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OPT Information Session. Welcome and Thank You for Coming!. Questions: What level are you? Grad or Undergrad? When are you completing your program? Who has a thesis/Dissertation?. Agenda. OPT basics Definition Eligibility Employment while on OPT Choosing a start date

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Welcome and thank you for coming
Welcome and Thank You for Coming!


What level are you?

Grad or Undergrad?

When are you completing your program?

Who has a thesis/Dissertation?


  • OPT basics

    • Definition

    • Eligibility

    • Employment while on OPT

  • Choosing a start date

  • How to apply – forms and materials

  • Travel and other FAQs

  • Next steps

What is opt

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.”8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10)(ii)

What is OPT??

Opt definition
OPT Definition regulations as:

  • 1 year of work authorization

  • Must be in major field of study

  • 1 year for each higher degree level

Opt eligibility
OPT Eligibility regulations as:

  • Must be in F-1status with one year completed as a full-time student

  • Does not require job offer

  • Eligible to apply 90 days priorto completion date or 60 days after

Employment on opt
Employment on OPT regulations as:

  • Can only begin working once OPT card is received and only during the dates listed on the card

  • All employment must be related to major field of study

  • Cannot accrue more than 90 days of unemployment!

  • Must work a minimum of 20 hours per week

  • Volunteer or unpaid internships okay as long as:

    • Work is related to major field of study

    • Working at least 20 hours per week

    • Practice does not violate labor laws

  • Can work for multiple employers or change employers

Requesting an opt start date
Requesting an OPT regulations as: Start Date

It may be harder than you think!!

Date requirements
Date Requirements regulations as:

  • Requested start date must be within the 60 daysAFTER degree completion

OPT Start Date Range

90 days

60 days




OPT Application Date Range

Start date
Start Date regulations as:

  • OPT officially starts when card is received AND start date arrives

  • 3 months is the standard time for USCIS to process an OPT application

  • If you want to start right after graduation, apply early

Keep in mind
Keep in Mind… regulations as:

  • Possible to have a start date LATER than requested

    • Example:

      • Date requested is May 7—packet is sent April 15

      • Application won’t be processed until after requested start date so…

      • New start date will be the date OPT application is approved

  • NOTE: If application is approved prior to requested start date, work authorization will begin on requested start date

  • OPT start date = when days of unemployment begin

    • 90 days of unemployment begin accruing immediately if not employed

    • Only 90 days of unemployment total for duration of OPT!!

Things to consider
Things to consider… regulations as:

  • Do you have a job offer?

  • When do you want to be able to start working?

  • How long do you think it will take to find a job?

  • If you choose an early start date, but don’t find a job, your days of unemployment will begin to accrue

  • If you choose a late start date, but find a job sooner, you won’t be able to start working

    • May lose out on OPT time!

Packet materials
Packet Materials regulations as:

  • Checklist

  • OPT application & academic adviser verification

  • I-765 and G-1145

  • Basic info & Frequently Asked Questions

Opt application
OPT application regulations as:

  • This form will not be sent to USCIS

  • Use NON-Miami email address

  • Use current mailing address

  • Completion date

    • UG—date program requirements are met (last day of semester)

    • Grads—date coursework is completed (if no thesis/dissertation) OR thesis/dissertation is finished

  • OPT requested start date

Academic advisor verification
Academic Advisor Verification regulations as:

  • Turn the sheet over!

  • Your Academic Advisor MUST complete and sign this side before you apply for OPT

    • For undergrads – must be divisional advisor

  • They are verifying when you will complete your degree requirements

Form i 765
Form I-765 regulations as:

  • Official application that is sent to USCIS

    • Write neatly in blue or black pen, or:

  • Fillable PDF form on USCIS website http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-765.pdf

  • Name—EXACTLY as appears on passport

    • Family: ALL CAPS (HEIDEMANN)

    • First: Molly

    • Middle: if listed on passport

    • Example: HEIDEMANN Molly

Form i 7651
Form I-765 regulations as:

  • #2—leave blank in most cases

  • #3—address where USCIS will mail OPT card

    • OIE address recommended

  • #4-9—you can figure this out!

  • #10—1-94 card number (11 digits)

  • #11—previous employment authorization?

    • OPT or work visa

    • NOT on-campus work or CPT

  • #12-14—most recent entry to US

    • Date of entry

    • Port of entry (airport)

    • Manner of entry (usually “F-1 student”)

Form i 7652
Form I-765 regulations as:

  • #15—current status is “F-1 student” (EVERYONE!)

  • #16– code # (green page has answer or will be filled in already)

  • #17—leave this blank

  • Sign correctly!

    • Between lines or will NOT show up on OPT card (see below)

    • Phone #--don’t worry they won’t call!

  • Leave bottom part blank (under “Signature of Person Preparing Form…)


Form g 1145
Form G-1145 regulations as:


  • If you complete this form, USCIS will send you a text message and/or email when your application is received

  • You will still receive a paper receipt notice in the mail

  • No extra fee for this service

Passport photos
Passport photos regulations as:

  • 2 passport style photos must be:

    • Taken within past 30 days

    • Identical

    • In small plastic baggy (“snack size”)

  • Lightly print name and I-94# on back side

  • Hughes Hall Print Center

    • $5

  • Check out this website:

    • http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_827.html

I 20s
I-20s regulations as:

  • Please bring all original I-20s

    • They won’t be sent in to USCIS

    • We would like to review them

    • You should make sure you still have them

  • A new I-20 will be processed at your OPT intake

    • It will have your OPT recommendation on it

    • You will get to take the original with you that day

    • A copy will get sent to USCIS with your application

Copies of documents
Copies of documents regulations as:

  • You must bring copies of:

    • Your passport identity page (with name, photo, and expiration date) – include extension/renewal page if applicable

    • Your I-94 card (front AND back)

    • Any previous employment authorization documents (if you answered “yes” to #11 on the I-765)

Fee regulations as:

  • 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”

    • Cannot accept cash or credit/debit card!

  • 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

Frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions regulations as:


  • 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

Next steps
Next Steps regulations as:

  • Gather all of the materials on the checklist and complete your forms (don’t forget your academic advisor’s signature!)

  • Call OIE (529-5628) to schedule an OPT intake appointment

  • Bring all of your materials to the appointment

  • OIE will submit your application to USCIS for you

  • If you use our address, we will notify you by email when your receipt notice and OPT card arrive

  • Keep OIE updated on your address and your employer’s name and address throughout OPT

Questions? regulations as:

Thanks for coming!