OPT Work Authorization

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

OPT is off-campus employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience in the major/field of study in which they are currently studying.

You may use OPT during (pre-completion) or after (post-completion) your studies.

The maximum amount of work you are permitted is 12 months of full-time employment for each higher educational level you pursue in the U.S.

If you work part-time (less than 20 hours per week) before graduation (pre-completion OPT), your work time accrues at ½ rate (for instance, if you work part-time for six months, you’ve only used three months of your OPT).

Certain majors in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields also qualify for a 24-month extension of OPT after completing their post-completion OPT. Please refer to the STEM OPT page for more information.

Pre-and Post-Completion OPT

Applying for Pre-or Post- Completion OPT

Apply for Pre- or Post-Completion OPT

Pre & Post Completion OPT Resources

Below you will find webpages for the OPT Filing Checklist, Frequently Asked Questions, and maintaining your SEVP Portal.

Pre & Post Completion OPT Checklist

USCIS now allows OPT applications to be filed online. You have the option to submit your application via regular mail OR file online. Do not submit two applications! Follow the OPT Checklist and instructions to submit your OPT Application to USCIS.

Pre- & Post-Completion OPT Application to USCIS Checklist
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I-765 Guide (Online FIling)

The ISSS I-765 for Online Filing includes I-765 questions, document upload, and submission.

I-765 Online Filing Guide
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Sample I-765 (Mailing)

Tips, resources, and guides to completing the I-765 Form required for the OPT Application.

Review the Sample I-765
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Employment and Reporting on Pre- or Post-Completion OPT

Once your OPT Application is approved, it is important to properly maintain your F-1 Status while engaging in OPT Work Authorization.

Employment and Reporting on Pre- or Post-Completion OPT
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EAD Card Replacement

If you have received your EAD card and find that there is an error on the card, such as a name misspelling, birth date error, or the wrong OPT Category was issued, or if you have lost your EAD Card, please refer to the information on this webpage to request a new EAD Card from USCIS.

Apply for a Replacement EAD Card
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Apply for Pre-Completion OPT

Be sure to consult with an ISSS Advisor at [email protected] before applying for Pre-Completion OPT.

Apply for Pre-Completion OPT via the ISSS Student Portal
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Filing for OPT or STEM Online

OPT Work Authorization Frequently Asked Questions