Presentation on theme: "What is OPT? Optional Practical Training An opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience 2 Types of OPT:"— Presentation transcript:
What is OPT? Optional Practical Training An opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience 2 Types of OPT: Pre-completion and Post-completion Work permit for up to one year (365 days) Automatic benefit of your F-1 status (assuming no previous problems with your status)
Who can apply for OPT? Students who have been in F-1 status for at least 9 months (two semesters) Students at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level Students who are currently maintaining their status at the time of application Students who intend to work in their field of study (majors only—NOT minors)
How do I apply for OPT? Pick up an OPT application packet at the ISAO Submit the completed application and all supporting documents to the ISAO ISAO will review application and create a new I-20 Mail application immediately – USCIS must receive application within 30 days of the date on your new I-20
When can I apply for OPT? During the final term (semester or summer) of your degree program Apply no more than 90 days before your program end date (graduation) Apply early! – USCIS can take up to 90 days (3 months) to process OPT applications
When can I apply for OPT? The earliest you can apply for OPT is 90 days before your program end date (graduation). The ISAO’s last day to submit application for review: For December Graduates graduates: November 28, 2014 For May Graduates: April 17, 2015 Submitting your application earlier is highly recommended – The earlier, the better! Date of graduation90 days before graduation December 13, 2014September 14, 2014 May 9, 2015February 10, 2015
The OPT Application Filing fee: $380 (a check made payable to DHS / USCIS) 2 identical passport-style photos taken recently: must be different from passport and visa photos with full name and I-94 number written on the back in pencil Completed I-765 form in pen Completed SEVIS release form (for ISAO to make your new I-20) Copies of ALL immigration documents
The OPT Application Copies of ALL immigration documents: passport (biographical data, photo & signature) visa (most recent) front and back of I-94 or print out of electric I-94 1 st and 3 rd pages of ALL previous I-20s front and back of any previous work permits any change of immigration status approval forms any DS-2019s (if you have previously been a J-1 student)
2 Identical Passport Style Photos Photo Instructions Subject framed with full face, front view, eyes open Photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin; height of head should measure 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches (25 mm to 35 mm) Head centered within frame Eye height is between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from bottom of photo Plain white or off-white background No distracting shadows on the face or background Natural expression Write full name and I-94 number on the back IN PENCIL
When should I start my OPT? The start date is up to you, but it must be within the 60 days after graduation. The end date is a year from the start date minus a day (Example: July 7, 2015 to July 6, 2016) Date of graduation60 days after graduation December 13, 2014February 12, 2015 May 9, 2015July 8, 2015
OPT Application Process & Timeline Submit OPT application to ISAO for review and new I-20. All documents have been submitted and questions answered. After 3 – 5 business days : ISAO will email you to come sign new I-20 and pick up application packet to mail You mail your application to USCIS Usually about 30 days after mailing : ISAO will receive a receipt for your application After 1 – 3 business days: ISAO will scan and email you a copy of your receipt After 30 – 60 days: ISAO will receive your EAD (employment authorization document) After 1 – 3 business days: ISAO will contact you to come pick up your card or send us mailing instructions Total processing time can be over 3 months! The ISAO deadline to apply is two weeks before graduation!
Requirements & Responsibilities while on OPT May not work until you have work permit card (EAD) No more than 90 days of unemployment time Keep track of your own unemployment time Keep detailed records of all employment while on OPT– especially if volunteering
Requirements & Responsibilities while on OPT Continue to report to ISAO address changes phone number & email employment information OPT update form at http://www.truman.edu/international/current- students/http://www.truman.edu/international/current- students/ E-mail ISAO staff with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 90 Day Unemployment Rule Students cannot be unemployed more than 90 days total while on OPT. Unemployment time might be counted before you start a job, after you finish a job, or in between jobs. The unemployment count does not start until your OPT start date. The time between graduation and your OPT start date (if you have any) does NOT count towards your unemployment total. The unemployment count continues even if you leave the US.
Traveling Outside the US while on OPT Can be risky: talk to ISAO before planning anything! If OPT application is pending: not recommended If unemployed: don’t!— some border officials view this as abandoning your OPT. It carries a degree of risk. If employed: it’s possible if you have everything you need for re-entry:
Traveling Outside the US while on OPT If employed: it’s possible if you have everything you need for re-entry: valid passport (valid at least 6 months into future) valid visa valid I-20 with a current travel signature (within last 6 months) valid EAD to verify OPT proof of employment (a letter from your employer). (You may need an explanation of your absence from work if travel is after you have started a job.)
OPT Extensions For STEM majors only: Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics 17 month extension after 1 st year of OPT (total of 29 months) Apply for the extension before your OPT end date (no more than 90 days before) Must have a job with an E-Verify company in order to apply for a STEM extension
Truman Majors on the STEM List Biology Chemistry Computer Science Mathematics Physics
Frequently Asked OPT Questions Q. Do I have to have a job to apply for OPT ? A. No. Q. Can I take classes while on OPT? A. Yes, as long as you are not considered a full-time student. Q. Can I have OPT more than once? A. Yes, but you can be authorized for OPT only one time after each degree level. (Example: after a bachelor’s degree, again after a master’s degree, and again after a doctoral degree)
Frequently Asked OPT Questions Q. Can I get OPT after a second bachelor’s degree? A. Yes, but you only get 12 months of OPT once at each level. You may split this 12 months between two degrees at the same educational level, but it can be tricky. Talk to the ISAO before doing this. Q. Can I volunteer while on OPT? A. Yes, you can volunteer for a position in your field of study in order to avoid being unemployed. You must volunteer at least 20 hours per week and report all the same information to the ISAO (job title, supervisor, address, etc.)
Frequently Asked OPT Questions Q. Can I work a side job (like waiting tables at a restaurant) to earn extra money while on OPT? A. You may work more than one job while on OPT, but ALL jobs must be related to your field of study. Q. Can I still work on campus while on OPT? A. Yes, IF you have your OPT card and IF your campus job is related to your major. Normal on-campus employment authorization ends with your graduation. Q. Can I get insurance through the ISAO while I’m on OPT? A. Yes, you need to let us know by the beginning of the semester or summer after you graduate.
Frequently Asked OPT Questions Q. What happens if I transfer my SEVIS record to graduate school after applying for OPT? A. If your OPT application has already been approved, then your OPT is terminated. If your OPT application is still pending, then it will be denied (with no refund). Q. If I apply for OPT after my master’s degree, can I work a job related to my bachelor’s degree? A. No (unless both degrees are in the same field). Any jobs that you work while on OPT must be related to your most recent field of study.
Frequently Asked OPT Questions Q. If I am a double major can I work a job in either field? A. Yes! Only one major will show up on your I-20, but you can work a job in either field. Q. Can I change the dates of my OPT after I submit my application to USCIS? A. Possibly. It’s complicated, so email email@example.com immediately if you want to do this. If you want to change the dates because of a job offer, include a copy of your job offer letter in the email.