2 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.” C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10)(ii)What is OPT??
3 OPT Definition1 year of work authorizationMust be in major field of study1 year for each higher degree level
4 OPT Eligibility 90 days 60 days Must be in F-1 status with one year completed as a full-time studentEligible to apply 90 days prior to completion date or 60 days after90 days60 days
5 Packet Materials Green sheet Blue sheet Checklist, hints, and guidelinesBlue sheetOPT application & academic adviser verificationI-765 and G-1145 (white sheets)Official application to USCISYellow sheetBasic info & FAQ (frequently asked questions)
6 Blue Sheet This form will not be sent to USCIS Fill out info on front Use NON-Miami addressUse current mailing addressCompletion dateUG—date program requirements are met (last day of semester)Grads—date coursework is completed OR thesis/dissertation is finished
7 Requesting an OPT Start Date It may be harder than you think!!
8 Date RequirementsStart date must be within the 60 days AFTER degree completionExample:If completing on May 6:Start date can be anywhere from May – July 5
9 Start DateOPT officially starts when card is received AND start date arrives3 months is the standard time for USCIS to process an OPT applicationIf you want to start right after graduation, apply earlyApplyUSCIS approvesReceive OPT cardStart working!
10 Keep in Mind… Possible to have a start date LATER than requested Example:Date requested is May 9—packet is sent April 15Application won’t be processed until after requested start date so…New start date will be the date OPT application is approvedNOTE: If application is approved prior to requested start date, work authorization will begin on requested start dateOPT start date = when days of unemployment begin90 days of unemployment begin accruing immediately if not employedOnly 90 days total for duration of OPT!!
11 Academic Advisor Verification Turn the blue sheet over!Your Academic Advisor MUST complete and sign this side before you apply for OPTThey are verifying when you will complete your degree requirements
12 Form I-765 Official application that is sent to USCIS Write neatly in blue or black pen, or:Fillable PDF form on USCIS websiteName—EXACTLY as appears on passportFamily: ALL CAPS (HEIDEMANN)First: MollyMiddle: if listed on passportExample: HEIDEMANN Molly
13 Form I-765 #2—leave blank in most cases #3—address where USCIS will mail OPT cardOIE address recommended#4-9—you can figure this out!#10—1-94 card number (11 digits)#11—previous employment authorization?OPT or work visaNOT on-campus work or CPT#12-14—most recent entry to USDate of entryPort of entry (airport)Manner of entry (usually “F-1 student”)
14 Form I-765 #15—current status is “F-1 student” (EVERYONE!) #16– code # (green page has answer or will be filled in already)#17—leave this blankSign correctly!Between lines or will NOT show up on OPT cardPhone #--don’t worry they won’t call!Leave bottom part blank (under “Signature of Person Preparing Form…)
15 Form G-1145OPTIONALIf you complete this form, USCIS will send you a text message and/or when your application is receivedYou will still receive a paper receipt notice in the mailNo extra fee for this service
16 Passport photos 2 passport style photos must be: Taken within past 30 daysIdenticalIn small plastic baggy (“snack size”)Lightly print name and I-94# on back sideGaskill Hall Print Center$5Check out this website:
17 I-20s Please bring all original I-20s They won’t be sent in to USCISWe would like to review themYou should make sure you still have themA new I-20 will be processed at your OPT intakeIt will have your OPT recommendation on itYou will get to take the original with you that dayA copy will get sent to USCIS with your application
18 Copies of documents You must bring copies of: Your passport identity page (with name, photo, and expiration date) – include extension/renewal page if applicableYour I-94 card (front AND back)Any previous employment authorization documents (if you answered “yes” to #11 on the I-765)
19 Fee The fee for applying for OPT is $380 It is non-refundable Bring a check or money order made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security”If using a check, make sure the account is open and there are sufficient funds in it!If the check has an old address, cross it out and write your correct address
20 Yellow Sheet READ THE YELLOW SHEET (OPT basics and FAQs)! It contains helpful information and frequently asked questions (including information about traveling while on OPT!)If you have questions, you can ask them at your OPT intake appointment
21 Next StepsGather all of the materials on the checklist and complete your forms (don’t forget your academic advisor’s signature!)Call OIE ( ) to schedule an OPT intake appointmentBring all of your materials to the appointmentOIE will submit your application to USCIS for youIf you use our address, we will notify you by when your receipt notice and OPT card arriveKeep OIE updated on your address and your employer’s name and address
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