Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Types of Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 non-immigrant student status that permits up to 12 months of off-campus employment, typically after graduation, for the purpose of gaining independent practical experience that is related to your major field of study.  Types of OPT:  

1. Post-Completion OPT provides for up to one year of practical training authorization after completion of studies.  Most Albion students choose to apply for post-completion OPT in their graduating semester.  pdf Click here for CIE's OPT Request Form, Instructions, and Information Sheet

2. 24 Month STEM OPT Extension allows students who have received a degree and OPT related to specific STEM degrees to apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension after completion of post-completion OPT.  pdfClick here for CIE's STEM_OPT_Guide and pdfhere for CIE's STEM-OPT Request Form.

3. Pre-completion OPT is available on a part-time basis while a student is working on their degree.  Pre-completion OPT allows work during school sessions (20 hours per week or less) or on a full-time basis during school breaks (over 20 hours per week). Part-time OPT will be deducted from the 12 months of available OPT at one-half the full-time rate.  Important Note:  CPT is often a better option for international students than pre-completion OPT.

Reporting Requirements while on OPT 

Upon being approved for OPT, students will receive an email from DHS that includes information about the SEVIS PortalStudents should set up their SEVIS portal, and update employment, address, and name information regularly.  In addition, students can submit information to CIE here: 

Students on OPT whose employment information is not complete, or reflects more than 90 days of unemployment, will have their SEVIS record automatically terminated. 

All F-1 Students on OPT – Within 10 days of the start of your period of OPT work authorization and within 10 days of any subsequent change, you are required to report the following:  Employment Status, current U.S. address, change of your official name, start or end of employment, change of your employer’s address, change of your employer’s name.

All Students with an OPT STEM Extension – You are required to report all the above, plus the following:  employment status, 6 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed, employment status, 12 months after your extension start date, even if your information has not changed.

Updates to the following information will result in CIE issuing an updated I-20:  Change of your official name, start or end of employment, change of your employer’s address, change of your employer’s name.

Information for Fall 2020 Albion Graduates:

Students can apply up to 90 days before and up to 60 days after program completion.  USCIS adjudicates the OPT application, and the process takes several months-  apply early, and no later than the completion date of the final semester.  In addition, the Form I-765 must be received by USCIS no later than 30 days after CIE submits your OPT recommendation to SEVIS. 

    Earliest date to request OPT I-20 from CIE September 4, 2020
  USCIS must receive application on or before January 30, 2021
  Earliest date to request as "start date" December 2, 2020
  Latest date to request as "start date" January 30, 2021