What is OPT?
Optional Practical Training allows students in F-1 status to work part-time or full-time in his/her field of study for up to 12 months after completion of each degree level (e.g. Bachelor, Master, Doctorate). This work can be paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time. Students on OPT must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
On site OPT workshops are scheduled periodically throughout the year. Please check your email or contact us for the most current workshop schedule.
When should I file for OPT?
The application must be filed up to 90 days prior to the degree program end date and no later than 60 days after the program end date. Please note that processing times can be 3-5 months, so early application is recommended.
Make an appointment with the Office of International Programs and bring the following documents:
- Completed USCIS form I-765 (available at uscis.gov)
- Current original I-20
- Passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months)
- Current color passport photos (2)
- Check for $380 payable to “Department of Homeland Security”
- Photocopies of previous EAD card (if applicable)
If you are eligible and have been in status for at least one academic year, the Office of International Programs will recommend OPT via SEVIS and issue a new for I-20 noting your OPT recommendation. After mailing your application paperwork you will receive a receipt notice with a receipt number within a few weeks. This will allow you to track your approval status online.
Once you receive your EAD in the mail it will list your employment start and end date (until you receive the card your actual start date is not approved). Be sure to submit a copy of the card to the international programs office.
As soon as you have located employment you must submit a letter from your employer stating your employment period, the number of hours per week you will work and your supervisor’s contact information. Until an employer is entered you will be considered unemployed and the time will count towards your allowed unemployment of 90 days for the duration of your OPT.
While you are on OPT your SEVIS record is still a part of your NSU student records which is maintained by the international programs office. Any changes in name, address, employment, status, etc. must be reported within 10 days.