending OPT, your application will be rejected.

OPT Employment Updates

All employment changes must be reported within 10 days. You may not begin employment until you have received your Post-Completion OPT EAD card in the mail. NOTE - In the Questionnaire, make sure to state in "Student Remarks" the reason for the update.