Work Permit (Optional Practical Training Permit)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. You may use some or all of the available 12 months of practical training during your course of study or save the full twelve months to use after you complete your studies. Authorization for optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS - and can take at least 90 days and frequently up to 120 days to obtain. It is important that you apply for the authorization at the earliest possible date.

How to Apply

You must be in full time student status for at least one full academic year preceding the submission of your OPT application be maintaining valid F-1 status at the time of the application, and intend to work in a position directly related to your major field of study.

Step 1

The completed I-765 form. Make certain that the address you put in item #3 will be valid for the next 90 to 120 days, as that is where your receipt and employment card will be sent. Mail from USCIS will not be forwarded by the US Postal Service. Make sure that your signature does not touch any text or lines as it will be scanned for your work authorization card.

Step 2

A copy of your I-94 form (both sides) and a copy of the visa and identification pages from your passport

Step 3

Copies, front and back, of all previous I-20s

Step 4

Two recent photographs per the attached instructions from USCIS (see sample). Write your name and SEVIS number in pencil on the back of the photos. Do not cut to size or staple.

Step 5

A check or money order for $380 payable to "US Department of Homeland Security". (Fee is subject to change)

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