Post-Completion OPT is authorization that is granted to F-1 students after completion of their degree programs. Students authorized to participate in post-completion OPT must work full-time, more than 20 hours a week.
OPT is authorized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Processing could take up to 3 months after USCIS receives the application. However, we strongly recommend applying for OPT 90 days prior to your degree completion.
You are eligible to apply for OPT if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently in valid F-1 status
- You have been enrolled full-time in F-1 status for at least one academic year ( i.e. fall and spring semesters)
- You have not previously been approved for 12 months of OPT at the same degree level
- You have not used 12 months or more of Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
To avoid delay or denial of your Post-completion OPT, please submit your application in timely manner and understand the following:
- You may submit your Post-completion OPT application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) no earlier than 90 days before the semester’s last day of class.
- Your complete application and required documents must be received by USCIS within 30 days from the date your I-20 was issued by OISSS with the Post-completion OPT recommendation.
- Your application will be DENIED if USCIS receives it after 30 days when the Post-completion OPT I-20 was issued.
How to Apply for Post-completion OPT
Students are strongly encouraged to apply for OPT as soon as possible. You may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before you complete your program of studies. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. It may take up to three months for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process your application.
Submit the items listed below to OISSS to apply for OPT:
- Completed Optional Practical Training (OPT) Request Form.
- Form I-765 Appication Fee of $410. You can pay the application fee by either: (1) Check or Money Order: Make check or money order for $410, payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. (2) Credit Card: Complete Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction and mail the form with your application.
- Completed Form I-765 TYPED and SIGNED in BLACK INK. Enter the following OPT eligibility code on item #27: (c) (3) (B). See Sample Form I-765 for Post-completion OPT how to complete the form.
- Completed Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.
- Photocopies of all previously issued Form I-20s, including I-20s from other schools
- Photocopies of any previous Employment Authorization Documents (front and back) if applicable.
- Copy of electronic Form I-94 or copy of the paper I-94 (front and back)
- Photocopy of the passport biographic page with photo and expiration date.
- Photocopy of your visa page
- Two identical passport-style photos taken within 30 days (Using a pencil or a pen lightly print your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo)
Mailing Your Complete Application to USCIS
Please mail your application packet to the USCIS Lockbox mailing address below serving the state you listed on Form I-765 as place of residence. USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the date printed on the new OPT I-20. We strongly encourage you to send your application to USCIS by express mail.
Here are what you must send to USCIS in the order indicated below:
- I-765 Application fee of $410. Paperclip check or money order on top or Form G-1450 if paying with credit card
- Two (2) US Passport-style Photos. Paperclip them on top of the documents
- Original completed Form G-1145
- Original completed Form I-765
- Photocopy of new Post-completion I-20 (pages 1 and 2) signed and dated on page 1.
- Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s (pages 1 and 2 or pages 1 and 3 if you have the old I-20 design).
- Photocopy of any previous Employment Authorization Document (s)(EAD) (front and back) if applicable.
- Copy of electronic I-94, Arrival/Departure Form or copy of I-94 card (front and back)
- Photocopy of a valid passport biographical page
- Photocopy of F-1 visa (citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt).
If you live in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands, (mail your application to one of the USCIS mailing addresses below):
- USCIS, PO Box 21281, Phoenix, AZ 85036 (by U.S. Postal Service deliveries)
- USCIS, Attn: AOS, 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034 (by Express mail and courier deliveries)
If you live in: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia, (mail your application to one of the USCIS mailing addresses below):
- USCIS, PO Box 660867, Dallas, TX 75266 (by U.S. Postal Service deliveries)
- USCIS, Attn: AOS, 2501 S. State Hwy. 121, Business Suite 400, Lewisville, TX 75067 (by Express mail and courier deliveries)
Types of Acceptable Employment
Students may accept any of these employment types, as long as it is related to the student’s field of study and the student works for at least 20 hours or more per week:
- Multiple Employers: Students may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to the student’s degree program.
- Short-Term Multiple Employers (performing artists): Students such as musicians and other type of performing artists may work for multiple short term employers (gigs). Students are asked to keep a list of all employer’s name, address, dates of employment, and the duration.
- Self-employed Business Owners: Students can start their own businesses and be self-employed. They must be able to prove that they have the proper business licenses and that they are actively engaged in a business related to their degree programs.
- Contract Employment (Work for hire): Students can work as independent contractors. Students must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract period and the name and address of the contracting company if requested by DHS.
- Employment through Agencies or Consulting Firms: Students can be employed through employment agencies or consulting firms, but must be able to provide evidence showing they worked an average of at least 20 hours per week while employed by the agencies or the firms.
- Paid Employment: Students may work at 20 hours per week when on post-completion OPT or full time.
- Unpaid Employment/ Volunteer Work: Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns in their fields of study, so long as it the practice does not violate any labor laws. The work must be at least 20 hours per week for a student on post-completion OPT. They must be prepared to provide evidence from the employer to verify that they worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of employment.
OPT Reporting Requirements
All F-1 students on OPT are required to report within 10 days to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) the following information:
Warning! If you DO NOT report your OPT employment information to OISSS or are UNEMPLOYED for more than 90 days after the OPT start date printed on your EAD card, the U.S. government will automatically terminate your F-1 SEVIS record. A terminated SEVIS record cancels your OPT authorization, F-1 status and requires you to leave the U.S.
Change of residential address, email address and phone number
Report any change in your U.S. residential address, email address, and phone number directly to your SEVIS record using the SEVP Portal. Be sure that the local address you report reflects where you are currently living.
Employment information to report
Any time you start, stop or change employment, you must report the information directly to your SEVIS record using the SEVP Portal. You will receive an email with instructions on creating an SEVP Portal account once your OPT is approved. This email will come from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not see the email, check your spam or junk mail folder, otherwise email us at email@example.com. If you cannot report the information in SEVIS, please report it to our online form.
Leave the U.S. and end your OPT early
If you have decided to return to your home country and not use your OPT authorization, please complete the OPT Withdrawal Form to inform us about your plan. We will complete your SEVIS record and report your departure from the United States.
Change in immigration status while in the U.S.
If you have changed your immigration status, please complete the Change of Status Reporting Form to inform us about your change of status approval notice. We will work with USCIS to appropriately complete your SEVIS record.