Post-Completion OPT

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

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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 29
  • Application instructions – Slide 36
  • Other pertinent topics related to OPT

OPT I-20 Request System

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Effective immediately, all processed OPT I-20s will be mailed to students at the U.S. address provided in the OPT I-20 Request System. Delivery will take approximately 7 business days after the application is processed to arrive at your residence. This type of mailing does not offer a tracking number.

  • New OPT I-20 requests: Please enter your U.S. mailing address fully and accurately in the OPT I-20 Request System. Remember to include house/building/apartment/unit numbers, if applicable. This is the address OIS will use to mail your OPT I-20.

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.


OPT Application Checklist

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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.


Sample OPT I-765

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Important: Starting on April 20, 2020, USCIS will only accept OPT applications filed with the 12/26/19 edition of the Form I-765. Applications received by USCIS before April 20, 2020 can use the 5/31/18 edition of the Form I-765. USCIS may reject or deny applications filed with the incorrect form.

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.


OPT Employment Reporting Requirements

Immigration regulations require F-1 students on post-completion OPT to report their employment, employment relation to major, US address, and telephone information on or after their approved OPT start date. All updates must be reported within 10 days.

How to report OPT employment:

Step 1: Complete the OIS OPT Employment Relation to Major Form
  • Submit one form for each employer (i.e. if you have multiple employers or you change employers)
Step 2: Email completed form to opt@usc.edu
  • In email subject line, write: OPT Employment Relation: Last Name, First Name, SEVIS ID #
  • Attach completed OPT Employment Relation to Major Form as a PDF file
  • Submission of the OPT Employment Relation to Major Form to opt@usc.edu will serve as the confirmation that you have complied with the reporting requirements; OIS will contact you only if your form is incomplete
Step 3: Login to the SEVP Portal and update employment information
  • Click to access the SEVP Portal
    • If your OPT is approved, you will receive the SEVP Portal account activation email from SEVIS on or after your OPT EAD start date – SEVIS does not allow portal access prior to the EAD start date
  • Add or update employment, US address, and telephone information
  • Copy and paste the text from “Section B – Employment Relation” from the OIS OPT Employment Relation to Major From to to the corresponding box in the SEVP Portal – the template has been provided for your convenience
  • Having SEVP Portal Issues?
    • If you need to unlock your SEVP Portal account, please select “Reset Password” on the 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 ois@usc.edu
      • 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

Additional resources: