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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 mail it to USCIS. Please follow the instructions very carefully. If you are unclear regarding a particular step, please email email@example.com
We strongly recommend your review the Online OPT Workshop materials before you complete this process.
- Copy your entire application before submitting to USCIS
- USCIS MUST RECEIVE YOUR APPLICATION WITHIN 30 DAYS OF CIE ADVISOR’s SIGNATURE ON YOUR OPT I-20
- Do NOT use any staples in the application
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 while classes are not meeting in person
- Submit the completed I-765 form for review.
- Please type and print. CIE advisor will make any corrections directly on the form
- CIE will review your request and documents, make any suggested changes and prepare your OPT Request I-20.
- CIE will then send you a scanned copy of your I-20. You will need to print the scanned copy and SIGN IT before mailing it as part of your OPT application
- CIE will email you to pick up your original I-20 once the office reopens
Sending Your Completed OPT Application to USCIS
Once you have received your OPT request I-20 from CIE, you will need to prepare and submit the following list of items to USCIS:
- Notification- G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. This should be first page
- Payment- Fee for I-765 ($410), payable to US Department of Homeland Security. Personal check, cashier’s check or money order is acceptable.
- Please note you do not have to pay the biometric services fee
- Photos- Two full-face passport style photos. They must be taken in the USA and within the past 30 days. Put the photos in an envelope with your payment (check) and attach with a paperclip on top of the entire application. Do not staple the fee and the photos.
- I-765- Original USCIS Form I-765. Make sure it is signed. Include all pages (7), even if they are blank
- OPT I-20- photocopy of your new OPT Request I-20 from CIE
- Previous I-20- photocopies of your previous I-20’s at this degree level
- 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.
- If you changed your status in the USA and do not have an F-1 visa, please include a copy of your I-797 approval notice
Mailing your application to USCIS
- We recommend you mail your application using a trackable method and keep a record of your application’s delivery
- 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