Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Optional Practical Training: Changes and Tutorial

Students who wish to work off campus must have immigration authorization for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The procedure for OPT includes viewing a tutorial and completing the required E-form to request OPT.

F-1 students have the option to apply for either Pre-Completion OPT or Post-Completion OPT during their program of study. To determine which OPT is needed for your situation, please view the appropriate tutorial.

There are 5 easy steps to completing a successful OPT application

  1. Watch the appropriate OPT Tutorial.Complete the OPT assessment and the I-765. Upload both documents to the appropriate E-form in
  2. Pick up the I-20 from OIE once the E-form has been approved. Assemble your application together using the checklist provided by the OIE and mail the complete application to USCIS. For a complete OPT application check-list, click here.
  3. Receive the Notice of Action and the EAD card.
  4. Begin working only after you have received the EAD card authorizing you for OPT work permission. 

Important Dates for Spring 2013 Graduates:

January 28th: First day to submit OPT request in iStart (Takes up to 5 business days for an advisor to create your OPT I-20).

February 3rd: First day Texas Immigration Service Center will receive OPT applications
May 4th: Spring 2013 Graduation
July 3rd: Last day Texas Immigration Service Center will receive OPT applications

Non-thesis students are no longer required to have an appointment with an OIE advisor prior to submitting an application for Pre-completion or Post-completion OPT although advisors are available to answer questions and support students through the OPT process. Thesis students are required to meet with an international student advisor after completing the e-form to discuss their situation in more detail. Thesis students who have watched the tutorial and have questions on whether to apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT should speak with an international student advisor during walk-in hours prior to completing the e-form. 

OIE has also implemented a new 17 month STEM extension tutorial. Please view this tutorial if you are currently on your Post-completion OPT and considering the STEM extension.