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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

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Presentation on theme: "Optional Practical Training (OPT)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Problems Solutions Duke Visa Services

2 Presenters Princess Solomon Claudia De La Cruz Dylan Sugiyama
Wake Technical Community College Claudia De La Cruz Duke Visa Services Dylan Sugiyama

3 What is OPT? 12-month work authorization per each higher educational level Benefit of F-1 status Related to major area of study Pre-completion OPT - before graduation (may be part-time or full-time) Post-completion OPT - after graduation (must be employed at least 20 hours per week) 17-month STEM extension - additional OPT for STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Duke Visa Services

4 How to apply for OPT Form I-765 – completed
Optional Practical Training Application Recommendation letter from academic advisor $ check or money order made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (check must have pre-printed name, cannot be starter check) 2 passport size photos (see USCIS specifications) All I-20 forms Passport Visa stamp I-94 admissions record Previous EAD (if applicable) Copy of student’s degree reflecting the conferred degree and major field of study (STEM extension only) Duke Visa Services

5 OPT Cap gap Occurs when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization will expire in the present fiscal year before their approved H-1B employment will begin on October 1st. Good News!! The Cap Gap allows F-1 OPT students with an approved or receipted H-1B petition to continue working until the H-1B October 1 start date takes effect. Applies only to “cap subject” employers.

6 Other helpful links Study in the States NAFSA Duke Visa Services
NAFSA Duke Visa Services

7 Problem: Solution: Students calling customer service line to expedite processing. CIS may interpret as an attempt to change the application to an ‘economic hardship’ application and issue an RFE. Poses serious delays Make student aware that there is no way to expedite processing of an I-765 application and by calling they delay the adjudication process even more Duke Visa Services

8 Problem: Solution: Checks that bounce: delays processing greatly; may or may not receive an invoice, if not, the application will be denied and a new application will have to be filed delaying adjudication even more Make sure there is money in the account or use cashier’s check or money order Duke Visa Services

9 Use a cashier’s check or money order
Problem: Solution: Check is rejected (i.e. account holder’s information not printed on personal check) Use a cashier’s check or money order Duke Visa Services

10 Problem: Solution: RFEs for transfer students applying for pre-completion OPT before the end of their first full year at your school. CIS thinks they aren’t eligible since they don’t meet the one-year in F-1 status requirement even though they were in F status before starting at your school Include copies of I-20s from previous school(s) and have the regulations ready to quote if you do have to respond to an RFE Duke Visa Services

11 Problem: Solution: Lost cards – never received even though the online system shows that the application was received Can try requesting that they issue a new card through NAFSA fax or , but sometimes they refuse and say the student has to apply all over and pay another application fee. Another reason to have cards sent to the school Duke Visa Services

12 Card received after work starts Make student aware of processing times
Problem: Solution: Card received after work starts Make student aware of processing times Advise student to attend information session(s) Advise student to apply earlier next time Duke Visa Services

13 Problem: Solution: STEM extension applications: RFE received because the E-verify user # and employer name do not match Make sure student is listing the full legal name of the employer (the one used when the business was registered in E-Verify) Duke Visa Services

14 Review application carefully before filing
Problem: Solution: Applications returned due to minor errors (i.e. not checking ‘request to accept employment’ box Review application carefully before filing Provide student with detailed instructions if they file the application themselves Duke Visa Services

15 Problem: Solution: Connection between the job and the student’s major field of study not clear Have the employer write a letter explaining how the student’s degree was a factor in the employer’s decision to hire the student, and how the student is using that degree in performing the job. Duke Visa Services

16 Student applies for post-completion OT but does not graduate
Problem: Solution: Student applies for post-completion OT but does not graduate If the application is still pending, contact TSC to request that the application be withdrawn. DSO withdraws OPT recommendation in SEVIS. If OPT is already approved, can still request to withdraw the application (doubtful), or student can work part-time until all degree requirements are completed. 90 ay unemployment rule still applies Duke Visa Services

17 Problem: Solution: Cap gap: SEVIS not updated with the H-1B information; therefore, can’t process the cap gap. Request a data fix in SEVIS and include documentation (H-1B receipt/approval notice) Duke Visa Services

18 Errors on cards or receipts (incorrect dates, names, DOB, etc.)
Problem: Solution: Errors on cards or receipts (incorrect dates, names, DOB, etc.) Use NAFSA fax or at TSC. If student needs to begin work, use the card to get I-9’ed then return the card to TSC for correction and reissuance NAFSA: Fax (214) Duke Visa Services

19 Students not complying with employment reporting requirements
Problem: Solution: Students not complying with employment reporting requirements Use the SEVIS alert list. Educate students on the need to comply with the requirements and the risks inherent in noncompliance Duke Visa Services

20 Lost/Undelivered cards due to addresses
Problem: Solution: Lost/Undelivered cards due to addresses Use school’s address to avoid these issues Be ready for complaints if cards get lost in the school’s mailroom. Contact your mailroom to establish a procedure Duke Visa Services

21 I-797 Receipt Notice not received
Problem: Solution: I-797 Receipt Notice not received Have student call customer service number to request one Duke Visa Services

22 Problem: Solution: Photos do not meet CIS guidelines (i.e. wrong size, background color too dark, etc.) Provide student with photo guidelines and request new photos if in doubt Duke Visa Services

23 Problem: Solution: Application taking longer than 90 days due to background checks. Especially for students from Iran, Pakistan, etc. None, unfortunately Duke Visa Services

24 Request a data fix in SEVIS.
Problem: Solution: SEVIS not being updated once TSC makes a correction on the card (especially dates), so the card has the corrected dates but SEVIS still has incorrect information Request a data fix in SEVIS. Duke Visa Services

25 Travel after graduation
Problem: Solution: Travel after graduation Not encouraged until OPT is approved and student has the EAD card in hand. Student must have an offer letter to present at POE upon re-entry Duke Visa Services

26 Problem: Solution: RFE because the DSO did not confirm that practical training will be in the student’s field of study. Include a note in the comments section of the OPT request stating that the training will “be in the field of study” or “be in the field of [Major]”. Duke Visa Services

27 Problem: Solution: OPT application not filed within 30 days of the date on which the DSO made the OPT recommendation in SEVIS School files the OPT application rather than giving it to the student to file Duke Visa Services


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