Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization for a student to engage in employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Students may apply up to 90 days prior to their program end date and up to 60 days past their program end date. Due to USCIS processing times, it is highly recommended that students apply early.
POST-COMPLETION OPT APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Step 1: Complete the OPT Online Preparation Blackboard Course
Students graduating in the current term will be enrolled in the Blackboard course, titled "OPT Online Preparation Course," which gives detailed instructions on applying for OPT, completing required forms, and maintaining F-1 status while on OPT. All students that apply for OPT are required to attend the OPT Information Session or complete the online course prior to submitting a Post-Completion OPT I-20 Request Form or meeting with the ISO staff.
Step 2: Submit the Post-Completion OPT Request Form signed by your academic advisor to the ISO.
Students must submit the Post-Completion OPT Request Form.
Upon submission of this form, students will be instructed to sign up for the upcoming OPT Workshop. Students must be prepared to submit their OPT application to USCIS within 2 weeks of them submitting the OPT Request Form.
Step 3: Collect the required documentation.
Students applying for OPT must collect all of the documents listed on the OPT Application Checklist – Click here to download! Students must complete and bring the documents to their assigned OPT Workshop Appointment for review by the ISO staff. Detailed instructions on completing forms can be found on the "OPT Online Preparation" course on Blackboard.
- Form G-1145
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
- Copies of Page 1 and travel signature pages of ALL I-20s that have been issued to you from University of New Haven, and from previous institutions if available
- Printed electronic I-94 Record
- Color copy of your most recent U.S. F-1 visa
- Color copy of passport biographical page
- 2 standard (2" x 2") passport-sized, recent, color photos. Write your full name and I-94 number in pencil on the back.
- Check or money order for $410 United States Dollars (USD) made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Step 4: Attend the OPT Workshop with your complete OPT application packet.
Students must bring the above documents to their assigned OPT Workshop. The ISO staff will review each student’s packet, distribute the new OPT Request I-20, and provide important instructions on mailing the application to USCIS and the next steps in the process.
Students must attend the OPT Workshop within 2 weeks of submitting their OPT Request Form. If a student does not attend an OPT Workshop, their OPT request will be canceled and they must resubmit the OPT Request Form, since OPT applications must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the issue date of the OPT I-20.
Step 5: Mail the OPT application packet to USCIS
Once students have attended the OPT Workshop and received their new OPT I-20, they must mail their packet to USCIS. Please note that USCIS must receive the OPT application within 30 days of the issue date on the OPT I-20.
The ISO is able to provide you with general guidance. However, any advice provided to you by our office does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, the USCIS may change its interpretation of immigration policies, procedures, regulations, and eligibility requirements for benefits at any time. This office will do its best to provide you with the most current guidance, but please be mindful that each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.
REPORTING EMPLOYMENT ON OPT:
During a student's OPT authorization period, they must report to the International Services Office any time they accept employment by submitting the OPT/STEM Employment Information Form, which requires the following documentation:
- Offer letter (must be on company letterhead, state the date the student began employment, and whether the student is a full or part-time employee.)
- Copy of EAD card
Any change of U.S. address, phone number, or email must be send to the ISO within 10 days of the change via the Personal Information Update Form.
Students are permitted to change jobs during the Post-Completion OPT period; however all jobs must be related to the field of study and all employment must be reported to the ISO accompanied by an offer letter within 10 days of the change.
Failure to properly report employment in a timely manner can result in termination of your work authorization period and may result in ineligibility for further work authorization applications.
The SEVIS system counts days of unemployment based on the information reported in your SEVIS Record by ISO when you send us updates or by you via your Portal. Failure to properly report employment in a timely manner can result in the termination of the work authorization period, loss of legal F-1 status, and may result in ineligibility for further work authorization applications. It is important that what you enter in your Portal match the same evidence you send to the ISO.
Students are advised not to travel while their application is in process. Travel before receiving your EAD card can result in denial of your application.