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F-1 Optional Practical Training

OPT Filing During Covid-19

We want to let you know that OPT, as a post-completion benefit, is still a viable option for you. Regretfully, due to the fluid nature of COVID-19, students who have applied for or who are planning to apply for OPT work permission, may have difficulties to return and pursue U.S. work opportunities in the coming months. ISS will continue to monitor and share relevant guidance from government agencies with all of you. For your convenience we have created FAQ related to OPT during COVID-19.

  • I am in my last semester of study and am planning to finish the semester from my home country. Will I maintain my status?
    Last semester students, as well as other continuing students, will NOT jeopardize their immigration status taking classes online from their home country.

    This is my last semester. I want to leave and come back later. Would I be able to apply for OPT once I am back to U.S.?
    Yes, as long as you are in status and you are back to the U.S. by the end of the semester.

    I have applied for OPT, and my application is pending with USCIS. Can I leave with no ramifications? Will my departure affect OPT approval?
    You can leave, but you need to re-enter by the end of the semester. It is imperative, since the program end date listed on your I-20 processed for OPT is the last day of the semester.

    While my OPT application is pending, and I am back home, how would I know if USCIS needs any additional information for the adjudication process?
    Check your case status regularly at myUSCIS. You may also check the status at USCIS Case Status Online. This way you will know the progress of your case. If there is a notification that they mailed a request for evidence (RFE) to you, you should ask a friend/relative to check your mailbox. Those things are normally time-sensitive.

    Do I need to wait until I receive a receipt notice from USCIS about OPT filing? Can I leave as soon as I file for OPT?
    We recommend to wait until you receive your I-797C – Receipt Notice. The Receipt Notice has your unique case number, which you will need for checking the status of the case online or any further inquiries. If you must depart and have not received the I-797C yet, check myUSCIS later for the receipt number. You may also reach out to us, as we might be able to locate the case # through your SEVIS record.

    What if the U.S. closes the borders, and I am not able to return before the end of the semester?
    The situation is evolving every day. Currently there are Coronavirus Travel Bans by Presidential Proclamation; however, effective August 1, 2021, F-1 visa holders coming from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland are eligible to enter under National Interest Exception (NIE). At this point, we don’t know about future travel restrictions. Please take this into consideration.

    What are the deadlines to apply for OPT?
    OPT application deadlines have not changed. You may find the dates listed on this page.

    I submitted my request for OPT. When can I expect it to be processed?
    4-5 business days. However you should expect delays given a high volume of emails and students request amid the crises.

    Since ISS is working remotely now, how will I be able to get my OPT I-20? Will you mail it?
    We are uploading a scanned copy of your signed OPT I-20 to your ISS Connect record. You will receive detailed instructions in the email once your OPT record is created in SEVIS.

    I have one remaining class in summer I, but my commencement is in May. Am I a spring graduate?
    No, you are considered as a summer I graduate. If you departed due to the current crisis, and want to apply for OPT, you must re-enter by the end of the semester.

  • If your employer switched to working remotely amidst COVID-19, recent DHS policy guidance permits OPT holders to pursue authorized employment opportunities while working from home, contingent upon current employer's directions.

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When to Apply for OPT

You can apply for post-completion OPT no more than 90 days before the official completion date (semester end date), or no later than 45 days after your last semester end date (as long as you do not leave the U.S. during the 60-days grace period, are in status, and in the U.S. at the time of application). USCIS must receive your OPT application before your 60-day grace period following program completion ends.

USCIS processing times are long, sometimes exceeding 3 months. It is strongly recommended that you file your OPT application once you are within the 90-day period before degree completion. If you apply late, your start date will be delayed, and you may not receive the full 12 months of OPT.

  • Summer I Semester ends on July 13, 2021. Students who complete their program during the Summer I Semester may submit their applications in ISS Connect April 15 to August 27.

  • Summer II Semester ends on August 25, 2021. Students who complete their program during the Summer II Semester may submit their applications in ISS Connect June 1-October 15.

  • Fall Semester ends on December 22, 2021. Students who complete their program during the Fall Semester may submit their applications in ISS Connect September 24-February 7.

  • Graduate students who have only dissertation and no regular classes remaining may apply for OPT before finishing the dissertation. However, you should plan to complete and defend your dissertation within the 12 months of OPT. If this is the case, you should ensure your employer knows you are still working towards finishing your dissertation, and might need to travel back to campus.

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Choosing Your Start Date

The earliest start date you can request is the day after you've completed your degree program. The latest start date you can request is 60 days after you've completed your program. You will provide us with your requested start date in your OPT request in ISS Connect. If USICS approves your application after your requested OPT start date, then USICS will change your start date to the date of approval.

  • Choose a start date between July 14-September 11.

  • Choose a start date between August 26-October 24.

  • Choose a start date between December 23-February 20.

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How to Apply

Follow the steps below to apply for OPT. Remember, you must first submit an OPT Request in ISS Connect and receive your new I-20 with OPT recommendation before you can file with USCIS.

    • 2" X 2" Passport-style Photograph taken recently (within 30 days of filing form I-765) in front of a white or off-white background
      • You cannot use a photo which has previously been used for a passport, visa, or any other U.S. government-related application
      • See the Photo Requirements Learning Content in the OPT Request in ISS Connect
    • Most Recent I-94
    • Copy of passport page with photograph, name, and date of birth
    • Copy of most recent F-1 visa (or USCIS Approval Notice for change of status to F-1)
    • Copy of previous EAD, if you've been issued one previously
    • If you have had CPT or OPT, you need to include copies of any previous I-20s with CPT or OPT information
    1. Log in to ISS Connect and create an Optional Practical Training (OPT) Request.
    2. Follow the instructions in the request to complete all requirements
    3. After completing all requirements in the request, click "Submit" at the top of the page.
    4. An International Student Advisor (ISA) will review your request, including student's attached documents.
    5. If everything is completed correctly, the ISA will record the OPT recommendation in SEVIS. If any corrections need to be made, the ISA will email the student, and student will need to upload corrections BEFORE the ISA will record OPT recommendation in SEVIS.
    6. The ISA will create a new I-20 reflecting the OPT recommendation. Your OPT I-20 will be ready 7-10 business days following submission of your request. ISS will email you when your I-20 is ready.
    7. When you receive your OPT I-20, review it, print it, and sign it in blue ink.
  • IMPORTANT: To file your application with USCIS, you MUST have received an I-20 with OPT recommendation from ISS. Do NOT complete this step if you have not yet received the OPT I-20 (see Step 2: Request an I-20 from ISS with OPT Recommendation)

    1. Create your online USCIS account
    2. Click on File a form online
    3. Select the Application for Employment Authorization (I-765)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
      • ​​​​​​​Carefully read all instructions and complete each section in order.​​​​​​​
      • Filing Out the Form:
        • ​​​​​​​For guidance, use the Sample Form I-765 under Learning Content in your OPT request.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
        • What is your eligibility category? c(3)(B) Student Post-Completion OPT
        • Why are you applying? Initial permission to accept employment
        • When filling out the questions, if a Form I-765 field has limited characters and you are unable to provide the complete text, enter the full text in the Additional Information tab.
        • Provide any previous SEVIS numbers and any previously authorized CPT or OPT and the academic level in which it was authorized in the Additional Information tab.
      • Evidence: Drag and drop or Browse to upload your documents
        • 2" X 2" Passport-style Photograph
        • Most Recent I-94
        • Copy of passport page with photograph, name, and date of birth
        • Copy of most recent F-1 visa (or USCIS Approval Notice for change of status to F-1)
        • Copy of previous EAD, if you've been issued one previously
        • If you have had CPT or OPT, you need to include copies of any previous I-20s with CPT or OPT information
        • Copy of your new I-20 with the OPT recommendation on page 2 (you must submit your application within 30 days of the date the I-20 was issued)
      • Review and Submit
        • Review your entries BEFORE you pay.
        • Once you submit payment, your application is submitted.
      • Applicant's Declaration & Certification
        • Provide your digital signature by typing your full legal name.
      • Pay the Fee
        • You will be directed to pay.gov.
        • Pay by ACH Withdrawal, debit or credit card.
        • Form will submit once you pay.
      • You will receive confirmation that your form has been submitted.
        • All notices (receipt notice, RFE, etc) for your submitted application will post to your account. USCIS will continue to mail paper RFEs.

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ISS OPT Administrative Fee

While you are on OPT, you remain in F-1 non-immigrant status and ISS staff will continue to provide you with immigration and advising support. The $125 ISS OPT Administrative Fee will cover the expenses of mandatory SEVIS compliance and SEVIS record management after your graduation. Please note that this fee can only be paid online via ISS Connect under the ‘Material submission’ box on the right-hand side of the screen. We cannot accept this fee payment by phone, fax, email, check, cash or money order. The fee is non-refundable once the I-20 with the OPT recommendation has been issued. This fee is separate from the $410 application fee paid directly to USCIS.

In addition to providing you with advising while you are on OPT, we will continue to process requests, including:

  • I-20s updated with employment info
  • Mailing updated I-20s if you are outside the tristate area
  • Travel Signatures
  • Letters
  • Cap-gap extension I-20s (if applicable)

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Applying For SSN Along With Request For Employment Authorization

OPT applicants have the option to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) at the same time they apply for employment authorization/Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The Form I-765 includes certain items which will enable an OPT applicant to apply for an SSN. Please note, if you obtained an SSN prior to applying for OPT, you do NOT need to reapply and should simply skip these items on the Form I-765.

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Maintaining Status While on OPT

Keys to Maintaining Status While on OPT

While you are on Post-Completion OPT, you are still in F-1 status, and therefore, it is your responsibility to maintain your status. As an OPT holder you need to be mindful of the following:

  • You cannot begin work until you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, and the start date on it has passed.
  • You may not accrue more than 90 unemployment days.
    • The 90-day clock begins with the start date on the EAD card.
    • 90 day countdown clock in SEVIS will trigger automated record termination due to 90 days of unemployment in accrual; SEVP will use manual termination for 90 cumulative days.
    • It is the OPT holder’s responsibility to keep track of unemployment count.
  • You must report all employment (paid or unpaid) within 10 days. Please see the OPT Reporting Requirements and SEVP Portal section below.
  • You must work in a position that meets the requirements outlined in the OPT FAQ
  • Ensure that you have the documents you need to travel. See the Travel section below.
  • You must report any changes to your address and your legal name within 10 days.
  • You may not work beyond the end date on your EAD card.
  • Never exceed 60-day legal stay following the end date of your OPT.
  • If you plan to transfer to another school upon completion of your OPT, make sure to be accepted and request a SEVIS Transfer to your new school before your 60-day grace period is over.

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OPT Reporting Requirements

SEVP Portal

Effective March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP Portal. The portal is a tool that F-1 students on OPT can use to report changes to their home address, telephone number, and employer information. The portal is accessible from both your mobile device and computer. The SEVP Portal allows you to:

  • View details about your OPT
  • Report changes to your address, telephone and employer information
  • View and update data on all your employers in one place

Please note:

  • Any data updates you make in the portal will be sent directly to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • Only OPT-approved students will receive a link from SEVP from Do-Not-Reply.SEVP@ice.dhs.gov for logging in. The link will be sent when OPT goes into effect, not before. If you do not receive an email, check spam or junk folders or contact ISS to confirm correct email address in SEVIS
  • The link can only be used ONCE and cannot be shared with anyone else
  • You must use the link within 14 days, or it will be disabled
  • After creating your login, you must log into SEVP Portal every 90 days, or your account will be locked
  • Be sure to use your correct, current SEVIS ID number. After three unsuccessful login attempts, a student will be locked out of the system.

After updating your employer information in SEVP Portal, submit the request “New I-20 Request - Reporting OPT Employment” for new I-20 reflecting OPT employment via ISS Connect. You will be required to:

  • Upload a job offer letter
  • E-sign the Signature Document
  • Complete the Questionnaire

SEVP Resources

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Key Points

  • You may not pursue a new degree program while on OPT.
  • Once you send your OPT application materials to USCIS, you cannot change the requested dates.
  • If you transfer to another university, your OPT work authorization will end on the day your SEVIS record is transferred.
  • You will have a 60-day grace period from the date your OPT expires to leave the U.S., apply for a change of status, or transfer your I-20 to another school.
  • Once your OPT is approved, you cannot cancel your application and you will not be able to use any unused OPT or apply for OPT for the same educational level in the future.

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OPT FAQ

  • What is post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
    It is employment directly related to your field of study, following the completion of your academic degree. It is NOT your graduation date, which is the date when Pace University recognizes those who have recently completed their studies. The completion date would be the student's program end date as scheduled on the School’s academic calendar.

    Who is eligible for post-completion OPT?
    You are eligible to apply for post-completion OPT authorization if you:

    1. have been a full-time student for at least one full academic year;
    2. are currently in lawful F-1 status;
    3. have completed all course requirements for your degree program;
    4. have not been previously authorized for 12 months of optional practical training during continuous study in the U.S. at the same educational level; and
    5. have not been authorized for 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training

    What is the maximum amount of time that can be authorized for Optional Practical Training?
    The maximum amount of time that can be granted is 12 months of full-time employment authorization per educational level to all qualified students on F-1 visa.

    When should I apply for Optional Practical Training?
    F-1 students may apply for OPT no more than 90 days before the degree completion date, or as late as 60 days after the end date (so long as you do not leave the U.S. during these 60-days, and are in F-1 status in the U.S. at the time of application). It is strongly recommended that you file your OPT application once you are within the 90 days period before degree completion date, as processing times are long.

    Can I travel on my grace period between graduation and OPT filing?
    If you do not apply for OPT, but travel outside of the U.S. after your official completion date (during the 60-day grace-period), you will have negated your eligibility to apply, as you won’t be able to return under F-1 status.

    What happens if I apply for OPT prior to program end date and fail to complete the degree requirements and must retake one of the classes?
    This depends on quite a few factors. If your OPT application has not been adjudicated by USCIS you may withdraw the application. ISS staff will adjust your SEVIS record and cancel the OPT electronically. If the employment authorization has been approved already by the time you become aware of the failing grade, it will be too late to withdraw. In this case you will need to retake the class in order to complete the degree requirements. At the same time you must keep your OPT but may use it for part-time employment only, while enrolled in the course. After completion of the degree requirements you may work full-time for the remainder of your OPT. It is strongly recommended to contact ISS immediately for guidance.

      Do I need a job offer to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training?
      No, you do not need a specific job offer to apply for OPT; it is a granted benefit and a legal extension of your F-1 status and lawful stay in the United States. However, the provision of the new OPT rule establishes a limit on the period of unemployment during the 12 months of authorized post-completion OPT. Students on OPT may have up to 90 days of unemployment in total accumulation during the 12 months of OPT. SEVIS countdown clock will trigger status termination for 90 days of unemployment in accrual.

      How do I choose the effective OPT days?
      Optional Practical Training must be completed within 14 months of completion of your studies. This means you may request that your OPT start date will be within 60 days following your last day of classes. For example, if you completed your studies on May 15, you could request for employment to begin on May 16 or any other date within the next 60 days. Your employment end date will be exactly 12 months after the start date. On the OPT Request through ISS Connect you are required to enter the OPT start date and the OPT end date (your choice). The International Student Advisor will submit these dates electronically to SEVIS and issue you a new I-20 bearing the OPT recommendation and the expected employment start and end dates of your choice. The EAD card you will receive from USCIS will have the same effective dates of employment. If USCIS approves your application after your chosen OPT start date, then USCIS will change your start date to the date of approval.

        May I start working as soon as I file my application for Optional Practical Training with USCIS?
        No, you may not begin legal employment until it has been authorized by the USCIS and you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

        When can I begin working?
        You may begin working only on the start date printed on your EAD card. You must receive the card prior to commencing employment. We advise students to file early to avoid delays.

        Can I travel while on Optional Practical Training or before the approval?
        If you have completed your studies and leave the U.S. before Optional Practical Training is approved, your application will be considered abandoned. You can travel as long as you have the following:

        • Valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future)
        • Valid/unexpired F-1 visa
        • Form I-20 issued for OPT and signed for travel (travel signature is valid for 6 months)
        • Unexpired EAD
        • Proof of employment. The proof of employment would be a job letter from your current employer, or a job offer.

        The time spent abroad during authorized Optional Practical Training while unemployed impacts the 90-days limit for unemployment.

          When do I need to file my OPT packet with USCIS? Is there any deadline?
          You must file your OPT packet with USCIS within 30 days from the OPT I-20 issue date. In the event it was filed later than that, your OPT application will be denied. The OPT I-20 is only valid for 30 days.

          What will be my non-immigrant status be while on post-completion Optional Practical Training?
          You will remain on F-1 status even though you have completed your studies and are working fulltime. Optional Practical Training is viewed as an “extension” of your F-1 non-immigrant visa status.

          What is the ISS OPT Administrative Fee?
          While you are on OPT, you remain in F-1 non-immigrant status and ISS staff will continue to provide you with immigration and advising support. The $125 ISS OPT Administrative Fee will cover the expenses of mandatory SEVIS compliance and SEVIS record management after your graduation. Please note that this fee can only be paid online in ISS Connect under the ‘Material submission’ box on the right-hand side of the OPT Request. We cannot accept this fee payment by phone, fax, email, check, cash or money order. The fee is non-refundable once the I-20 with the OPT recommendation has been issued. This fee is separate from the $410 application fee paid directly to USCIS.

          In addition to providing you with advising while you are on OPT, we will continue to process requests, including:

          • I-20s updated with employment info
          • Mailing updated I-20s if you are outside the tristate area
          • Travel Signatures
          • Letters
          • Cap-gap extension I-20s (if applicable)

          How many times is it possible to get Optional Practical Training while studying in the United States?

          • If you complete 12 months of Optional Practical Training and go directly to a higher educational level, you will be eligible for another 12 months of OPT upon completion of your next higher degree.
          • Final May 2016 OPT STEM rule allows F-1 students who obtained a degree in a government approved STEM field in the last 10 years, regardless of immigration status held at that time; and have since completed a degree in a non-STEM field; and are currently on post-completion OPT may be eligible to apply for a STEM OPT extension based on that prior degree if they meet all other required criteria.
          • Under the 24-month rule, F-1 students who had already obtained one STEM OPT extension become eligible for a second STEM OPT extension (total of two lifetime STEM OPT extensions) after:
            • Earning another qualifying STEM degree at a "higher degree level" and
            • Obtaining a new initial grant of standard 12-month post-completion practical training based on that higher degree.
        • What counts as unemployment time?
          Each day during the period when the OPT authorization begins and ends that the student does not have qualifying employment (see above 6 categories for the qualifying employment, including unpaid internship or volunteering work) counts as a day of unemployment.

          How does travel outside the U.S. impact the period of unemployment?
          If a student whose approved period of OPT has started travels outside of the United States while unemployed, the time spent outside the U.S. will count as unemployment. If the student travels while employed (vacation or business trip), the time spent outside the U.S. will not count as unemployment.

          What are the consequences of exceeding the period of unemployment?
          A student who has exceeded the period of unemployment while on post-completion OPT has violated his or her visa status unless he or she has taken one of the following actions:

          1. Applied to continue his or her education by a change of educational level or transferring to another School.
          2. Departed the U.S. in a timely manner.
        • What type of work can I do while authorized for the post-completion Optional Practical Training?
          The work must be directly related to your major field of study. For students who are not on STEM the employment may include:

          1. Paid employment (part-time or full-time)(at least 20 hrs. per week)
          2. Multiple employers (the student on OPT may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to the student’s degree program)
          3. Work for hire (service performed on contractual relationship)
          4. Self-employed business owner (students on OPT may start a business; proper business license is required, as well as business activities related to the student’s degree program)
          5. Employment through a Staffing Agency/Consulting Company (at least 20 hrs. per week)
          6. Unpaid employment (students may work as unpaid interns for at least 20 hrs. per week)

          What are the new reporting requirements under the OPT Final Rule?
          Students on all types of post-completion OPT – regular, cap gap OPT extension, or STEM extension have mandatory reporting requirements, as outlined on our website and in ISS Connect.

          How do I report my employment under OPT?
          When your OPT goes into effect, you will receive a link from SEVP from Do-NotReply.SEVP@ice.dhs.gov for creating an SEVP Portal account. The SEVP Portal allows you to:

          • View details about your OPT
          • Report changes to your address, telephone, and employer information
          • View and update data on all employers in one place

          In the SEVP Policy Guidance: Practical Training-Determining a Direct Relationship Between Employment and a Student's Major Area of Study (September 27, 2019), SEVP expanded the responsibilities of Designated School Officials (DSO) to review and determine the direct relationship between the OPT holder’s field of study and the work they will do during post-completion OPT. “DSO must make a determination of whether there is a direct relationship between the job and the major area of study" (SEVP Policy Guidance, September 27, 2019).

          In light of the Policy Guidance, an OPT holder, reporting OPT employment, should proceed as follows:

          1. Report employment on OPT via SEVP Portal
          2. Submit the New I-20 Request - Reporting OPT Employment request in ISS Connect for a new I-20 reflecting OPT employment.
            • Upload a job offer letter to ISS Connect
            • E-sign the Signature Document
            • Complete the Questionnaire

          Please note, ISS DSO preserves the right to request more evidence proving the direct relationship between the field of study, based on the degree earned, and the job duties you are going to perform. If the correlation is not evident from the job letter submitted, we may ask for a job description or list of duties. Once you submit your request in ISS Connect, your I-20 will be processed within 4-10 business days.

        • What happens after the end date of my Post-Completion Optional Practical Training?
          You have a 60-day grace period to:

          1. depart the U.S.;
          2. apply to continue in another educational program at Pace or another school; or
          3. change to another non-immigrant status

          What if my employer wishes to extend my employment beyond the OPT end date?
          It may happen if you are a beneficiary of an H1B petition filed by your current employer; you have the receipt notice or approval notice, but your OPT expires before October 1, the H1B start effective date. Cap gap extension will allow your employment eligibility to be extended until September 30. Although the cap gap extension is automatically granted by the law, the student must submit a Cap-Gap Extension request in ISS Connect in order to be issued a new I-20 with an extended OPT end date (September 30). The I-20 will serve as the only proof of employment eligibility (EAD card will not be extended) until H1B comes into effect.

        • Can OPT be extended?
          The OPT Final Rule published by the Department of Homeland Security in Federal Register effective May 10, 2016 allows a 24-month extension of the Post Completion OPT. The final rule allows F-1 students who are currently on OPT after earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (government approved STEM fields) to now be able to apply for 24 months of additional OPT if they have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer and meet all other required criteria.

          Is there any special paperwork for filing for STEM OPT?
          Students and their employers will have increased reporting requirements, along with a formal training plan documented on the US government Form I-983. Read more about STEM OPT on the US government STEM OPT FAQ.

          When should I apply for STEM OPT extension?
          You cannot apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following an initial 12- month period of post- completion OPT. The current requirement to properly file the request for a STEM OPT extension no sooner than 90 days prior to the end of the initial OPT period allows sufficient time to apply for the extension and ensures continuing employment authorization during the transition from the initial OPT period to the STEM OPT period. Student who filed a timely STEM OPT extension application may continue working while the STEM OPT application is pending, for up to 180 days beyond the expiration of the student's standard post-completion OPT.

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        Travel

        • It is not recommended to travel while OPT is pending. If you travel home after graduation but before an OPT request has been approved by USCIS, keep in mind that you cannot re-enter the U.S. until you have the OPT EAD card in your hand. If you leave the U.S. while your OPT is pending, please remember that USCIS processing time for OPT approval is long (exceeding 90 days), so plan your travel arrangements and job search accordingly.

        • Travel on OPT is possible, but it is strongly recommended that you secure a job first. You will be unable to reenter the U.S. in F-1 status if you exceed the 90-day unemployment clock. For reentry, you will need the following documents:

          • Valid I-20 issued for OPT endorsed with current travel signature (issued within 6 months prior to your return)
          • Valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future)
          • Valid/unexpired F-1 visa (Canadian citizens are exempt)
          • Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
          • Job Letter

          Check the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website for more information about reentry for F-1 visa holders.

          Please note: If you did not apply for OPT, but traveled outside of the U.S. after the program end date (during the 60-day grace period), you will have negated your eligibility to apply for OPT. OPT regulations require that you remain physically in the U.S. and in F-1 status at the time of application.

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        STEM OPT

        Students who earned a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) are able to apply for 24 months of additional OPT if they have a job or job offer from an E-verify employer and meet all other required criteria. USCIS must receive your application for STEM Extension before your current OPT expires, but no earlier than 90 days before it expires. Read more about STEM OPT.

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