Optional Practical Training

What is Post-Completion OPT?

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The work students pursue while on Post-Completion OPT must be directly related to his/her/their major field of study. Post-Completion OPT may be used either 1) after the completion of a degree program or 2) after completion of all course requirements other than thesis, project or comprehensive final exam. Post-Completion OPT is generally issued for a duration of 12 months, but may be for less time if the student has previously applied and been granted Pre-Completion OPT. 

How do I apply for Post-Completion OPT?

The following information contains instructions for you to complete your OPT application and submit your application to USCIS. Please follow the instructions very carefully. If you are unclear regarding a particular step, please email cie@csueastbay.edu

We strongly recommend your review the Online OPT Workshop materials before you complete this process.

Important Notes:

  • DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO USCIS WITHOUT AN OPT I-20 FROM OUR OFFICE
  • If submitting online, please download and save a copy of the completed I-765 from your account
  • USCIS MUST RECEIVE YOUR APPLICATION WITHIN 30 DAYS OF CIE ADVISOR’s SIGNATURE ON YOUR OPT I-20

Submitting your documents to CIE via email

  • Submit the completed/signed (both sides) OPT Request Form
    • We will accept emails from your academic department in lieu of signatures
  • CIE will review your request and prepare your OPT Request I-20. 
  • CIE will email you an electronically signed OPT Request I-20. You will need to download, save, print, and SIGN IT before submitting it as part of your OPT application
    • You are currently not eligible to sign your I-20 electronically

 

OPT Application Materials

  • Payment- Fee for I-765 ($410). Please note you do not have to pay the biometrics fee
  • Photos- Must meet the US Department of State's passport photo requirements.
  • OPT Request I-20- be sure to sign the I-20 when you receive it from CIE
  • I-94- Photocopy of paper or printout of electronic Form I-94
  • EAD- Photocopy of any previous EAD cards (if applicable)
  • Passport- photocopy of Bio Page, most recent entry stamp, and photocopy of F-1 visa page.

 

Submitting your application to USCIS

Option 1- Filing your application online via www.uscis.gov

  • Please review our OPT Workshop for detailed procedure on how to create and submit your application via uscis.gov
  • You will create an online account and complete the I-765
  • You will submit supporting documents and payment online. We recommend you have your documents scanned and labeled clearly before beginning. 
    • OPT Request I-20- be sure to sign the I-20 when you receive it from CIE
    • I-94- PDF of most recent electronic Form I-94
    • EAD- Scanned colored copy of any previous EAD cards (if applicable)
    • Passport- Scanned colored copy of your passport Bio Page
    • Previous CPT and/or OPT I-20's- Scanned copies of all previously issued CPT and/or OPT I-20s.
    • Photo- Scanned or electronic passport photo. Must meet the US Department of State's passport photo requirements.
    • Payment- Fee for I-765 ($410). You can pay via credit card, debit card or ACH
  • Make sure your application is receipted by USCIS less than 30 days after your OPT I-20 issuance date.
    • If you are close to the 30 days, please request a new I-20 from CIE

 Option 2: Mailing your application to USCIS

  • You will have to create your paper application to submit via mail to USCIS.
  • Supporting documents include:
    • I-765- You will need to complete and sign (in ink) the paper I-765.
    • Payment- Fee for I-765 ($410). Check, money order, or credit card. No cash allowed.
    • Photos- 2 passport photos. Must meet the US Department of State's passport photo requirements.
    • OPT Request I-20- be sure to sign the I-20 in ink when you receive it from CIE
    • I-94- Photocopy of paper or printout of electronic Form I-94
    • EAD- Photocopy of any previous EAD cards (if applicable)
    • Passport- photocopy of Bio Page, most recent entry stamp, and photocopy of F-1 visa page.
    • Previous CPT and/or OPT I-20's- Include copies of all previously issued CPT and/or OPT I-20s. 
  • We recommend you mail your application using a trackable method and keep a record of your application’s delivery
  • Please copy your entire application before submitting to USCIS
  • Do NOT use any staples in the application
  • Make sure your application is received by USCIS less than 30 days after your OPT I-20’s issuance date.
    • If you delay your mailing and it is received after 30 days, USCIS will most likely deny your OPT application.
    • If you are close to the 30 days, please request a new I-20 from CIE
  • The address to which your EAD card will be sent determines where the application should be mailed
    • Your EAD card will be sent to the address you listed as the mailing address on the I-765
  • Direct Filing Addresses are listed on the USCIS I-765 Lockbox website
  • Please review our OPT-Mailing Application to USCIS handout.

Reporting Requirements

While on OPT, you must report all changes to your employment information, your residential address, and contact information (phone and email) via the SEVP Portal within 10 days of the change. Please see our OPT Reporting Requirements page for more information.

End of your Post Completion OPT

Your F-1 status remains valid until 60 days after the expiration of your EAD card. During this 60-day grace period, you are no longer authorized to work, however you may legally stay in the U.S. If you depart the U.S. during the 60-day grace period, you are no longer eligible to re-enter under your previous F-1 visa status.

  • Depart the USA- if you plan to depart the USA after the end of your OPT, please make sure you depart before the end of your 60 day grace period
  • End OPT early- if you decide to abandon your OPT and depart the USA, please update your employment information in your SEVP Portal and let CIE know so we can complete your SEVIS record.
  • Change Immigration Status- If you plan to change your immigration status in the USA, please let CIE if this is completed before the end of your OPT.
  • Transfer-  If you plan to start a new degree at another college or university, please make sure the Transfer procedure is completed before the end of your 60 day grace period.

Please note if you are eligible for OPT STEM, your application must be received by USCIS BEFORE your OPT EAD expires, not during the grace period. 

 

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