Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a unique opportunity for F-1 international students to engage in up to twelve (12) months of employment in the United States following the completion of their degree requirements. This type of employment must begin after a student has completed all degree requirements, and requires an endorsement from an NDNU DSO and adjudication/approval by USCIS.

Eligibility Requirements and General Information

  • You must have been in lawful F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year (by the time you wish to begin OPT).
  • Your intended employment is directly related to your major field of study and commensurate with your level of education; however, a job offer is not required when you apply.
  • Your application can be submitted up to 90 days prior to the completion of your degree requirements/I-20 program end date, and must be submitted no later than the end of the 60-day grace period following your I-20 program end date. We recommend applying exactly 90 days prior to your expected OPT start date (your intended start date can be any date within your 60-day grace period).
  • The training is limited to 12 months within the 14-month period following the completion of degree requirements. You can participate in OPT only once per degree level. For example, if you are completing a second master’s degree at NDNU, but you have already participated in OPT following the completion of your first master’s degree, you are not eligible for an additional year of OPT. However, if you subsequently complete a doctorate degree, you would then be eligible for another period of OPT.
  • If, during your period of OPT Authorization, you request a transfer of your I-20 to another SEVP-approved school for a new academic program, your OPT will automatically end when your I-20 is transferred.
  • During your period of OPT authorization, your SEVIS record is still maintained by NDNU. During the entire period of your OPT authorization, you are required to update an NDNU DSO with any changes to your name, address, and employer. Failure to make timely updates (within ten days of any change to your name, address, or employer) may result in the termination of your F-1 status.
  • If you have been approved for one year of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you are not eligible for OPT (this is extremely uncommon).

Work/Travel

  • You may not work until you have completed all requirements for your program of study, received the “Employment Authorization Document (EAD)” from USCIS and the specified starting date has arrived.
  • To travel outside of US for a short period of time while on OPT and employed, you need a valid EAD, a valid F-1 visa, an endorsed I-20 within the last 6 months, and a letter from your employer; however, your return to U.S. is not guaranteed. For more information regarding travel during OPT, please click the following link: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm.

Application Procedure

  1. Attend an OPT Information Forum to learn more about Optional Practical Training. If you are unable to attend this forum, please make an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss the application process in further detail.
  2. Please compile all of these forms and turn them in to the International Student Office.
    • OPT Request Form
    • Form G-1145; Suggested typed, not handwrtten
    • Original, signed Form I-765
    • Photocopy of passport ID page with photo, passport number and expiration date (must be valid for at least 6 months from application date)
    • Photo copy of your visa
    • Printout of I-94 arrival/departure document 
    • Photocopies of previous I-20s and any previously issued Employment Authorization cards
    • Two (2) U.S. Style Passport Photos: Write your name and i-94 number on the back of each photo
    • $410.00 check payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  3. Once your application is complete, the NDNU International Students Office will create your OPT endorsed I-20 and you will be responsible for sending the documents to USCIS.