What is OPT? It is a one-year period for F-1 students to work in the US in a field related to their area of studies/major. For example: Computer Science/Management Information Systems graduates should be employed in an information technology area.
How long is OPT? A maximum of 12 months with no extensions.
When does it start? The starting date depends on you, the student. You will need to decide when you will be done with your program in order to determine the starting date. You may wish to discuss this with the Immigration & Visa Coordinator.
Where to apply? Visit International Students and Scholars Office in Maucker Union.
How to Apply? To apply, you will need to work with the Immigration & Visa Coordinator. Before scheduling an appointment to meet with the Immigration & Visa Coordinator, please prepare the following items:
2 passport sized photos of yourself taken at a full frontal view, with the subject looking straight at the camera. For more detailed guidelines
Passport, visa and I-94 card: Bring these to your advising appointment so that copies can be made to submit with your application.
How long does the application take? 90 days.
Can I work before approval is granted? You cannot start working before your application is approved.
Can I start searching for a job before the approval is granted? YES!
Where can I work? Anywhere in the US. You must keep International Students and Scholars Office informed of your residential address whenever it changes.
Can I leave the US for a visit while waiting for approval? No. Such an action would cancel your application.
What status do I hold with an OPT? Your status will be F-1 student status while you are authorized for OPT. This means that before you leave the US, the Designated School Official at UNI must endorse the back of your I-20. An unexpired I-20 is not necessary because the endorsement of the OPT application at the back of the I-20 is proof that you are on OPT. Carry your OPT card with you when you travel abroad.
Can I do more than one OPT? Yes! 12 months of OPT are available per each academic level from baccalaureate through doctoral. Only one year is allowed per each level. You cannot “save” 12 months of OPT from a bachelor’s degree and ask for 24 months following a subsequent master’s degree.
Can I be a full-time student while on OPT? NO! You cannot be enrolled as a full-time student while on OPT. The OPT will not be valid if you transfer to another school or change degree levels. This means that you cannot be a full-time student while working full-time with your OPT. However, you can be a part-time student. Be sure to consult with the Immigration & Visa Coordinator before taking any classes while on OPT.