Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is Optional Practical Training?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status are permitted by the USCIS to work towards getting practical training to complement their field of studies once they have completed their program of studies.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for OPT, F-1 students must:

  • currently be in valid F-1 status
  • have completed two semesters of full-time enrollment prior to OPT start date

This a time line that shows all the steps of the OPT process, from application to completion.  These steps are crucial for a successful and uneventful OPT experience! PLEASE take them into account ALWAYS!

Step 1

90 DAYS BEFORE YOUR LAST DAY OF CLASS

  • Complete Online OPT Workshop
  • Compile ALL required documents-See OPT Checklist
  • Make an appointment with an ISSS advisor
  • Meet with ISSS advisor to prepare OPT submission
  • Mail envelope to USCIS (Your status  in USCIS will show as “pending”) –Waiting period- visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/  Select I-765 and then either Potomac or Texas Service Center. 
  • When you get the Notice of Receipt (I-797 Form) you MUST notify your ISSS advisor via email.

Step 2

ONCE YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL/YOUR EAD

  • Once you get your EAD card, you will receive an email to create an account in the SEVP portal
  • Notify ISSS immediately
  • Receive a new I-20
  • Start/Continue looking for a job (related to your field)

Step 3

WHEN YOU GET A JOB

  • Notify ISSS- Use the OPT Validation Form and submit related documents
  • Receive a new I-20
  • Update SEVP Portal (your responsibility!)

IF YOU CHANGE JOBS:

  • Update SEVP Portal (your responsibility!)
  • Notify ISSS immediately
  • Receive a new I-20

Step 4

IF YOU ARE IN A STEM FIELD AND WANT TO EXTEND OPT

90 DAYS BEFORE YOUR OPT ENDS:

  • Visit the STEM OPT Extension section of this website
  • Make an appointment to meet with an ISSS Advisor or contact ISSS via email if you are not in MIami.
  • Receive a new I-20
  • Mail application to USCIS
  • Stay in touch with ISSS for the duration of your STEM OPT 
How to apply for OPT

In order to apply for CPT, you will need to make an appointment with an ISSS Advisor, complete the OPT Training Workshop and bring all the documentation required when you meet. (If you do not have ALL the documents, ISSS cannot start the process). Please read al the information in this presentation very carefully and make sure you understand your responsibilities as an F-1 Visa Holder. Click on the photo on the right or the link below to access the OPT Training Workshop.

More important information

Depending on employment option, additional requirements may apply. You are advised to view the F-1 Employment Online Workshop for detailed information for each employment option, including application procedures and documentation.

MANDATORY FOR ALL THOSE WHO RECEIVE THEIR EAD CARD                                                     

Please read this Important OPT Information to learn more.

Should you still have further questions after viewing the online workshop, you are welcome to schedule an appointment to meet with an ISSS advisor or come in during Walk-In Wednesdays.

 

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