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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
  • 1 year of work authorization
  • Must be in major field of study
  • 1 year for each higher degree level
opt eligibility
OPT Eligibility
  • 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
  • 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 Start Date

It may be harder than you think!!

date requirements
Date Requirements
  • 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
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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
  • Checklist
  • OPT application & academic adviser verification
  • I-765 and G-1145
  • Basic info & Frequently Asked Questions
opt application
OPT application
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • #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
  • #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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Thanks for coming!