Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that is related to an F-1 student's academic program. The application process takes approximately three months. To be eligible for OPT:
1. The student must have been lawfully enrolled in full-time status for one academic year preceding the OPT application.
2. The student must be in valid F-1 status at the time of application. It is important to note that students must apply for OPT during their last semester of study. Please apply approximately three months before you plan to start your OPT.
3. Graduate Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA; Undergraduates must have a 2.0 GPA.
4. To apply for OPT, an F-1 student must have completed two semesters prior to applying in legal status.
Please bring the following completed documents to the ISS office to apply for OPT:
□ Check or money order for $380 made payable to: Department of Homeland Security
□ 2 recent passport-style photos on white background. The photo must be 2x2 inches; the images must be 1 inch from the hair to the chin and 1 1/4 inch from eye height to the bottom of the photo. Your name and I-94 number must be printed in pencil on the back of the photos. More information can be found at this website: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotos/index.html. Pictures may be taken on campus at Photographic Services (phone: 650-3362) by appointment only.
□ Letter from your academic advisor confirming expected graduation date
A sample is attached here for you to show your advisor.
□ A copy of your picture page and visa page from your passport (The expiration date should be notated on the picture page. If not, please attach a page that shows the expiration date of your passport. Your passport should not be expired when you apply.)
□ A copy of both sides of your I-94 card (white card in your passport)
□ Printed transcript of your grades from CougarNet
□ Student Request for OPT (You can start your OPT up to 60 days after the last day of your final semester of study. F-1 students are eligible for 365 days of OPT.)
Acknowledgement of Responsibilities
If all the documents are turned in, ISS will request an I-20 from USCIS that indicates you are applying for OPT. It usually takes 24-48 hours to get this I-20 back from the government. You should plan to come back to our office 24-48 hours after you apply to sign the I-20. ISS cannot mail the application until you have signed your OPT I-20!