12 Month OPT Application

Initial 12 Month OPT Application

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 student immigration status and provides for an initial 12-months of off-campus work authorization in their field of study in the United States for international students who have been enrolled full-time for a minimum of one academic year  (considered to be 9-months or two full semesters). 

  • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12-months of OPT per educational level (BA/BS to MS/MA to Ph.D).  If you previously applied for OPT for a “lower” academic level, you are eligible to apply for additional OPT if you have completed a “higher” academic degree (i.e. Master’s or Ph.D.)  
  • Any authorized Pre-completion OPT at the same academic level will be subtracted from any remaining 12-month eligibility for Post-completion OPT.  For example, if you used 3-months of Pre-completion OPT for a summer internship, you will only have 9-months remaining for Post-completion OPT
  • 12-months or more of previous FULL-TIME Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at the same academic level will eliminate any OPT eligibility
  • OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfers their SEVIS record to another institution to begin a new program.  
There are three different types of OPT:
1) Pre-completion OPT (employment before completion of studies): If you have any questions regarding Pre-completion OPT, please contact IPO
• Can be used on a part-time (20 hours/week or less) basis during classes, or full-time (more than 20 hours/week) basis during vacation/interim periods
• For internship and COOP work opportunities you should consider Curricular Practical Training (CPT)  prior to applying for Pre-completion OPT (see additional CPT information)
2) Post-completion OPT (employment after completion of studies and graduation)
• You may not apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) once you have applied for Post-completion OPT
3) STEM OPT extension – (extension of previous Post-completion OPT for those students who graduated in a STEM field)

Refer to our OPT Presentation for more information.  We also offer regular OPT workshops throughout the year presented by one of IPO advisors.  You may register for any of the upcoming workshops through Eventbrite.  Each workshop accepts up to 20 registrants. 

A list of Documents that you will need to collect upon receipt of your OPT endorsed I-20 (prepared by IPO) is available on slide 11 of the OPT presentation.  

Request your 12 Month OPT I-20.

NOTE – You will need to have a completed I-765 form prior to accessing this form. 

Additional detailed information, including mailing instructions, for the submission of your OPT application to USCIS will be provided once an IPO advisor has issued your OPT I-20 and reviewed your application. 

Additional Resources:

Reporting Requirements for 12 Month OPT

Frequently Asked Questions regarding OPT