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.
I-765 Guide (Online FIling)
The ISSS I-765 for Online Filing includes I-765 questions, document upload, and submission.
Sample I-765 (Mailing)
Tips, resources, and guides to completing the I-765 Form required for the OPT Application.
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.
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 Pre-Completion OPT
Be sure to consult with an ISSS Advisor at [email protected] before applying for Pre-Completion OPT.