To be eligible for any of the Employment Options listed below, you must currently be on an F-1 visa and have studied at least nine months in the United States at a higher education institution on a valid non-immigrant visa (e.g., F, J, H, E, L, M)
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined in the regulations as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study". You need to apply for OPT through Intercultural and International Student Services. For an application to apply Click HERE. For more information, please contact our office.
A person who has been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year is eligible for OPT. Eligible F-1 students may engage in optional training under any of the following conditions:
You are eligible to apply for OPT 90 days prior to your program end date, or within the 60 day grace period after graduation. Please see our office for details.
You need to apply for OPT through Intercultural and International Student Services. For an application to apply and more information please contact our office.
You do not need a job offer to apply, but you are expected to work or be seeking employment in your field of study. It is advisable to obtain a job offer before submitting your request for OPT. It is difficult to recover all or part of a period of OPT once an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card has been issued.
When you receive the EAD and the beginning date of employment authorization (shown on the EAD) has arrived. Please see sample.
All students on OPT must report to Intercultural and International Student Services at CSB/SJU:
Students on post-completion OPT may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment under the initial 12-month period of OPT. Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.
Yes. You may work for more than one employer and/or change employers as long as the work is related to your field of study and education level.
Yes, you may travel outside the USA and then be readmitted to resume your employment for the remainder of the period authorized on your EAD. Your I-20 must be endorsed within the preceding 6 months, you must have a valid F-1 visa, a valid passport or travel document and your EAD must be unexpired. It is also wise to carry a letter from your employer, confirming that you are working.
Yes. You will need a new I-20 for the next program of study, and complete the USCIS procedure for moving to a "new level of studies" or the procedure for school transfer. Please contact me for advice if necessary.
Yes, but it must be a different degree level.
Reporting requirements while on OPT:
Application Fee: The cost of filling the I-765 is $380. Personal checks or money orders must be in the exact amount payable to US Department of Homeland Security. Personal checks are preferable to money orders, because they can more easily be traced in case of problems.
You may apply for full-time OPT 90 days before completion of your course of study or within the 60 day grace period after graduation. Please remember there is a 12 month maximum timeframe except for STEM eligible students.