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Apply for early OPT.

Attend an OPT webinar information session

Optional Practical Training (OPT), an employment benefit offered through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), enables international students with F-1 status to gain 12 months of off-campus work experience in their field of study. 

Graduating F-1 students eligible and interested in applying for Post-OPT work authorization are encouraged to apply early. The earliest the International Students and Scholars Center will accept applications is Sept. 2, 2023.

Application completion dates

To allow for both the ISSC and USCIS processing times, you may submit your OPT I-20 eForm request to ISSC up to 100 days prior to your program completion date. 

  • The program completion date for undergraduate students is in most cases the degree conferral date of the semester. The fall 2023 degree conferral date is Dec. 11, 2023.
  • The program completion date for graduate students depends on your final academic requirements. Completion includes dissertation approval after defense, receipt of comprehensive exam results or project defense. You may need to consult with your academic advisor to determine your program completion date. 

Note: You do not have to have a job in order to apply for OPT. 

Apply for Post-OPT 

Be advised USCIS processing times generally increase with applications submitted later in the semester. Is it not uncommon for applications to take an average of 90 days. Therefore, we recommend you apply early in the application season! 

USCIS can receive applications up to 90 days before your program end date, which means ISSC can produce OPT-recommended I-20s as early as Sept. 12, 2023. I-20s are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Please note: Students cannot receive an OPT authorization end date more than 12 months from the end of their 60-day grace period. This means for students that apply later, their OPT may be authorized for a period of less than 12 months. Applying early in the application window increases your chances of obtaining your authorization by your requested start date and receiving OPT for the entire 12-month period.  

Information webinars

We invite you to attend one of our upcoming OPT information webinars this fall to learn more about the application process.

Monday, Aug. 28, 4–4:30 p.m.

Post-OPT: Eligibility for off-campus work after graduation (In-person event — SSV Amphitheater)

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Thursday, Sept. 7, 4–4:30 p.m.

Post-OPT: Eligibility for off-campus work after graduation (Virtual)

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Monday, Sept. 11, 4–4:30 p.m.

Post-OPT Application Process (Virtual)

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Have questions? Contact the ISSC.


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Virtual drop-in immigration advising

Mondays 9–11 a.m.

Tuesdays 1–3 p.m.

Thursdays 9–11 a.m.

Fridays 1–3 p.m.

(Arizona time)

Image removed.

In-person drop-in immigration advising

Mondays 1–3 p.m.

Tuesdays 9–11 a.m.

Thursdays 1–3 p.m.

Fridays 9–11 a.m.

(Arizona time)