.doc | OPT Workshop Notes


May 19, 2023

Who is eligible


Before graduation, need to talk with advisor, not common


after graduation,

have entered the US, and have been in F1 status for 2 semesters

or graduates except for dissertation

  • ABD: all but dissertation, finish before the end of EAD date
  • Otherwise need to go back home and complete the degree

OPT basics

related to your field of study

still an F1 student, not a work visa.

12 months OPT per level of education, not cumulative

eligible STEM degrees for extension of post-complete OPT, or pending H1B

no job offer is required to apply.

allows to change jobs and have multiple jobs

employer does not have to do anything, applicant is sponsoring themselves

can do paid/unpaid, this university cannot do unpaid work.

Only work after authorization

not eligible to work until EAD card

no exception

need to create SEVP portal account after the OPT is approved and after the start date

need to report on change: US home address, employer and address, start and end date of employment

Do not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment

within the authorization period on EAD card

20 hours to be considered employed

Keep document and F1 records updated

request OPT-I20

Only enroll part-time in classes unrelated to the current or future field of study

reach out to OISS advisor

Travel outside US

possible with documents

  1. passport
  2. F1 visa
  3. I20 with signature
  4. EAD
  5. proof of employment (optional)

while OPT application pending is possible, but risky because the EAD will be mailed to your US address

Verify admission status I94 record is correct



how to maintain the OPT status

Who can apply for extension

24-month STEM OPT extension

aply during the last 90 days end of OPT

USCIS must receive before the end

must have a job

employer must enroll in E-verify

requires a plan (Form I-983)

H1B petition pending or approved may requested a “cap gap”

cap gap employer file H1B application on April 1

if approved, H1B starts on October 1

if OPT expires before Oct 1, “cap gap” extension is added in SEVIS until decision of H1B is decided

application process

  • workshop, get a packet
  • request OPT I20 form from OISS advisor
  • prepare and submit form I-765 OPT application to USCIS
  • must be in US to apply for OPT

application timeline

application estimated to take 4 weeks.

90 days before program end date → I-20 end date → 60 days after program end date

pick requested start date: 1 day after I 20 end date → end of 60 day grace period

time window of OPT application


request OPT-I20

requested OPT start date form

academic advisor verification form OR ABD OPT form, one or the other

The packet is for getting OPT I-20 recommendation from OISS

OPT I-20

application to USCIS with the recommendation from OISS

evidence files to upload I-765 with OPT I-20

immigration docu: passport, I-94

previous OPT and CPT, can skip if you don’t have it

2 by 2 inches passport style photo; taken within 30 days; Public library, Walgreens, and CVS offer the service

What if the EAD start date is after the end date of the grace period?

didn’t quite hear the answer