Optional Practical Training
Due to COVID-19, ISSS’s current processing time is 10 business days. Please note the following regarding your OPT application:
1. Your OPT application must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the I-20 issuance date (see date next to ISSS blue signature on page 1 of I-20).
2. Be sure to sign and date your OPT I-20 (bottom of page 1) and submit a photocopy with your application.
3. During the COVID-19 outbreak USCIS will temporarily accept a copy of the I-765. You still need to sign the original I-765 (in black ink only) but can send a copy of it with your mailed application. You must retain the original signed copy for your records.
4. Your OPT application needs to be mailed to USCIS from within the US.
For more information, please reference the COVID-19 frequently asked questions.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an off campus work benefit of F-1 visa holders. The OPT application process is detailed and for this reason, ISSS offers OPT Workshops. It is important to know that the process for applying for OPT can take 3-4 months, and students should plan ahead to use this work authorization benefit.
For more information about OPT please read the OPT Frequently Asked Questions and attend an OPT workshop. OPT applications will not be accepted by ISSS until the student has attended a workshop within one year of ISSS receiving the application.
After applying for OPT there are different reporting and travel requirements that you will need to be aware of in order to stay in status. Learn more about Employment Reporting, Updating Your Address, and Traveling while on OPT.
If you have a STEM eligible degree, here is more information on the application process.