Post-completion OPT allows F-1 students to obtain employment authorization and work off-campus in a job related to their field of study.
Immigration regulation makes post-completion Optional Practical Training available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled for one full academic year and who have applied for graduation in one of the associate degree programs at Pulaski Technical College.
The application for post-completion OPT can be filed as early as 90 days before graduation but has to be received by the adjudication Service Center no later than 60 days after graduation. It is recommended to file for OPT as early as possible.
Post-completion OPT allows for the student to work up to 12 months after graduation anywhere in the U.S. It must be completed within 14 months of graduation. If the student has completed previous full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT), this will count against the total OPT eligibility.
- The employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study.
- Student does not need to have a pending job offer letter to apply for pre-completion OPT
- The student must not begin work until receipt of the Employment Authorization Card (EAC) and the start date listed.
- If the student transfers to another college or university, the OPT is automatically terminated in SEVIS.
- The student becomes eligible for another 12 months of OPT if the student begins a new academic program at a college or university.
- If a student falls out-of-status, the OPT is automatically terminated.
Student requirements while on OPT
The Student on OPT is required to report to the Director of Admissions any change of name or address, change of employer name or address or any interruption of such employment within ten days. Fill out the Post-completion OPT Employment Information Form OPT Employment Information Form and email this to the Director of Admissions.
Post-Completion OPT Application Process
Step One: Determine eligibility and make an appointment to apply for OPT
- Meet with the International Academic Advisor to make sure you are eligible for graduation and to get the “Completion Verification Form” filled out.
- Submit graduation application online through your MyPTC portal.
- Make an appointment with the Director of Admissions by email.
Step Two: Gather required documents
Bring the following documents to the meeting with the Director of Admissions:
Step Three: OPT application meeting
At the meeting with the Director of Admissions, the following will be completed:
- Application and documents will be reviewed for accuracy, and any student questions will be answered. Copies of any documents that need to be made will be done at this time.
- The Director of Admissions will create a new SEVIS I-20 form which includes a recommendation for post-completion OPT.
- The student will be supplied with a cover letter, mailing envelope and the address to mail the completed application to USCIS.
Step Four: Mailing application and required documents
The student will mail the following items to the address provided by the Director of Admissions. It is strongly recommended this be sent using Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation or using certified or registered mail (this enables the student to confirm delivery through the United States Postal Service website.
- Printed Cover Letter (point to forms page, see text field above)
- I-765 Application with two photos stapled to the form.
- Check or Money Order for $380 payable to the US Department of Homeland Security.
- A copy of the new signed SEVIS I-20 Form including all three pages (the student will keep the original SEVIS I-20 form.
- Photocopy of passport photo page including expiration date.
- Photocopy of front and back of the I-94 card.
- Completed copy of G-1145 Form.
Step Five: Approval Process
- By submitting the G-1145 form, the student should receive a text message or email notification that the package arrived at the USCIS Lockbox facility.
- The student receives an official receipt (I-797C Notice of Action) in about two weeks. The receipt number (SRC# or EAC#) on the top corner of this form can be used to track the progress of your case from the USCIS website.
- Normal processing times are from 50 – 75 days. If the student has not received any adjudicating (decision-making) documentation from the Service Center in more than 90 days from the official receipt date, contact the Director of Admissions for assistance.
Step Six: After Receiving Your OPT approval
- The student will receive an Employment Authorization Card (EAC). A clear copy of this card needs to be emailed to the Director of Admissions upon receipt.
- F-1 international students who are granted an Employment Authorization Card (EAC) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to participate in Optional Practical Training are required to provide employment information within 90 days of the start date on the EAC.
- Once the student’s OPT ends, the student enters a 60-day grace period. The student has the following options to maintain a valid status:
- Request to transfer to another SEVP approved college or university,
- File for a change of status or,
- Depart the U.S.
The SEVIS I-20 Form automatically completes 60 days past OPT end date if not actions are taken; therefore the student’s F-1 status becomes completed if not action is taken to maintain/extend as outlined above