OPT Checklist

This Checklist is designed to take students through all the necessary steps prior to filing Optional Practical Training (OPT).

  • If you believe you are eligible for OPT, please make an appointment with the International Student Advising Office to discuss the application process.
  • Give the following completed forms to the International Student Advisor: ENMU OPT Authorization Request Form, OPT Agreement, Copy of I-94. The International Student Advisor will not issue an OPT Request in SEVIS and print a new I-20 until all three forms have been submitted.
  • Gather all of the necessary immigration documents and supporting materials which must be mailed to USCIS:
    • Completed I-765 form, available from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website: http://www.uscis.gov/i-765
    • Copy of form I-94.
    • Copies of the name and photo page of the passport and visa page.
    • Copies of all I-20 forms that you have been issued.
    • Copies of any previous Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
    • Two recent, identical passport photographs.
    • $ 380 fee payable to "Department of Homeland Security"
    • New I-20 with OPT Request (schedule a meeting with the international advisor to get the updated I-20 with the OPT Request).
  • Make copies of all application materials for your own records.
  • File the form I-765 and supporting documents as listed in item 3 with USCIS according to where you live.

Important OPT Reminders

  • Students applying for pre-completion OPT, can file the I-765 form up to 90 days before being enrolled for a full academic year, as long as the OPT will not begin until after he/she has completed a full academic year. In case the student has already been enrolled for a full academic year, he/she can file the I-765 form up to 120 days prior to the requested OPT start date.
  • Students applying for post-completion OPT, can file the I-765 form up to 90 days before the program end date and no later than 60 days after his/her program end date.
  • The I-765 form must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the date your international advisor made the OPT recommendation in SEVIS.
  • In case students move to a new location or if there is a change of address, students are required to provide USCIS with the new address. If the student fails to do this their EAD will be returned to USCIS. To make changes submit an Online AR-11 form to USCIS and ask the international advisor to update SEVIS.
  • OPT employment must be directly related to the student's major field of study and students should only begin work with their EAD card in hand. I-20s will be terminated if students are found to be engaging in employment that is not related to the major field of study.
  • F-1 students are dependent upon full-time employment or volunteer services while on post-completion OPT. Students cannot accrue more than 90 days of unemployment while on post-completion OPT. If this occurs, students need to consult with the international advisor immediately.
  • Don't know how to write a check? Please visit: http://www.immihelp.com/newcomer/writing-a-check-tips.html

Approval

  • If a student's application is approved, the USCIS will change the status of the student to 'approved' through an interface with SEVIS, including the date that the student is authorized for OPT. The authorized EAD card will also be sent to the student by USCIS. An automatic SEVIS alert from SEVIS will let students know that their application has been approved. The student's SEVIS record remains active for the duration of OPT extension, plus 60 days

Denial

  • If a student's application is denied, USCIS updates it in the student's SEVIS record by changing the application status to 'denied'. Students also get notice of denial from the USCIS. Students won't be able to work without an approved EAD in all cases.

Please mail your completed OPT application packet to:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries

USCIS
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For Express mail and courier deliveries

USCIS
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067