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.
OPT Instructions – updated September 26, 2019
The OPT Instructions include the following information:
- OPT overview – Slide 3
- Application filing period – Slide 7
- Employment requirements while on OPT – Slide 16
- Reporting requirements while on OPT – Slide 21
- Travel while on OPT – Slide 26
- Application instructions – Slide 33
- Other pertinent topics related to OPT
OPT I-20 Request System
For submission dates, please refer to Slide 9 of the OPT Instructions. Students may request an OPT I-20 from OIS as early as 90 days prior to their program end date and up to approximately 45 days after their program end date.
Note: 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.
After receiving the OPT I-20 from OIS, the student must assemble 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.
For guidance on completing the Form I-765 indicated on the checklist, please refer below.
Please refer to USC’s Sample OPT I-765 when completing the OPT application. Be sure to download the most recent versions of the I-765 and instructions from USCIS. Failure to use the most recent version could result in OPT denial.
Immigration regulations require F-1 students on 12-month post-completion OPT to report their employment, address, and telephone information on or after their approved OPT start date. All changes must be reported within 10 days. For guidance on the SEVP Portal, please visit the Study in the States website.
SEVP Portal Issues
If you need to unlock your SEVP Portal account, please select “Reset Password” on SEVP Portal sign-in page. If you need the initial SEVP Portal account creation email to be resent, or need to change your SEVP Portal email address, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, include your name, copy of OPT EAD, preferred email address, and SEVIS ID number. The processing time for these requests is five business days.