F-1 students are allowed to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for up to a year after program completion in their field of study as long as they meet the following requirements:
- Have been enrolled for at least one academic year on a full-time basis
- Review the Optional Practical Training Guide
- Complete and return the Academic Program Verification Form
- Read, sign, and date the OPT Statement of Understanding
Students may apply for OPT up to 90 days before their program end date. It is encouraged that students apply as soon as this date occurs so that there is not a delay in receiving your EAD card to begin employment after graduation.
The Optional Practical Training (OPT) Guide Packet contains all UAMS-related forms and a fact sheet that can be used to compile your packet.
Process for submitting an OPT Application
– Obtain your advisor’s signature on the Academic Program Verification Form
– Complete the Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization online through the USCIS portal at https://myaccount.uscis.gov/. You will need to use one of the following codes when filling out the form:
- (c) (3) (A) – Pre-completion OPT (rarely used)
- (c) (3) (B) – Post-completion OPT
– Choose an OPT start date (send to your PDSO)
– Obtain 2 (2×2) passport-size photos in color
– Make a copy of your passport, I-94 card and travel history (make sure the documents are legible)
– Read, sign, and date the UAMS OPT Statement of Understanding
Send all items in Part One to your DSO for review and approval. Once approved, your DSO will contact you to schedule an appointment to submit your OPT Application Packet.
***Your OPT approval I-20 will be created and emailed to you after all required documents in Part One (above) have been reviewed and approved.***
Apply for OPT Online
Before meeting with your DSO, please complete the following:
- Create an account at https://myaccount.uscis.gov/ to be able to log-in and complete the I-765 form online.
- Upload all required documents into the I-765 application (this is not required, but recommended)
You will pay the $410 application fee online using a credit card or bank account right before you submit your application as part of the process. You will receive a confirmation email from USCIS after submission.
Please contact your DSO when you receive an update from USCIS on the status of your OPT application. When your OPT application is approved and you receive your EAD card, you will have 90-days to obtain employment. Remember to complete this form when you obtain employment: OPT Employment Information. You will also need to email a copy of your employment offer letter or an employment verification form confirming the employment start date.
Contact your DSO if you have any questions:
Charlotte Gass, M.A.
International Student Advisor, DSO