Please read the following information thoroughly as the majority of questions that students have are covered. The first section is informational. The second part will instruct you on how to obtain your OPT I-20 from OIS and put together your packet to mail to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Maintain F-1 student status for a minimum of one academic year and be posted at degree level. OPT is based on being posted for at least a Fall and a Spring semester. In the majority of cases, summers do not count.
- A student who uses a year or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training is not eligible for OPT. Part-time periods of CPT do not count toward this total.
You cannot work legally until the following two conditions are satisfied:
- You receive your EAD card in the mail
- Your work date on the EAD card has begun
The entire application process, from time of submission to OIS for your OPT I-20 to receipt of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) can take 2 - 3 months, so plan accordingly.