Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is an F-1 work authorization benefit for off-campus employment directly related to your field of study for up to 12 months, depending on your status, academic standing, and past OPT time.

International students must complete an OPT workshop before applying for OPT; however, any international F-1 student may attend to learn more in order to plan for their future.

What will be covered in the workshop?

  • OPT overview
  • Pre-Completion vs. Post-Completion OPT
  • How to file the OPT application
  • The regulations that apply to F-1 students on OPT
  • STEM OPT Extensions

To attend OPT Workshop please register:


For questions, please contact lenka.garimella@umsl.edu

What is the timeline/steps for OPT Application?

  • Attend an OPT workshop
  • Receive OPT Follow up email with detailed instructions
  • Prepare all required documents and submit in MyGlobal
  • Register your account with eShipGlobal.  Get detailed instructions on how to prepare and pay for shipping label.
  • Receive your updated I-20 with OPT endorsement on page 2 from UMSL Global
  • Compile your OPT Application Packet following set of detailed instructions
  • Mail your application to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • USCIS can take around 90 days to process your application. The entire process, including mailing time, takes up to  90  days .

It is important to apply early so you can receive your full work authorization time. Applications processed at the end of the semester will likely 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. It is to your advantage to apply early!

Earliest date to file OPT for Fall 2021 Graduates: September 17, 2021

Latest date to file OPT for Fall 2021 Graduates:  February 10, 2021