Post-completion OPT is a type of work authorization for F-1 students who are completing a bachelor’s or graduate degree in the US. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for employment experience in a student’s field of study. OPT is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Students who are interested in applying for OPT are required to read the OPT Instructions below.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Effective February 12, 2018, there will be changes to the Optional Practical Training I-20 Request Process. Click to read more.
The OPT Instructions include the following information:
- OPT eligibility requirements
- Application timeline
- Filing deadline
- Form I-765 instructions
- Mailing instructions
- Travel while on OPT
- Reporting requirements while on OPT
- Other pertinent topics related to OPT
OPT I-20 Request System
Spring 2018 graduates can submit their OPT I-20 Request as early as February 12, 2018.
- Students currently on OPT cannot use the OPT I-20 Request System for I-20 Reprint or travel signature requests. This system is used only for initial OPT/STEM OPT Extension/Cap-Gap Extension I-20 requests.
- IMPORTANT: FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED AN ACADEMIC ADVISOR SIGNATURE ON THE 12 MONTH OPT I-20 REQUEST FORM
- The system will require you to upload documents to finalize your request to OIS. PLEASE NOTE that you will be able to upload the already signed 12 Month OPT I-20 Request Form instead of the system generated Graduation Verification Form.
Once students receive their OPT I-20 from OIS, they can assemble the OPT application packet and mail it to USCIS for processing. Refer to the OPT Application Checklist for a list of required documents for the OPT application.
F-1 students on OPT are required to report their employment information and address changes to OIS. Students can inform OIS of the changes using the online OPT Employment Reporting System once they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the mail, the start date on the EAD has been reached, and they have a job offer. All employment and address changes will be updated in SEVIS accordingly. In addition, OIS may share students’ employment information with the USC Career Center for institutional reporting requirements; however, outside of SEVIS reporting requirements, students’ individual identities will not be shared.