Optional Practical Training (OPT) is authorization for employment in your field of study either before or after completion of a degree. Most F-1 students participate in Post-Completion OPT after graduation. Pre-Completion OPT is rarely used, and if you are interested in this option, make an appointment with an Immigration Coordinator to learn more. The information on this page is specific to Post-Completion OPT.
OPT Workshop and Virtual Question and Answer Sessions
View the OPT Workshop for information about OPT and the steps of how to apply. The workshop includes explanations of requirements, timelines, the application process, and more! The Immigration Coordinators also host virtual drop-in OPT question-and-answer sessions each semester which are advertised through email
View OPT Workshop
View the OPT Workshop for information about OPT and the steps of how to apply.
Request OPT I-20
Students need to request the OPT Recommended I-20 through their ISSS Connect portal under the Documents & Requests tab.
- Students will send an electronic Approver Form to their academic/faculty advisor to verify their intended program completion term.
- The request will not be submitted to ISSS until the approver has completed the Approver Form.
- ISSS must enter a recommendation for OPT in SEVIS and issue a new I-20 for the student’s application to USCIS.
- Normal processing time for ISSS to issue the OPT-recommended I-20 is 7-10 business days from submission.
Receive the I-20 and make an appointment
After receiving the OPT recommended I-20, the student will make an appointment with an Immigration Coordinator to review their OPT application to USCIS.
Apply to USCIS
Students will then submit their application online to USCIS (a mail option is also available, if needed).
DO NOT apply for OPT without the OPT-recommended I-20.
Submit a Copy of your EAD Card
Once you have received your EAD card for your OPT authorization, you must submit a copy of the card into the “OPT/STEM OPT EAD Card Submission” request in the DOCUMENTS & REQUESTS tab of your ISSS Connect Portal.