Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training
Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) gives you the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in your degree program to off-campus work in your major field of study prior to your graduation.
Step 1: Determine OPT Eligibility
- You must have completed one full academic year. (You must complete one full academic year by the OPT start date, but you can apply before completing a full year. For example, a first year JD student may apply in March for pre-completion OPT to begin in June.)
- You need to be in good academic standing.
- No job offer letter is required.
- F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT at each new and higher degree level.
- You may apply for part-time OPT (up to 20 hours per week) during academic year.
- You may apply for full-time OPT for the summer break.
- All employment must be directly related to the major field of study
- You can apply up to 90 days before your requested start date
Step 2: View Online Pre-Completion OPT Session
Step 3: Submit OPT Request Form and Quiz
Complete the OPT Request Form and Quiz.
Our office will recommend OPT and issue a new I-20
(Processing Time: 5 business days) to be included in the USCIS
application. If you submit the form more than 90 days before your
requested start date, it will be held and processed so that you can
pick up the new I-20 90 days prior to your requested start date.
Step 4: Complete Form I-765 & Submit OPT Application Materials to USCIS
- Filing Fee: Personal check, cashiers check, money order, or credit card. Please view the USCIS fee instructions
to make sure you comply. Please note that the filing fee for OPT has increased to $410. The
purpose of payment is "I-765 application fee". Money orders are
available at the post office.
- Two passport-style photos taken within 30 days (Should meet requirements here; can be taken at CVS, UPS store, or post office)
- Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
- Form I-765
- Copy of new Form I-20 (with OPT recommendation on page 3). Must be received by USCIS within 30 days of issuance or application will be denied.
- Copies of all previous I-20s. If you do not have copies of all of your previous I-20s, you should write a letter acknowledging that they are missing (see sample letter).
- Copies of previous EADs (if any)
- Copy of passport biographic page
- Printout of I-94 record
- Copy of F-1 Visa (unless Canadian citizen)
Tips for Completing the I-765
- Type this form, then print and sign. Handwritten forms can result in errors on the EAD.
- "I am applying for": check "permission to accept employment"
- Item 1: Your family name comes first and should be in ALL CAPS. Your name should match the name on your I-20 and on your passport.
- Item 3: List the address where USCIS will send the receipt notice and EAD. This address should remain valid for at least three months after submission of the application. Mail from USCIS cannot be forwarded to another address.
- Item 6: Use the U.S. style of writing dates (month/day/year)
- Item 14: Your I-94 number is an 11 digit number found on your I-94 record.
- Item 15: If you have submitted this form to USCIS previously, you have applied. If you still have either the receipt or the approval notice from your initial application, the receipt number tells you where it was filed (PSC = Potomac Service Center, SRC = Texas, EAC = Vermont, LIN = Nebraska, WAC = California). Enter the date you were approved/denied. If you were granted or denied, you must attach a copy of the EAD or denial.
- Items 16 and 17: This information can be found on your I-94 record.
- Items 18 and 19: F-1 Student. (If you completed a change of status in the U.S., check with your advisor about Items 18 and 19.)
- Item 20: Reason code for pre-completion OPT is (c)(3)(a)
- Item 21 (Employer's E-Verify Number): Leave blank.
- Certification: After printing form, sign and date. Your application will be rejected if this form is not signed.
Submit OPT Application to USCIS. If you list a DC, Maryland, or
Virginia address on Form I-765, send to the USICS Texas lockbox:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries (make sure to send via priority mail --retain your tracking number):
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express mail and courier deliveries (FedEx or UPS):
2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
If you list another state on the I-765, look up the lockbox location address here.
Step 5: What Happens Next?
Wait: Application Processing may take up to 90 days.
Once USCIS approves the OPT, you will receive an Employment Authorized Document (EAD). You cannot begin work until you have received the EAD card and the EAD dates are current. The EAD will explicitly state the dates you are authorized to work. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply for one as soon as your EAD start date is valid.