Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Register for Spring 2021 OPT workshops -- For juniors, seniors, and graduating students
This workshop is designed to give you an introduction to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) application process. Anyone interested in attending this meeting is welcome. We highly recommend any juniors, seniors, or graduate students to attend prior to last beginning your last semester.
You may attend this workshop after attending Workshop I. This workshop will review in detail the process and timeline for submitting an OPT application. All students who are graduating in the current semester or next semester are encouraged to attend.
Going Virtual for OPT Workshops
In light of the limited face-to-face interactions, OPT Workshops for the remainder of the semester will be done virtually. Use the button under the schedule below to register for your workshop. You will receive an OPT Workshop invite via email. At the time of your workshop, use the calendar invite to join the virtual session through the link in your email.
Workshop I -- Overview
Workshop II -- The Process
|Friday, January 29||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual||Friday, February 5||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual|
|Friday, February 12||2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Virtual||Friday, February 19||2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Virtual|
|Friday, March 5||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual||Friday, March 12||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual|
|Friday, March 19||2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Virtual||Friday, March 26||2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Virtual|
|Friday, April 9||3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.||Virtual||Friday, April 23||3:30 - 4:30 p.m.||Virtual|
|Friday, April 30||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual||Friday, May 7||10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.||Virtual|
How to Request OPT
Step 1. Confirm Graduation or Course Completion.
- Undergraduates -- If you are applying for post-completion OPT, make sure that you qualify for graduation. You should follow all of the steps from your academic unit to officially apply for graduation. If you do not end up graduating as planned, you are still responsible for maintaining your status on OPT and finishing your coursework during your OPT validity period.
- Graduates -- Graduate students may apply for OPT after completing coursework while continuing thesis/dissertation. Most graduate students will wait until they are close to completing their thesis/dissertation to apply for OPT. See tutorial for more information.
Step 2. Review the OPT Tutorial. The tutorial is linked above.
Step 3. Attend Workshop I. Register for and attend Workshop I. See schedule above.
Step 4. Prepare for Workshop II. Prepare the documents listed below. Collect each document to bring with you to Workshop II. You should also bring an editable file of your I-765 to make any changes at Workshop II.
- A copy of your passport biographical page
- A copy of your most recent U.S. visa
- An original check or money order, made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" Verify the current fee amount under "Filing Fees."
- Note: DO NOT sign the back of your check/money order
- A copy of your I-94 number printout, found here.
- Two recent 2" x 2" passport-style photos, taken within the last 30 days, with I-94 number written in pencil on the back
- The completed Form I-765, found here. Follow the OPT Workshop II Tutorial for assistance.
- A copy of any previous EAD cards, if you have received one before
- A job offer letter, if you have already been offered a job
- G-1145 E-Notification of Application
Step 5. Attend Workshop II. Register for and attend Workshop II. Bring all hard copies with you to the workshop and bring an editable file of your I-765.
Step 6. Complete OPT I-20 Request. Complete the OPT I-20 Request form, found here.
- Please allow up to 10 business days for an ISSS advisor to process your request.
Step 7. Mailing/Filing Your Application.
- Once your OPT I-20 is ready, an ISSS advisor will email you indicating your I-20 is ready.
- Collect your I-20.
- Check your I-20. Be sure that you have collected the proper I-20. On page 2, it will clearly indicate that OPT is "requested." Ensure that it is for full-time OPT and that the dates listed are correct. Advising slips attached to I-20s will clearly indicate the purpose for the I-20. Yours should indicate "OPT Application." If you have a doubt about your I-20, please contact ISSS.
- SIGN your I-20.
- Read through the "OPT Application Checklist" sheet that will be attached to your I-20 and complete a final check that you have included and signed all required documents.
- USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the creation of your OPT I-20. Check the date of issuance on page 1 in the School Attestation box.
- Mail your application according to the instructions attached to your I-20 as indicated on the "OPT Application Checklist."
- Optional: complete Form G-1145 to receive text/email notifications when your application is received. Print and attach the form to to the first page of your application. Click here for the form.
Step 8. Check your Receipt Notification. Within several weeks of USCIS receiving your application, a letter will be mailed to your mailing address as it was reported in your I-765 indicating that USCIS has received your application. A receipt number will be given to you along with the official received date. You may check the status of your application with your receipt number here. Please note that USCIS processing times are hard to predict; they could take up to 90 days or more to make a decision.
Step 9. Receive & Check your EAD Card. Your card will be sent to you soon after a decision on your application has been made. Be sure to check the date on your card. Do NOT begin working until you have received your EAD card AND the start date has occurred.
Step 10. Begin Working & Update the SEVP portal. You must begin working according to the rules of your OPT work authorization. Remember, you have 90 days of authorized unemployment as of the start date listed on your EAD card. Once you begin working, you should log into your SEVP portal and report the necessary personal and employer information.
- After receiving your EAD card, you will get an email from "email@example.com" to log into your SEVP account within 14 days of receiving the email.
- SEVP Portal User Guide
- SEVP Portal Videos
- SEVP Portal Reference Sheet