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University of the Pacific OPT Workshop Office for International Programs and Services www.pacific.edu/ips This Immigration Information is a reference tool.

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Presentation on theme: "University of the Pacific OPT Workshop Office for International Programs and Services www.pacific.edu/ips This Immigration Information is a reference tool."— Presentation transcript:

1 University of the Pacific OPT Workshop Office for International Programs and Services This Immigration Information is a reference tool designed to address the complicated United States immigration laws and procedures in support of International Students and their application for Optical Practical Training (OPT). The following information is a basic guide to help understand and interpret immigration laws and regulations as they relate to foreign students. It is your obligation to read and follow the instructions given by USCIS at We do not intend to represent the U.S. government in this process.http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765instr.pdf

2 International Programs and Services Agenda OPT Definition Eligibility Duration Exceptions to 12mo rule Employment Requirements What constitutes Employment When OPT can end INS Form I-765 Procedures for Applying Completed Application After submission Example EAD Things to remember Mailing Information Photo information Reference Links Download I-765 at:

3 International Programs and Services OPT Definition: Optional Practical Training PRE-COMPLETION OPT: Opt that is authorized to be worked, and related to your major area of study, while attending full-time and before the students program end date, prior to degree completion. Worked at ½ rate or 20 hours a week or less. POST-COMPLETION OPT: Temporary employment for practical training, and directly related to your major area of study, after completion of a degree, for a maximum of one year (12 months) at more than 20 + hrs a week. All Standard OPT must be completed within 14 months of your program end date. Exception: Full-time is allowed during official breaks

4 International Programs and Services Eligibility To be eligible for OPT you must: Have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time student for one full academic year before applying. Have a valid passport Be present in the U.S. for the previous 1 year before applying unless you are enrolled in a study abroad program. However applying from a 3 rd country in your last semester you will be faced with logistical issues. Cant use a foreign address to correspond, complete the I-765 etc. You have not used full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for one year or more. F1 border commuters, Canadians, are eligible only after completion of studies. (Maintained your F1 nonimmigrant status per SEVIS regulations) (Cannot be within 6 months of expiration).

5 International Programs and Services Duration 12-months cumulative maximum per education level. Example: A Masters degree student graduates & is eligible for 12 months OPT. After completion of the 12 months of OPT this person enrolls in a Ph.D. program. Upon completion of Ph.D. program is eligible for another 12 months OPT. Graduation date for MA/PhD is the date the Thesis defense is scheduled. This begins the 60 day count for purposes of OPT

6 International Programs and Services Exceptions to the 12-month rule Part-time pre-completion OPT, 20 hours per week or less. Example: A student who uses 6 (six) months of part-time pre-completion OPT is eligible for the remaining post-completion balance of 9 additional full-time months. * Part-time OPT is calculated at ½ rate of full-time or every 2 part-time months counts as 1 full-time post-completion month. A one-time extension of 17 months is available for certain STEM degree recipients (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) Cap Gap Extension of OPT employment or extension of stay may be available to students whose employers have applied for an H1B working visa. Cap Gap is meant to cover the period of time between when OPT ends and the H1B begins.

7 International Programs and Services Employment Requirements No offer of employment is required to apply for OPT. However, you cannot work except during the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) issued period. During your EAD issued period try not to become unemployed for more than 90 days. You must report unemployment or change in employers within 10 days to a DSO at IPS. If your EAD begins on July 1 st 2014 you cannot work before that date. If you EAD ends July 1 st 2015 you must stop working. (This includes weekend days in the count)

8 International Programs and Services What Constitutes Employment Regular Paid Employment Payment by multiple short-term employers (Musicians/performing artists) Work for Hire (Based on a contract specific period – Web design, Consulting) Self-Employment (Licensed business owner) Employment through an Agency (Temp services) Volunteers or Unpaid Interns (must be minimum 20hrs week) ** All of these choices must be associated to your degree

9 International Programs and Services When OPT Ends All Standard OPT (pre/post) must be completed within 14- months following the completion of study. Exception is the 17- month extension for STEM degrees or Cap Gap. Failure to apply OPT within 60 days after the students graduation or program end date, whichever comes first. Start the application 60 to 90 days before graduation to ensure it is processed in time. You transfer to another school and begin study. If you fail to maintain your F1 immigration status while on OPT.

10 International Programs and Services Travel Students who have an EAD card for post-completion OPT, and evidence of a job or job offer, are allowed to leave and re-enter. Students whose EAD card has not yet been issued (OPT application not approved yet) are allowed to re- enter the U.S. to resume search for employment if they have proof of application receipt. If your post-completion OPT has been approved & you leave the U.S. before getting a job or job offer, your OPT ends. USCIS provides no guarantee of re-entry. Students who have applied for OPT who do not have a U.S. job or job offer but who plan to leave and re-enter are taking a risk.

11 International Programs and Services Form – I-765 Download I-765 at: First thing on form: I am applying for: Check an appropriate box – Please check ONLY ONE box. Permission to accept employment - if you are a new applicant. Replacement - if you lost your EAD card. Renewal of my permission to accept employment - if you are applying for a STEM extension. ADDRESS: Make sure you use an address that you can receive the card at or use our address. If you move the post office will not forward mail from the federal government. This could delay your OPT start date.

12 International Programs and Services Form – I-765 #16 Who may file form I-765 This section is asking for a code – What type of OPT are you applying for? F1 Student: (verify codes – pg 2-3 of I-765 instructions) OPT Pre-CompletionNo offer of employment needed (c)(3)(A) OPT Post-CompletionNo offer needed (c)(3)(B)

13 International Programs and Services Form – I-765 Certification section: Make sure your signature stays within the lines on the form

14 International Programs and Services Procedures for Applying for OPT Attend the mandatory OPT workshop; Complete the OPT application; Complete the OPT Advisor certification form; Complete the I-765 Employment Authorization form; Photocopy of Form I-94 (front & back of cardstock/electronic form); Make copies of all issued I-20s; Copies of Visa & Passport biographic page, and any previous EAD card; Two identical Passport Photographs; I-765 form with filing fee $ (Check or money order payable to: US Department of Homeland Security.); Remember to sign the attendance sheet

15 International Programs and Services Procedures for Applying for OPT, 2 Make an appointment with a DSO in IPS; Bring all forms and copies of documents; and include : Proof of academic standing i.e. course summary with grades, transcript of record etc. (we copy everything) The DSO will evaluate your application and decide if an OPT recommendation should be done. If approved a new I-20 will be issued for your application showing the OPT recommendation. *Paperclip all documents together*

16 International Programs and Services Complete Application includes (in this order) Cover letter (describing type of application: part-time or full time) Optional form G-1145 : allows for electronic notification of application/petition acceptance. (Clipped to I-765) I-765 form with filing fee $ (Check or money order payable to:US Department of Homeland Security.) ; Photocopy of Form I-94 (front & back of cardstock/electronic form); Copy of SEVIS I-20 (new) showing OPT recommendation; Copy of biographical page in Passport & Visa w/photo (Copy must be clear), Copy of last EAD (if you have one), and copies of all I-20s ; 2 Passport Photos (no older than 6 months); Lightly print your SEVIS number & Name in pencil on the back of photos Transcripts and/or other documentation (Soc Sec Card) Completed OPT application; Completed OPT Advisor certification form

17 International Programs and Services After submitting your application USCIS will send you a application receipt. * Keep this for your records its the only proof you have of the date your application was received. If USCIS approves the application, it will issue an EAD. If USCIS wants more information, they can send a request for evidence (RFE). If ineligibility is determined, USCIS should indicate the reason for denial in a written notice sent to the student. If 90 days has passed, from receipt date, and you have not received your EAD you may apply for interim employment authorization document – IEAD Using the Infopass online appointment manager.

18 International Programs and Services Example EAD And remember: You MUST submit a photocopy of your EAD or IEAD to IPS. USCIS REQUIRES that a copy of this document be kept in your file.

19 International Programs and Services Things to remember The date(s) you request on your application for OPT may not be the dates assigned on your EAD. The EAD (Employment Authorization Document) lists the official dates you are able to work. The application packet & all associated documents must be filed within 30 days of DSOs SEVIS recommendation. We will print a new I-20 reflecting OPT request. (One of the IPS DSO staff must recommend you in SEVIS for OPT) You only have 60 days from the date you finish your degree until the time you must leave the country. These days are the extra 2 months (14 months to complete OPT – 12 are working) If you do not have an application receipt from USCIS dated within that 60 days you are not eligible for the temporary extension. If you become unemployed contact us immediately to report unemployment periods. (Multiple employers, work for hire, volunteering or work directly related to their program of study)

20 International Programs and Services Things to remember part 2 You will compromise your future immigration benefits if you do not stay within the requirements of OPT/SEVIS. This could include termination of your SEVIS record You must report changes in employment or if you become unemployed to a DSO within 10 business days so you are not considered out of status and reported. If you travel on OPT you may be able to return IF you have already been working and are returning to a job. You should always carry your EAD, proof of your current OPT position (employer letter), Visa & Passport, and your endorsed I-20 while traveling. Finally, you now have an additional 60 days after OPT ends to prepare for departure.

21 International Programs and Services Filing addresses: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries: USCIS PO Box Phoenix, AZ For Express mail and courier deliveries: USCIS Attn: AOS 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S Suite 100 Phoenix, AZ ** IPS only provides a cover letter if we mail the packet. (Cost is $6.00 minimum fee with receipt requested) ** Application must be mailed within 30 days of our recommendation

22 International Programs and Services Reference information: Download I-765 at: I-765 #16 Codes: Photo requirements: html html STEM degree info: f6d1a/?vgnextoid=9a3d3dd87aa19110VgnVCM aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM f3d6a1 RCRD f6d1a/?vgnextoid=9a3d3dd87aa19110VgnVCM aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM f3d6a1 RCRD Documents for IPS approval: In UOP website search box type, OPT Interim EAD card application (if you have not received your EAD card within 90 days):

23 International Programs and Services Thank you and please contact IPS if you have any questions. If you are completing this workshop online – please fill out the certification on the next slide.

24 International Programs and Services OPT Online Certification Full Name Student ID #Date Completed Signature 6/13/2014 to: This Immigration Information is a reference tool designed to address the complicated United States immigration laws and procedures in support of International Students and their application for Optical Practical Training (OPT). The following information is a basic guide to help understand and interpret immigration laws and regulations as they relate to foreign students. It is your obligation to read and follow the instructions given by USCIS at We do not intend to represent the U.S. government in this process.


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