Optional Practical Training

If you are an F-1 student near the end of your degree program, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is an F-1 work authorization for off-campus employment for up to 12 months, depending on your status, academic standing, and past OPT time.

OPT Information Form

Come to an information session to learn more about this opportunity and get your questions answered!

Register by selecting a session below. For questions, please contact Rebecca Kehe.

Session Date Session Details
Monday, Feb. 08, 2016

2:00-3:30 pm
SSB 331

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016

12:00-1:00 pm
SSB 331

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

11:00 am-12:00 pm
SSB 331

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

12:00-1:00 pm

 Should I attend?

What will I learn?

What is the timeline?

After ISS processes your OPT application, you will send your application to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS can take up to 90 days to process your application. The entire process, including mailing time, takes approximately 3.5 months total.

It is important to apply early so you can receive your full work authorization time. Applications processed at the end of the semester will not receive a full 12 months of OPT. Apply early to avoid delays, especially if you have developing job offers.

You can choose the day your OPT will begin. Therefore, you can actually choose a start date that is more than three months in the future. In other words, there is no disadvantage to applying early!

Earliest date to file OPT for Spring 2016 Graduates: February 14, 2016

Latest date to file OPT for Spring 2016 Graduates: July 13, 2016*

*If you file on this date, you risk losing days of work authorization or may miss the deadline to apply for OPT. USCIS must receive your OPT application within 60 days of your program end date. 

How can I apply for pre-completion OPT?

If you are interested in applying for pre-completion OPT (OPT during your academic program), please contact the ISS front desk at 314-516-5229 to schedule an appointment with an advisor. Consider the 90-day processing time as you decide when to file your application. You will not be able to start working until you have received your Employment Authorization Document (then you can begin on the start date printed on the document).

Where can I find more information about OPT?

Please see the OPT information pages on our website or contact us in MSC 261, iss@umsl.edu, or 314-516-5229.