Upon completion of a degree program a student may be recommended for OPT for the remainder of time for which the student is eligible. This will be for a period of 12 months provided the student has not engaged in OPT during his/her course of study. To be eligible for OPT students must have maintained lawful F-1 status and must have been enrolled full-time the last two semesters. The application process involves two steps, the first to be completed by the office of International Student Services (ISS) and the second by USCIS. BOTH MUST BE COMPLETED ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING DEADLINES:
OPT must be requested prior to the completion of all course requirements for the degree or prior to the completion of the course of study. A student must complete all practical training within a 14-month period following the completion of study. A student must be in their last semester of course work before he/she can apply for OPT.
Can a student continue to work while in the transfer process?
A student may continue in OPT while in the transfer process, but must terminate employment upon registration at the transfer-in school. On-campus employment during a transfer, however, may only be pursued at the school that has control over the student's record, meaning the transfer out school prior to the release date and the transfer in school after the release date.
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Bring these letters send to ISS for verification. Also bring the items listed below:
A completed USCIS Form I-765
. Note: Item #16 will be “(C)(3)(i).” Please use address of ISS office.
Two photos, (see the instructions
). If pictures do not conform exactly to these requirements, USCIS will reject your application and return it. Cut down to 1 ½ x 1 ½ “ and write your name and I-94 in pencil on the back.
To see a complete description of the process visit the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Form I-94 card.
All current and previously issued Form I-20 ID (Student) Copies; a new SEVIS I-20 will be issued and mailed with the application.
Fee of $340.00 (personal check is best; no cash or money orders); write your I-94 number at the top of the check. Make check payable to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
The International Student Advisor will review your materials and copy all material to be sent to USCIS. You will be asked to return to collect your immigration documents and your application. You will be in charge of mailing your application in a traceable manner (such as certified mail with a return receipt verifying delivery), to:
For US Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
PO BOX 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Express Mail and Courier deliveries:
1820 E Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
This process will take approximately 90 days but could take as long as 180 days.
NOTE: Upon receipt of your I-797 application, the USCIS Office will send you a Notice of Action, Form I-797 acknowledging receipt of your documents. This form has a receipt number. DO NOT THROW THIS FORM AWAY. This form is your proof that you have applied for OPT and the receipt number is necessary if you need to track your documents in the event you do not receive notification from USCIS within the specified period of time.
When employment is authorized, USCIS will issue and mail you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You must use the ISS address.
YOU CANNOT BEGIN EMPLOYMENT UNTIL YOU OBTAIN THIS EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENT
For important USCIS information on re-entry after traveling outside of U.S. for less than 5 months, click here.
If you have any questions contact:
International Student Services
Location and Office Hours