Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit available to those in F-1 student status. It is 12 months of work authorization granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to F-1 students for the purpose of gaining practical experience directly related to their program of study. The ISSI first recommends OPT and the student then applies to USCIS for work authorization. Pre-Completion OPT is an option for full-time F-1 students, while Post-Completion OPT takes place after a student’s program completion date (the end of the program of study, not necessarily the date of graduation).
Please choose one of the following for further information:
Information about Post-Completion OPT
What is post-completion Optional Practical Training?
Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit available to those in F-1 student status. It is 12 months of work authorization granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to F-1 students for the purpose of gaining practical experience directly related to their program of study. The ISSI first recommends OPT and the student then applies to USCIS for work authorization. Post-Completion OPT takes place after the program completion date (the end of the program of study, not necessarily the date of graduation).
When should a F-1 student apply for post-completion OPT?
Students can file for post-completion OPT work authorization no earlier than 90 days prior to their program completion date. For immigration purposes, program completion dates are typically the last day of class or exams; not the date of degree conferral. Students may also file their post-completion OPT applications no later than 60 days after the program completion date (i.e. During the 60 day grace period). In this case, it is highly recommended that students file paperwork with the ISSI no later than one (1) month before the end of their 60 day grace period.
*USCIS MUST receive your application for post-completion within 30 days of the post-completion OPT recommendation. If USCIS does not receive a student’s application within the 30 day timeframe, post OPT will be denied.
Who is eligible to apply for post-completion OPT?
A student may apply for post-completion OPT only if all of the following criteria have been met:
He/she has maintained valid F-1 student status
He/she has studied fulltime for at least 1 academic year
He/she has completed fewer than 365 days of fulltime curricular practical training
Note: Students can apply for 12 months of post-completion OPT upon completion of each higher degree level. Only one post-completion OPT application is allowed per academic degree level (ie. Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD)
If you are interested in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), please first review Information about Post-OPT (or refer to ISSI Form 202 for information on Post-OPT).
Important Update! The ISSI now accepts applications for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (Post-OPT) online via a paperless system called myISSI, which you can log into with your myNEU username and password. This system will enable you to submit all of your documents to the ISSI in a more effective manner.
In order to submit your documents to the ISSI to request an I-20 with Post-OPT Recommendation, please do the following:
-Complete and scan ISSI Form 133 (signed by you and your advisor)
-Pay $200 Post-Graduation Administrative Fee (click here for instructions) and make a screenshot of your receipt
-Scan copies of your passport, I-94 card, and any previous EAD cards (if applicable)
-Complete online Post-Completion OPT Application e-form that includes the following:
-Information about Post-OPT
-Brief quiz to ensure understanding of Post-OPT
-Prompt to request Post-OPT dates
-Prompt to upload ISSI Form 133, Post-Graduation Administrative Fee receipt, Passport, I-94, and any previous EAD cards
After submitting a completed e-form through myISSI, an ISSI Advisor will review your request within 10 business days. Assuming that your request is complete and you are eligible for Post-OPT, you will receive an email when your new I-20 with OPT recommendation is ready for pick-up or mailing. This email will also include instructions on how to submit your documents to USCIS.
For all OPT applications submitted to the ISSI, a post-graduation administrative fee of $200 will be required as part of the OPT application packet. Payment of this fee must be made through your myNEU account. Please refer to the instructions below on how to make your payment. Please be aware that this is separate from the filing fee that is submitted along with the I-765 Application Form to USCIS.
1. Log into your myNEU account, and select the NUPay link by clicking on the red wagon
2. Select the Make Payment link on the blue menu bar.
3. Select the ISSI OPT Fee link on the page to be able to add it to the NUPay Basket
4. You will next see a description of the ISSI OPT Fee. Click on Add to NUPay Basket to continue
5. You will then be taken to your online shopping cart. Press the Checkout button on the right and you will be prompted to enter information from a credit card, debit card or an electronic check. Once you have completed the transaction you will receive a confirmation of payment email in your NU email account. Please keep this email for your records.
Information about Pre-Completion OPT
If you are interested in pre-Completion OPT, then please reference the "Pre-Completion OPT" documents on the Forms section of our website.
Information on OPT-STEM Extension
On August 12, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia issued an opinion in the case Washington Alliance of Technology Workers vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, holding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to follow proper notice and comment procedures in issuing its 2008 rule which created a 17-month extension for Optional Practical Training (OPT) in certain STEM fields. This decision invalidates the current 17-month STEM OPT extension, but stays the ruling for 6 months (allowing the existing 17-month STEM OPT extension to remain in place until February 12, 2016) in order allow DHS time to submit the rule again with appropriate notice and comment. There is no immediate impact on STEM or “cap-gap”OPT extensions.
The judge’s decision jeopardizes the current STEM OPT program, but does not invalidate the employment authorization for current STEM extension holders, nor does it preclude an individual from applying for and being granted a STEM extension up until February 12, 2016. If DHS follows the Court’s direction, there should continue to be no impact on STEM or “cap-gap”OPT extensions.
The ISSI will continue accepting and processing requests for STEM Extensions until further notice. We will continue to monitor this important development and provide updates as new information becomes available.
If you are interested in information, and how to apply, for OPT-STEM Extension, then please reference the ISSI's STEM Extension Guide.