F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Applications Now Open - Apply Now!

February 22, 2024
Sample EAD card

F-1 students who plan to work in the U.S. may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a temporary employment authorization that provides an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off-campus. If you will be graduating this May and plan on working in the U.S. this summer, it is now time to complete your OPT Request on OISS Connect and then submit your application to USCIS with your new OPT I-20. 

Please note that you must be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT and you do not need a job to apply for OPT.  Do not pay the USCIS fee of $410 until you have a new I-20 from OISS recommending you for OPT.

Here are a few resources to help get you started:

  • Review our website: You will find detailed information on eligibility, the application timeline, and process on our F-1 OPT page.
  • Review a recording of the appropriate OPT WorkshopOISS advisers held several OPT workshops over the past few weeks that should answer many of your questions and help get you started on the OPT application process. If you will be applying for OPT, it is highly recommended that you watch the recording before starting the application. There are very important tips covered in the workshop to ensure a successful application!

As it may take 90 days or more for USCIS to process an OPT application, it is important to apply as early as possible:

  • Are you graduating this May? The EAD will be needed for travel and work after May 20 so now is the time to apply so that you have what you need for travel beyond graduation. 
  • Are you a continuing student? You may be eligible to apply for pre-completion OPT and you can apply as early as 90 days before your requested employment start date.
  • Fee increases! The cost of OPT is going up this Spring so make sure you keep these dates in mind and apply early to save money. As of February 26th: The optional Premium Processing service for OPT applications increased to $1,685. On April 1st: The required OPT application fee is increasing from $410 to $470. It is highly recommended that you review the fees you will be charged carefully before you submit your payment information to USCIS to ensure they are correct.

Get started now!