Common Questions

OPT FAQ

 

  • What kind of visa will I be on while I am doing my practical training?

Students remain on their F-1 Visa while they are doing their Optional Practical Training. There is no such thing as a “practical training Visa” or “OPT Visa.”

 

  • Do I need to have a job offer before applying for practical training?

No. Many students apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training before they have actually received a job offer. However, it is important to start looking for work opportunities as early as possible since it usually takes longer to find a position than students expect.

 

  • Can I divide up my practical training to do part now, and part later?

Some students want to do part-time Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (Pre-OPT) for a few quarters while they are still taking classes full-time, then use the remainder of their training full-time after they graduate (Post-OPT). Others use full-time practical training to work for three months during their summer vacation. Dividing up practical training in this way is allowed, to a maximum of 12 months full-time, however, each period of training requires a separate application along with the $410 fee (subject to change by USCIS). You cannot divide your time for Post-Completion.

 

  • Even though I’ve completed my degree, I would like to continue to take a few classes while I am on Post-Completion Practical Training. Is that allowed?

Maybe. You may be able to take courses that are incidental, non-matriculating classes on a part-time basis. Please check with the ISC before you make any decisions on study during your Post-Completion Practical Training period.

 

  • I recently received my EAD card, but I would like to cancel it and save my practical training for later. Is this possible?

No. Once the EAD card has been issued, there is no way to cancel it.

 

  • When must I leave the United States after completing my practical training?

You have 60 days after the end date on your EAD card to leave the country, start a new academic program, or remain in the U.S. with a pending change of status. You cannot work during the 60 day grace period. You are free to travel within the United States, but you should not expect to be able to return to the U.S. with your EAD card and I-20, if you leave the country during these two months.

 

  • I applied for a year of practical training, but I never ended up working. Am I eligible to apply again?

Probably not. There is a 90-day rule that states you must report an activity (paid or unpaid) within the first 90 days of your start date for your practical training. If you do not report an activity, SEVIS will automatically complete your record. If you do find work during your OPT, you will be eligible to apply for another 12 months of work authorization only if you change your degree level, i.e. Bachelor to Master’s or Master’s to Doctorate.

 

  • Is there a deadline for the application?

If you are applying for Post-Completion, the application must be received by the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox before or within the 60 days after your I-20 end date.


  • What is this I hear about the 90-day cancellation?

You may have heard that your OPT is only valid for 90 days. There is a 90-day rule that states you must find an activity within the first 90 days of your approved start date. If you fail to report your employment before the 90 days, SEVIS will automatically terminate your record. The employment activity must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be directly related to your major and appropriate for your degree level
  2. Be a minimum of 20 hours per week
  3. You must report the activity to the ISC so an advisor can update your SEVIS record

 

  • Can I have multiple jobs under OPT?

Yes! When you apply for OPT you do not need to have a job, so that information can always be added in later. Please remember that current regulations require that you report any activity that you are engaged in (paid or unpaid) during your period of OPT. This includes any time you change jobs, or if you quit or are fired. Failure to report this could jeopardize any period of OPT in the future. It is possible to report more than one activity in SEVIS at a given time.

 

  • Do I have to report to Seattle University during my OPT?

Yes, please email your ISC advisor or isc@seattleu.edu! You are still under F-1 student status, and your I-20 and SEVIS record will still be through Seattle University. Therefore, it is important you update the ISC regularly during your OPT. This includes any changes:

    • Explain how employment is related to your course of study:
    • Employer Name: 
    • Job Title: 
    • Number of hours per week:
    • Start Date: 
    • End Date (if known):
    • Employer Physical Address: 
    • Supervisor Last Name:
    • Supervisor First Name: 
    • Supervisor Telephone Number OR Email Address: 
    • Current U.S. Physical Address:

 

  • What if I want to stay in the United States and work after my year of practical training?

As of April 8, 2008 certain majors may extend their OPT. Currently, it only applies to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees. If you have found an employer who will sponsor you for an H-1B Visa, it is also possible that you may continue working the year you submit your application. If your H-1B is filed during the grace period following OPT, you may remain in the US until the decision of your application. If your H-1B is pending while on OPT, you may continue working up until the H-1B start on October 1st or until you receive notice of the H-1B denial.