Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 students who have been enrolled full-time for one academic year and have maintained status are eligible to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
The complete OPT application packet is available on this site – please read the entire packet before completing the forms and submitting your application to OIP! Do contact OIP if you have any questions regarding the OPT application procedure.
OPT application summary:
- Read through the OPT packet and complete the forms.
- Obtain a letter from your advisor
- Submit forms and letter to OIP to review and issue your OPT I-20
- Put together the petition, make a copy for your records, and mail it off to USCIS
OPT Petition Checklist:
- Completed form I-765.
- $380 check or money order made payable to "Department of Homeland Security".
- Two identical standard “passport style” photos – additional information regarding the photos is available at http://travel.state.gov/passport/guide/guide_2081.html . Lightly print your name and A# (the 11-digit number from the current I-94) on the back of each photo. Put the photos in an envelope and attach it to the I-765.
- Photocopy of your current I-94 (front and back).
- Photocopy of the identity page of your passport. If your passport has been extended, include a copy of the page(s) which show the extension.
- If you have a previously-issued EAD card, a photocopy of that EAD card should be submitted as well.
- Photocopy of the new I-20 (pages 1 and 3) with the OPT recommendation.
- Photocopies of ALL your previous I-20s (please see OIP if you cannot locate your original previous I-20s). If you have other I-20s due to transfer from another school to Ithaca College, you need to send copies of those with the petition as well.
- Photocopy of your most recent visa.
OIP recommends that you make a copy of the petition before sending it. OIP also strongly urges you to make a copy of everything you send and leave it with us for your office file. Send the petition by certified mail with a return receipt. After the USCIS receives the petition, they will send you a receipt (Form I-797) which usually states that the EAD will be issued within 60 to 90 days from the date of receipt and includes the file number of your petition. Save that notice and let OIP have a copy, as you will need the file number if you decide to contact the DHS with questions regarding the status of your petition. You can check the status of your application (using the code from the receipt) online at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/index.jsp