Post-Completion OPT Application Process
Post- Completion OPT Definition and Purpose
Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month period of work authorization given to an F-1 status student who has completed their program of study. OPT is meant to help students to gain practical work experience directly related to their field of study.
An F-1 status student on a period of post-completion OPT is authorized to work in both paid and unpaid positions as well as for multiple employers, self-employment and freelance/contract employment. However, all employment during the initial period of OPT must be in positions that are directly-related to the student’s field of study.
When on a period of OPT, the student must work at least 20 hours per week (total combined employment) or they will accrue days of unemployment. There is a limit of 90 days of unemployment during the initial 12-month period of OPT. A day of unemployment is any day in a week in which the student on OPT does not work 20 hours, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
The student’s expected completion date determines when they may apply for OPT and what date they may ask for as a starting date of the OPT. The completion date is the date on which all requirements for the degree will have been completed. (It will show on your I-20 as “Program End date”)
There is a 150-day range in which to apply for OPT. The earliest an application can be received by the USCIS is 90 days before a student’s completion date. The latest an application can be received by USCIS is 60 days after a student’s completion date. We recommend applying as early as possible.
The requested starting date may be from the day after a student’s Program End Date up until 60 days after a student’s Program End Date.
While on OPT, students are still attached to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)at Queens College
STEP 1: Prepare the following documents to submit to the ISSO
- The opt Request Form
- The OPT Disclaimer Form (via the OPT request form above, must be hand-signed, NO ELECTRONIC SIGN)
- The draft electronic Form I-765- Application for Employment Authorization (via the OPT request form above)
1,2&3 The opt Request Form, the disclaimer and the draft I765 electronic form
Visit our website and click the ISS Virtual Office Assistant to access the The Optional Practical Training Request Form.
The form must be completed by the student applying for OPT, but it is not submitted to USCIS with the OPT application. Instead, the Office of International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will use the form to update the student’s SEVIS record with their expected completion date and to issue an updated Form I–20. This form also allows you to upload the hand–signed disclaimer.
Please refer to the Instruction to here: Request Forms Instructions for further details.
3. The electronic draft version of the I-765 Form -on-line Application for Employment Authorization.
- The most important part of an application for Optional Practical Training (OPT) is Form I–765. You must receive requested OPT I-20 signed from your Designated School Official (DSO) before submitting your online OPT application. Your International Student Advisor in the Office of International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will review your draft I–765 to ensure its completeness and accuracy.
- Follow this link for detailed instructions and step-by-step instructions for completing Form I-765 and saving it to your computer.
- Detailed instructions for completing the I-765 are also available through the USCIS website.
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- You must apply for graduation before applying for OPT through https://hrsa.cunyfirst.cuny.edu
- You can request your I-20 from ISS as early as 90 days before program completion and as late as 40 days after you’ve completed your program. The sooner you apply, the more flexibility you have with a start date that best fits your case.
- It takes USCIS 90 – 150 days to process your OPT application-therefore applying early is recommended.
- It takes ISSO about 10 business days to process your OPT I20 request most of the academic year.
STEP 2: Obtain an updated Form I-20 with an OPT Recommendation.
- The Office of International Students‘ main role in the OPT application process is to make a recommendation for OPT in the SEVIS system and issue an updated Form I–20 with the OPT request. After submitting the required documents to ISSO, we will process a new I–20 with the OPT recommendation dates and email you a copy with an electronic signature, so you can print, sign, scan it onto your computer, and submit it along with the remaining documents to complete your I–765 online application.
- Note: Do not submit your on-line application without the I-20 with an OPT
STEP 3: Gather and scan the following information on your PC
- JPG, JPEG, or PNG of 2 inches by 2-inch passport style photo
- PDF of your most recent I-94
- PDF Your passport and visa
- PDFs of all previously CPT or OPT–endorsed I–20s (if applicable)
- PDF of Post-OPT endorsed I-20- This is the new OPT-recommended I-20
- Fee Payment
STEP 4: Organize and complete Your On- Line Application.
Review all of the information you have provided and then submit your I–765 online application.
You may follow the step by step instruction here and review the instructions on the USCIS page Filing Form I-765 Online for F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training
- These instructions are intended to assist you in completing your application; however, they should not be taken as legal advice. Ultimately, it is the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who makes the final decision on your OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to ensure that your application is accurate and complete before it is submitted to the US government. Incomplete or incorrect applications may lead to delays in processing or a denial. QC shall not be held liable for any delays, denials, or errors on your OPT application