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International On Campus

OPT Tutorial

Purpose

To expedite the OPT application process this tutorial will allow you to:

1. Learn about standard (12-month) OPT,
2. Understand the application process, and
3. Submit your request via myPassport

Read this information with care so you are aware of all the rules and regulations concerning your OPT. Once you complete the tutorial you may begin the application process.

Eligibility for Standard OPT

Eligible:

  • F-1 student who has been in lawful status (the same SEVIS record) for one academic year.
  • A job offer is not required to apply.
  • You may apply up to 90 days prior to your program completion date (I-20 end date).
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must receive your OPT application before the last day of your 60-day grace period.

Not Eligible:

  • Students in an intensive English language, pathway, or certificate program.
  • Students who have used 12 months of full-time CPT during this program level.

Post-Completion OPT:

  • Full-time employment after the completion of all degree requirements.
    • (Masters and doctoral students may use post-completion OPT if they have completed all coursework excluding thesis/dissertation. It is recommended you complete your thesis/dissertation during the first six months of your OPT).
  • Must apply for OPT no later than the 60th day of your grace period.
  • Must complete all practical training within 14-month period following the completion of your academic program. (Example: 60-day grace period + 12 months OPT = 14-month maximum).

Applying: General Information

“When should I apply?”

You should apply 90 days before you want to start working on standard (12 month) OPT. OPT forms must be received by the 60th day of your grace period. You may apply 90 days before your program end date.
If you wait until the end of your grace period to apply for OPT, it may affect your 90 days of unemployment. Additionally, you may not receive an entire year of OPT authorization.

May I expedite my OPT application?

Expedited requests are not often being approved. You are free to contact USCIS and make the request, but do know that it is highly unlikely you will see a change in your processing time.

“What happens if I do not receive my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by the end of my grace period?”

This is fine, you are still in status as long as you have a pending application for OPT. You may not start working until you receive your EAD (OPT) card and the approved start date has been reached.

“What immigration status do I have while on OPT?”

You are still in F-1 status while on OPT.

“What happens if I do not receive my EAD (OPT) card by my start date?”

You must wait to begin working until you receive your EAD (OPT) card!

“May I work on campus during my grace period?”

You may only work on campus during your grace period if you have a valid EAD (OPT) card and the approved start date has been reached, the position is more than 20 hours per week, and employment is related to your field of study. Once your program of study ends you no longer have work authorization on campus. If you work on campus during your grace period without an OPT card you are in violation of your status.

Applying: Choosing OPT Start Dates

Example: Expected degree completion in fall 2018

  • OPT end date is 12 months after start date. (Example: December 15, 2018 to December 14, 2019).
  • You will receive an additional 60-day grace period after the end of your OPT (Each grace period is independent). You may not work during your grace periods.
  • Due to application processing times, you should try to submit your OPT application approximately 90 days before your intended OPT start date.

Graduate Students

When is My Program End Date?

The program end date for graduate students could be one of the following (depending on your specific situation):

  • The last day of your assistantship
  • The last day of the semester

If you have questions about your program end date, please meet with an advisor.

The Last Day of Your Assistantship

If you hold an assistantship (and a WSU department is paying for your tuition and credits), your program end date will be the date your assistantship ends*.

  • Example: Fall 2018 semester assistantship ending December 31, 2018 and date of defense is November 14, 2018. Your program end date will be the date your assistantship ends, December 31, 2018.

*When you hold an assistantship, you have signed a contract with the university and are expected to complete assigned duties. Therefore, IP-Global Services will use the assistantship end date as your program end date.

End of Semester

This would be the program end date for:

  • Students who are defending and do not have an assistantship
  • Students who are non-thesis
  • Students that are paid by time slip or hourly*.

*You are not eligible to use the assistantship end date as your program end date.

Frequently Asked Questions

May I have an assistantship while on OPT?

  • No, graduate assistantships require full-time enrollment and full-time enrollment in a degree program is not allowed while on OPT.

May I work on campus after I defend or my assistantship ends?

  • You may only work if your OPT has been approved and your card is in hand and the approved start date has been reached. Once your program has ended, you no longer have work authorization on campus without an EAD card.

May I volunteer with my professor or department until I get my EAD card?

  • Volunteer work may count as OPT employment; however, if you are volunteering in a position that would normally be paid you are not in compliance with Department of Labor regulations. You should not volunteer in a position that would normally be paid.

May I use CPT if I find a job before my OPT starts?

  • CPT is not used to facilitate employment. CPT employment must be an integral part of the major field of study. Once you submit your OPT application you and your department are certifying that all degree requirements are done or will be done. For this reason IP-Global Services cannot authorize CPT.

Applying: Required Documents

Make sure you copy and complete all documents prior to submitting your request in myPassport*.

  • OPT I-20 request form (program information must be verified by your academic advisor)
  • $410** check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security
  • Two passport size photographs (taken within the past 30 days)
  • I-765 form
  • Copy of valid passport (extension if necessary)
  • Copy of U.S. visa
  • Copy of I-94 card front and back OR electronic printout from the CBP website (Travel history is not your I-94 information)
  • Previous EAD cards (if applicable)
  • G-1145: recommended
  • Make a copy of the OPT application packet for your records

*Errors will cause delays in processing your request
**Fee subject to change

Applying: Payment information

A personal check, money order, or bank check for $410*. Make sure you put a current date on the check – this is a common reason for packets to be returned!
*Fee subject to change

Applying: Photographs

  • Must be taken within the past 30 days (You may not use pictures that have already been used on a passport or visa. This is a common reason for a packet to be returned).
  • May not be the same photo as in passport or visa.
  • Must be taken with a white background.
  • Must be U.S. passport size, not your home country passport size.
  • Do not wear your eye glasses.
  • Write your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo in pencil.

Well-Composed Photos:

 

Applying: I-765 Information

How to Fill Out the I-765

Step 1: Download the I-765 from the USCIS webpage
Step 2: Fill out the I-765

  • Type your answers
  • Answer all questions fully and accurately
  • If a question does not apply write “N/A” (N/A means Not Applicable)
  • Print and complete all seven pages (if any pages are missing, your application will be rejected

Some Parts of the I-765 are confusing. WSU’s Office of International Programs can provide assistance in completing those sections.

I-765 Form

I-765 Page 1

Part 1: Reason for Applying
OPT Request
1.a Initial Permission
STEM Extension
1.c. Renewal of my permission

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

Part 2: Information About You
#1. Write your name
If you do not have a middle name write “N/A”
Other Names Used #2-4
If you have had other names used on official documents please enter them here.
If you have not had other names or there are extra blanks enter “N/A”

I-765 Form

I-765 Page 2

Part 2: Information About You
#5. This is where you want your Receipt Notice and your EAD card to be mailed.
This address should be valid for 3-5 months. You can use a friend or family members address if you wish. You can also use Global Services’ address if you wish.
#5.a. Name of Friend or Global Services
#5.b-5.e Write a valid Mailing Address
#6 If the address in #5 is not where you live select no and complete 7.a-7.d with your current physical address.
If you answer “Yes” to #6 write N/A in #7.a-7.d.
Global Services Address
5.a. WSU IP Global Services
5.b. P.O. Box. 645121
5.d-f. Pullman, WA 99164

I-765 Form Page 2 Part 2

#8. F-1 Students do not have an A-Number, leave this blank
#9. F-1 Students do not have a USCIS Online Account Number, leave this blank
#10-11 Answer these accurately
#12. Check “No” if you have never applies for an EAD before.
#12 Check “Yes” if you have applied for an EAD before.
#12 does not apply in you had CPT.
If you said yes to #12 you will need to include copies of your old EAD card.

I-765 Form Page 2 Part 2 (8-12)

#13-17.b. Social Security Number (SSN)
#13.a.
Check “Yes” if you have a SSN and enter your SSN into #13.b.
Check “No” if you do not have an SSN. Skip to #14
#14
Check “Yes” if you want a new or replacement SSN card. Complete #15-17.b.
Check “No” if you do not want a replacement card.
If “No” enter “N/A” in questions 16-17.b.

I-765 Form Page 2 Part 2 (13-17)

#18. Countries of Citizenship, pg. 2
List all of your citizenships here. If you need more space please use Part 6 of the I-765 to list more.
If you only have 1 citizenship please write “N/A” in 18.b.

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

I-765 Form Page 2 Part 2 (18)

I-765 Page 3

Part 2: Information About You
#19-20 Place of Birth, pg. 3
List the name of the country when it was names when you were born, even if it has changed.
Make sure your Date of Birth is in the correct format. Month- Day- Year

I-765 Form Page 3 Part 2 (19-20)

#21 Use your current I-94 number
This is found on the electronic I-94
#21b-e. Passport Information
Enter your passport information here. This should be the passport that matches your I-20
#21.c. Write “N/A” here
#22. Date of Last Entry
Look on your I-94
#23 Place of Last Arrival
This can be found on your passport admission stamp or in the travel history of your I-94
#24 Immigration Status at Last Entry
If you entered on an I-20 it should be F-1 Student
#25 Current Immigration Status
Current stat should be F-1 Student
#26 your SEVIS ID number is on the top left of your I-20. It starts with “N00…”

I-765 Form Page 3 Part 2 (21-26)

#27 Eligibility Category
OPT before graduation
(C) (3) (A) for pre-completion OPT
Please speak with Global Services before selecting this.
OPT for after graduation (Including ABD)
(C) (3) (B) for post completion OPT
STEM OPT
(C) (3) (C) for STEM Extension
#28-31.b. Other Eligibility Categories
#28 is for STEM OPT
Only fill this in if you are applying for STEM OPT
Write “N/A” in these fields. They are not applicable to OPT. Leave check boxes blank.

I-765 Form Page Part 2 (27-31b)

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

I-765 Page 4

Part 3: Applicant Statement
#1.a. Select to indicate you have read and understood the questions
#1.b. Leave Blank
#2 Leave Blank
#3-6 Provide your information as requested
Read the applicant’s Declaration and Certification carefully. Make sure you understand and agree.
Applicant’s Signature
#7.a-7.b. Hand sign your name and provide the date you signed the form. NO DIGITAL SIGNATURES
Part 4 pg. 4
Does not apply to you.
Write “N/A” for #1.a-2

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

I-765 Form Page 4 Part 3

I-765 Pages 5-6

Parts 4-5: Applicant Statement
Part 4 pg. 5
Does not apply to you.
Write “N/A” for each item
Part 5 pg. 5
Does not apply to you.
Write “N/A” for each item
Part 5 pg. 6
Does not apply to you.
Write “N/A” for each item

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

I-765 Form Pages 5-6

I-765 Page 7

Part 6: Additional Information
Part 6 Additional information. Pg. 7
Use this if you have additional information you want to share :
Had other SEVIS IDs
Authorized for CPT or OPT
If the above does not apply leave part 6 blank. You are done!

I-765 Form Page 7

NOTE: The electronic I-765 does not allow the character “/” you will have to write it in by hand.

Processing Procedures

  • Step 1: Log into mypassport.wsu.edu 
  • Step 2: Enter your WSU network ID and password
  • Step 3: Select F-1 Student Services
  • Step 4: Select Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Step 5: Review OPT tutorial
    • The OPT tutorial outlines all the application materials and processes
    • You are responsible for reviewing all the information in the tutorial
  • Step 6: Scan and upload all application materials (make sure scans are readable for advisor review)
  • Step 7: Enter your academic advisor/program coordinator’s contact information (IP-Global Services must verify you are finishing your program)
  • We recommend you notify your academic advisor/program coordinator that they will be receiving an email from mypassport.wsu
  • Step 8: Once your academic advisor has confirmed program information the OPT electronic form will route to an international student advisor.(This happens instantly once your academic advisor/program coordinator confirms your program information).
  • An international student advisor will review your documents and create your OPT I-20.
  • You will receive an email when your I-20 has been created and is ready for pick up.
  • Global Services has a five business processing time after the academic advisor approves.

Send Packet to USCIS

Step 9: Mail completed OPT application packet to USCIS Service Center. It must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the recommendation.

Make sure all of the following documents are in your packet – note what should be original and what should be submitted as a copy:

  • Original form I-765 (ensure it is signed)
  • Original check for $410.00 dollars made out to “US Department of Homeland Security
  • Original passport style photographs (must be professionally taken in the last 30 days)
  • Copy of your valid passport page (expired or old passports not needed)
  • Copy of visa
  • Copy of electronic I-94 (travel history is not the same as I-94 number) or copy paper I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of I-20 (do not send original I-20 to USCIS)
  • Original G-1145 electronic notification form (optional)
  • Copy of previous OPT/EAD card (if applicable)
  • Copy of previous I-20 (if CPT was not authorized by WSU)

Sending Your Complete Packet

Step 10: Mail completed OPT application packet to USCIS Service Center (It is recommended you request a tracking number and delivery confirmation and keep a copy of all documents sent to USCIS for your record).

Regular mail
USCIS P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Express/overnight delivery
USCIS Attn: AOS1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Employment Reporting Instructions

Immigration regulations require you to inform WSU of any employment or changes in employment within 10 days.

Please remember to update your employment information by using our online form.

Any periods of unemployment must also be reported within 10 days to your academic institution.

Failure to do this will result in a termination of your OPT and F-1 Status

You may do all of this this at myPassport

Washington State University