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Pre-OPT is a work benefit opportunity to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used before the completion of a degree program.
F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program. Those 12 months can be used while earning your degree (Pre-OPT), after earning your degree (Post-OPT), or a combination of both (Pre- and Post-OPT).
Maintenance of F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year in a degree program.
Students must be registered at ASU for the semester during which they wish to pursue Pre-OPT.
Employment must be directly related to your field of study.
It is not necessary to have a job when you apply for Pre-OPT as USCIS does not require proof of employment when you apply for Pre-OPT
Any approved Pre-OPT will be deducted from your available 12 months of OPT time: accrued at half the rate when used during the semester, in full when used during the summer break when requested at full time.
Example: Four months of approved part-time Pre-OPT subtracts 2 months of available OPT while 2 months of approved full-time Pre-OPT subtracts 2 months of available OPT.
Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester (part-time) and up to 40 hours per week during summer break (full-time).
Graduate students who have completed all course requirements (including all required thesis or dissertation hours), but will be in a continuous registration course until their defense date, may apply for Pre-OPT and will be authorized to work up to 40 hours per week.
A separate application and fee must be submitted for each semester.
You are not authorized to work or volunteer until the start date printed on your EAD card, and you have received the card in the mail.
Unemployment time is not a factor during Pre-OPT. However, reporting employment is required.
If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT.
To allow for the 10-day ISSC processing time and the 90-day USCIS processing time, ASU ISSC recommends applying for Pre-OPT at least 100 days prior to the date you wish your employment authorization to begin. This will maximize your opportunity to receive your EAD card on time.
Pre-OPT recommended I-20s will be issued no more than 90 days prior to the recommended Pre-OPT start date.
We recommend that you attend an OPT Information Session prior to beginning the application process.
Submit your application materials to the ISSC through the Pre-OPT I-20 Request eForm no more than 100 days prior to your employment start date. ISSC will release your I-20 on or after the 90th day prior to your employment start date.
Please have the following materials ready prior to submitting the e-Form:
Please allow the ISSC approximately 10 days to process your Pre-OPT request.
The ISSC cannot process your Pre-OPT request until AFTER your academic advisor has approved the eForm. Any delay in your academic advisor’s approval is NOT part of the ISSC’s 10-day processing time; please plan ahead.
You must review the information within your I-20 for accuracy, then sign and date in blue ink.
After receiving your Pre-OPT I-20, mailing instructions, and checklist from the ISSC, mail your document to USCIS within 30 days of the date the ISSC signed your I-20. Applications received after the 30-day signature limit will be denied by USCIS.
You must file the following documents with your application:
Carefully follow all mailing instructions provided to you when submitting your application materials to USCIS, and keep copies of all completed applications for your personal records. If you have a job offer letter from a company, you may include it with your application, but it is NOT required (add the letter at the end of your packet for USCIS).
If for any reason you receive a Rejection, Denial, or a Request for Evidence (RFE) Notice from USCIS, or if you receive your application materials back from the postal/shipping service, DO NOT resend the materials. Please contact ASU’s ISSC IMMEDIATELY for a new or updated I-20 for the resubmission of your application.