F1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students are eligible to apply for employment authorization that will allow him or her to work for up to one year in a job that is directly related to their program of study. This employment takes place after completing your program of study. For some majors there is the possibility of extending that period of employment an additional 24 months. We highly recommend students apply 60 days before graduation. To apply gather all the information below and visit with an immigration advisor in the Office of Global Affairs:

  • Complete and print Form I-765. Use our I-765 Guidelines for help on how to fill out the form.
  • Submit 2 photos made to USCIS specifications.
    • Do not cut or alter the photos in any way. We recommend you place your photos in a small envelope or plastic bags so that they will not get lost.
  • Obtain a cashier's check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Include a photocopy of pages 1 and 3 of the I-20 showing the OPT recommendation. Make sure to sign it! USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the I-20 being issued to you.
  • Photocopy of your VALID passport photo page.
  • Photocopy of your student visa, or prior visa if you entered the US in a status other than F-1
  • Photocopy of your most recent I-94 card (front and back and an electronic printout)
  • Submit an official UCO transcript showing you will graduate

Once the student has graduated, they will have a 90 day grace period to file the OPT but that will cut into their 12 months of work approval.