OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT):
How to Apply
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an opportunity for you as an F-1 student to work in the United States
for one year in an area related to your course of study. You may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days
before completing your educational program, and no more than 60 days after completing your educational
program. Additionally, USCIS must receive your application no later than 30 days after your advisor
recommends you for OPT in SEVIS.
BEFORE APPLYING FOR OPT
Read OPT: General Information.
Speak to your advisor about your plans.
When you are ready to apply, submit an OPT Recommendation Request to your advisor.
Pick up your new I-20 showing OPT endorsement, signed by both you and your advisor.
COMPILE YOUR OPT APPLICATION
(up to 90 days before program completion, and no later than 60 days after program completion)
I-765 filing fee, in the form of a check or money order, payable to “U. S. Department of Homeland
2 identical immigration-style photos taken within 30 days (see here
for photo requirements)
Form I-20 printed and signed, showing OPT endorsement
Photocopies of all prior Forms I-20, especially those on which CPT or OPT was granted previously
Photocopies of any previous EAD cards
Photocopy of Form I-94 (both sides of cardstock I-94 or copy of electronic I-94 printout)
Photocopy of the passport ID pages: photo page, page with passport validity dates (including renewal
page if original has expired), and pages showing amendments such as name changes or corrections
Photocopy of the F-1 visa passport page
Form G-1145, clipped to the first page of your application packet (optional; if you would like to
receive an email or a text message that your application has been received by USCIS)
SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION
(no later than 30 days after your advisor recommends you for OPT)
Have your advisor review your application for accuracy (if you want).
Make a photocopy of your completed application to keep for your records.
Mail your application packet to the correct USCIS Lockbox Facility address.
If your OPT will be in Colorado, your Lockbox Facility address is:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Ask for delivery confirmation from the post office.