Choosing your OPT start date is one of most challenging parts of the application process. Whether you apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT we advise you to review these tips and speak to your OISS adviser if you are still unsure before proceeding with your OPT application.
Pre-Completion OPT is for off-campus employment before graduation.
If you do not know the exact date you will start working, you may choose the earliest date you hope to start working as your prospective start date and calculate your application timeline accordingly. You cannot change your start date after submitting your OPT application, so be sure to discuss the timing of this date with your adviser if you are unsure.
Pre-Completion OPT Sample Application Timeline
Post-Completion OPT is for any type of work after graduation. Please note that if you do not apply for OPT and depart from the U.S. during the 60 day “grace period”, your eligibility for OPT ends when you leave the U.S.
OPT Start Date
- Your OPT start date begins within 60 days of your program end and ends 12 months after this date.
- Your OPT start date is generally based on your employment start date (as long as it is within 60 days after your program end).
- If your employment start date is longer than 60 days after your program end, your OPT start date will still be 60 days after your program end, as this is the latest date possible to select.
- If you are not sure when your employment will start, you should make your best estimate based on desired time off. Your OPT start date must be within 60 days after your program end, as this is the latest date possible to select.
- If you do not start work on your OPT start date,you have up to 90 days within the 12-months of the card that you can be “unemployed” and still keep your status.
- You cannot change your start date after submitting your OPT application, so be sure to discuss the timing of this date with your adviser if you are unsure.
Post-Completion OPT Sample Application Timeline