Are you graduating in Spring 2023? If so, now is the time to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), OPT is an employment benefit for students with F-1 status to gain practical experience in their major field of study.
To successfully apply for OPT, you must first obtain an OPT I-20 from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) before submitting your OPT application to USCIS. The OPT I-20 is a critical part of your application. Without it, your application will be denied.
Timeline to Apply for OPT
Apply early! USCIS can take more than three months to process your OPT application. You may apply for OPT with an OPT I-20 issued beginning Feb. 6 or 90 days before your graduation date.
When to Request Your OPT I-20
You can do this now through myIO! Once you receive your OPT I-20, you can submit your OPT application to USCIS.
When to Submit Your OPT Application to USCIS
For students graduating in Spring 2023, the earliest date that USCIS can accept your application is Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.
The latest you can apply is at the end of the 60-day grace period, which for May graduates is Wednesday, July 5, 2023. However, if you’re filing online, please be sure to file by Tuesday, July 4 to account for time zone differences. That is the latest date USCIS can receive your application and still approve it.
In addition to meeting the deadlines above, you must also ensure that USCIS receives your OPT application within 30 days of ISSS issuing your OPT I-20 (or 29 days if filing online). You can find this date under “Date Issued” on Page 1 of the I-20.
How to Apply for OPT:
- Fully review our OPT webpage.
- Request your OPT I-20. Log into myIO > F-1 Practical Training > OPT Request and do the following:
- Fully review the OPT modules.
- Charge and pay the OPT administrative fee.
- Complete and submit the OPT request in myIO.
- Allow 10 business days for ISSS to review your request and issue your OPT I-20.
- Obtain your OPT I-20 from ISSS.
- Submit your OPT application with the OPT I-20 to USCIS. ISSS recommends filing your application online.
No Appointment Needed!
You do not need an appointment with an international student advisor to apply for OPT. Simply follow the steps above. ISSS will provide you all the information you need at each stage of the process, up to and including how to submit your application to USCIS.
Questions? Attend Our “Ask an Advisor” OPT Q&A Session
If you have questions after reviewing the OPT modules in myIO, join one of our upcoming “Ask an Advisor” sessions. An international student advisor will answer your questions about OPT.
- Thursday, Feb. 9, 2:30-4:00 p.m. CST
- Tuesday, Feb. 21, 1:00-2:30 p.m. CST
- Friday, Feb. 24, 2:30-4:00 p.m. CST