F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
This type of optional practical training (OPT) is by far the most popular, and is available for a total of at least 12 months (or more) per degree level. Moving into a higher degree level resets the 12-month period. OPT can be used during breaks in study or after completion of your final degree requirement. OPT requires that you pursue employment in your area of study, but does not require a specific employment opportunity at the time of application. However, a period of 90 days or more of unemployment, in total, during post-completion OPT will result in loss of status unless in a 17-month science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) extension (see below). Including the 17-month STEM extension, students may be unemployed for a total of 120 days. Any student on post-completion OPT must report changes in residential address and employment to the CIP within ten days of any change. Changes should be e-mailed to international [at] humboldt [dot] edu.
To apply for OPT you must first obtain Form I-20 from the Center for International Programs (CIP) documenting eligibility for OPT and subsequently submit an application for employment authorization to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You may not begin working on OPT until you receive the employment authorization card (EAD) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Applications for post-completion OPT may be filed within 90 days of the completion of study or during the grace period. NOTE: If you have not completed all course work for your degree and are unsure that you will complete your degree on time, you should not apply for post-completion OPT until you are sure or have completed your degree. Students may request for OPT to begin any date from one day after the date of completion of study to 60 days after the date of completion of study. Applications for OPT can take three months or more for the USCIS to approve so it is very important to plan accordingly. Students may not begin working on OPT until they are in possession of a valid OPT employment authorization card (EAD) issued by the USCIS.
Optional Practical Training Instructions
For instructions on how to apply for OPT and further information about rules and regulations please review the OPT Application Packet.
- Any change in residential address and e-mail address
- Any change in employer
- Any change in employer address
- Any interruption in employment
In addition to the above reporting requirements:
Students in the 17-month STEM extension must report the following at the time of extension and every six months thereafter to the CIP at international [at] humboldt [dot] edu:
- Current residential address and e-mail address
- Current employer (or report an interruption in employment)
- Current employer address
A loss of F-1 status will result from:
- Failure to provide the CIP with information about a change in address or employment within ten days of any change
- Failure to report address and employment information to the CIP at the beginning of any STEM extension and every six months thereafter
- Unemployment for a total of 90 days during the initial OPT period
- Unemployment for a total of 120 days during the initial OPT period and any STEM extension