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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Overview


    Overview


    Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that allows students in F-1 status to gain practical experience and training in a field directly related to their major area of study before or after completion of the program.  Students are allowed a maximum of 12 months of OPT, which may be completed all at once, or in several different intervals. (e.g., three months each summer). 

    Employment authorization is given in the form of a small, plastic card called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  This card will show your photo, signature, and the terms in which employment is authorized. It will also specify the time period during which you are eligible for employment. You may not begin working on OPT until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and it is within the dates listed on your EAD.

    Who Can Apply

    • You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT.
    • You must have been a full-time student for at least one academic year in the US.
    • You must currently be in F-1 status.
    • You must be in good academic standing, maintaining a sufficient GPA and be making normal progress toward finishing your degree.
    • You must not have used more than 12 months of OPT in the past at your current degree level.
    • If you complete your academic program and travel internationally BEFORE applying for OPT, VIS is not able to provide you with an OPT recommended I-20 (a necessary part of your OPT application).
    • If you are finished with your academic program, you can still apply for OPT as long as the government receives your application within 60 days of the date you finished your studies at Stony Brook AND you have not left the US since completing your program.

    How Long Your OPT Lasts

    You are eligible for a maximum of 12 months of OPT for each degree level you complete. If you are studying within certain fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), you may be eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension, for a total of 36 months.

    Students on post-completion OPT must report your employment information within 90 days of your authorization OPT start date. If you don't report your employment or cannot find a job within that time, your OPT will automatically end.


    How Long Does It Take to Get Approved

    It takes around 4-6 months to get approved for OPT so it is important to plan ahead. Below is a breakdown of the timeline:

    1. Your academic department signs off on a request form (1-2 weeks).
    2. VIS prepares your new I-20 (5-7 business days).
    3. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates your application (4-6 months).

    How to Apply

    To use OPT before you finish your studies, review the Pre-Completion OPT information.

    To use OPT after you finish your studies, review the Post-Completion OPT information.

  • Post Completion OPT


    Post Completion OPT

    Post-completion OPT is Optional Practical Training used AFTER finishing your program of study. Remember, OPT is employment that is directly related to your major field of study and is only for students in F-1 status.

     

    When to Apply

    The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to your completion date. The latest you can apply is 4 weeks after you complete your degree requirements to allow for adequate processing time. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not accept applications received 60 days or more beyond the completion date.

    If you are a graduate student completing a thesis or dissertation, your completion date would be the date your academic advisor indicates you will finish all requirements for your program. This date doesn't have to match the end of semester date but in many cases it will. If you have any questions on your completion date, be sure to contact us.

     

    Reasons to File as Early as Possible

    The US government can take three to five months to process your OPT application. Check the US government processing times . [You must select "I-765" for form type. For Field Office or Service Center, most of our students' applications go to the Potomac Service Center.] It is best to plan ahead and apply as early as possible because USCIS only rarely expedites applications (see USCIS expedite criteria ). For December graduates, that means you should apply by mid September; for May graduates, by mid February. By applying early, you can avoid the risks that come from an OPT request being denied after the grace period has ended.

    Choosing Your Start & End Dates

    Post-completion OPT may start any time during the 60 day grace period after degree completion, and must end within 14 months of degree completion date. 

    You are eligible for one year of OPT available per academic level of study. If you've never used OPT at your current academic level, then you will most likely want to put an end date one year after your selected OPT start date. For example, if you are indicating a start date of May 25, 2018, your end date would then be May 24, 2019.

    USCIS processing typically takes about 3-6 months, so you should apply for OPT as early as possible to maximize the 12 months available.

    For more assistance,  click here  or contact your International Student & Scholar Advisor for assistance.

     

    How to Apply

    STEP 1: VIEW THE OPT WORKSHOP

    Attend a virtual  OPT Workshop to get tips on preparing a successful OPT application and reminders on what you need to do while you are on OPT to maintain your F-1 status.

    In lieu of attending an OPT Workshop, you can review the OPT Presentation or recorded webinar.


    STEP 2: A REQUEST TO VIS FOR AN I-20 RECOMMENDING YOU FOR OPT

    Submit a request in accessVIS for an I-20 Recommending OPT . In order to submit your request successfully, you will need to upload scanned copies of your:

    • Current Form I-94 (card both sides or electronic copy),
    • Passport (including identity pages and expiration date),
    • F-1 Visa stamp (if applicable).
    • Undergraduates Only: Major/Minor Review Form completed and signed by your major and minor advisors.
    • If applicable, upload a scanned copy of your official Letter of Offer from your employer.

    In order to receive your Form I-20 Reccomending OPT, you must complete the mandatory OPT Application Review tutorial. This electronic review can be found linked in the I-765 Tutorial e-form within the Post-Completion OPT Checklist in accessVIS. You must upload your program completion certificate to the I-765 Tutorial e-form to receive credit. 

    Students applying for Post Completion OPT will be assessed a $100 International Student Fee, payable through SOLAR. This is a SUNY approved fee effective since Fall 2012 that is assessed based on the issuance your I-20 recommending OPT regardless of whether you use the OPT authorization or not. Failure to submit timely payment of this fee could result in the Bursar reporting your information to a collection agency.

     

    STEP 3: REVIEW YOUR NEW I-20 & PREPARE YOUR OPT APPLICATION

    Upon submission of the Form I-765 Tutorial form in accessVIS AND receipt of your program completion certificate, VIS email you a link to download your Form I-20 recommending Post Completion OPT. Be sure print and sign this new "OPT I-20" in blue ink. If you notice any mistakes on your I-20 please contact your VIS Advisor immediately. 

    Completing Form I-765 is the next step. For assistance, visit the I-765 Explained page on our website. 

    Other documents must also be gathered and prepared for submission to USCIS, specifically:

    • Cover Letter:  Addressed to USCIS detailing all documents enclosed.
    • $410 Application Fee*: Fee payment in the form of a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions found at www.uscis.gov. If paying by check, it must have your name and address pre-printed in the top left corner and be made payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If your name and address printed, we recommend getting a money order instead.

    * Please note, the US government fee increase to $550 for any application received on or after October 2, 2020 has been temporarily halted by a court order, so the fee remains at $410 until further notice.

    • Passport-Style Photos: Two identical passport-style photographs, issued within the last 30 days, name and I-94 # gently written on back.   See Department of State’s guidelines
    • Form G-1145: Download from uscis.gov, include your full name, email address and telephone number.  This optional form tells USCIS that you’d like to be notified upon receipt of your application.
    • Form I-765: Download the most recent Form I-765 from uscis.gov (Fill-able PDF version recommended). Complete and sign by hand.
    • I-20 Recommending OPT: Provide a signed and dated copy.
    • All previously issued I-20s: Provide photocopies of all Form I-20s ever issued to you.
    • Passport: Provide photocopies of the identification pages in your  passport, including photo, passport # and expiration date.
    • F-1 Visa Stamp: In passport, except citizens of Canada and Bermuda.
    • Form I-94:Provide a copy of your most recent I-94, download your electronic I-94 from CBP's website.
    • Admission Stamp:Copy of your most recent admission stamp issued at the port of entry upon your latest arrival to the U.S. (in passport).
    • (If applicable) Previous EAD Card: If you were previously authorized to engage in OPT, provide a photocopy of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued to you.



    STEP 4: SEND YOUR OPT APPLICATION TO THE US GOVERNMENT

    The filing address depends on your reason for applying and the eligibility category you entered in Question 27 on the Form I-765. Please check the  filing locations for Form I-765  for a list of addresses. If you file at a Lockbox, read USCIS' filing tips .

    For Post Completion OPT, indicate (c)(3)(B) for Question 27 and mail your application to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox:

    U.S. Postal Service (USPS): FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
      USCIS
      PO Box 805373
      Chicago, IL 60680
      USCIS
      Attn: I-765 C03
      131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
      Chicago, IL 60603-5517

    eShipGlobal has created an option for students to schedule pick up directly on UEMS (from your residential address) for your OPT packages to be mailed to USCIS office, at no additional cost.

    Instructions for Students:

    1. Go to study.eshipglobal.com to log in or create a free account.
    2. Select "OPT Application" or "Send Documents to USCIS."
    3. Enter your mailing information and select the correct USCIS location.
    4. On the University Information, type SUNY at Stony Brook to avail an additional 10% discount over the already discounted price.
    5. Select the carrier you want to use, pay for shipping and print the label. Click on Schedule pick up and request for the carrier to pick up from your residence. eShipGlobal is offering pick up at no additional cost to help you during the pandemic situation. 


    *If you decide NOT to apply for or use your OPT, you must notify us.

     

    STEP 5: CONFIRM USCIS RECEIVED YOUR APPLICATION & TRACK THE STATUS

    You should receive an electronic receipt from USCIS within 2-3 weeks and a paper receipt within 3-5 weeks. Once you get your receipt notice, check your case status with your receipt number at www.uscis.gov/casestatus .

    Contact VIS  immediately  if you receive a  Request for Evidence (RFE)  from USCIS, as an updated Form I-20 may be necessary. 

    Traveling outside of the U.S. is not recommended while your Request for OPT is pending with USCIS.

     

    STEP 6: SET UP INFORMED DELIVERY WITH THE US POSTAL SERVICE

    Once USCIS sends you any information regarding your application, they will send official notification to you through the US postal service.

    Informed delivery allows you to digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon. Learn more about how to set up your informed delivery account .



    STEP 7: REPORT THE RECEIPT OF YOUR OPT APPLICATION BY USCIS

    Once your request for OPT has been received by USCIS and you have received your Receipt Notice, please log in to accessVIS and go to the Post Completion Status Update section to submit the  I-797 Receipt Notice form.

     

    STEP 8: REPORT THE APPROVAL OF YOUR OPT BY USCIS

    Once your request for OPT has been adjudicated by USCIS, AND you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), please log in to accessVIS and go to the Post Completion Status Update section and submit the  Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form.

    If you notice any mistakes on your EAD please contact your VIS Advisor immediately so we can assist you in getting the card corrected.

    REMEMBER: You may not begin working, volunteering or interning until you have received your EAD card, AND not until the start date printed on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  

     

    STEP 9: REPORT YOUR OPT EMPLOYER TO VIS AND THE US GOVERNMENT

    Students authorized for Post Completion OPT may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment. Once you have secured an employer, please log in to accessVIS and go to the Post Completion OPT Reporting section and submit the Add or Update OPT Employment form.   It is the student's responsibility to describe how the practical training opportunity (job) relates to his/her major area of study.  It is important to clarify the direct relationship of the position to the program of study.  DSOs may not be able to approve employer updates if adequate information is not provided. 

    Upon review of your request, you will receive email confirming your employment information has been reported in SEVIS.  If your employer changes during your OPT, simply resubmit the Add or Update OPT Employment form  with the updated information.

     

    Employment Requirements

    Students authorized for Post Completion OPT may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment. If you don't report your employment, or you exceed the 90 day unemployment period, Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may end your F-1 OPT and terminate your SEVIS record, thus requiring you to leave the US immediately.

    Work done under OPT must be directly related to your major area of study. Any employment that you engage in while authorized for OPT that is not directly related to your major could be considered a status violation.  As such SEVP recommends that you maintain evidence for each job documenting the position held, proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information for your supervisor or manager, and a description of the work. If it is not clear from the job description that the work is related to your degree, SEVP recommends that you obtain a signed letter from your hiring official, supervisor, or manager stating how the your degree is related to the work performed. 

    Once you have secured an employer, please log in to accessVIS and complete the Add or Update OPT Employment form

    Click here  to review your reporting requirements and responsibilities for maintaining your F-1 status while authorized for OPT.

  • Pre Completion OPT


    Pre Completion OPT


    Pre-completion OPT is Optional Practical Training used BEFORE finishing your program of study. Remember, OPT is employment that is directly related to your major field of study and is only for students in F-1 status.

    If you apply and are approved for Pre-Completion OPT, regardless of whether you actually find a job, the time will deduct from the total of 12 months of OPT you have at your current degree level. If you get approved for Pre-Completion OPT and don’t use it, it still deducts, so be prudent and intentional.

    Pre-Completion OPT that is 20 hours or less per week will be deducted at half the rate. For example, if you work four months for 20 hours or less per week for Pre-Completion OPT, you would have two months deducted from your 12 month total. Therefore, you would then have ten months of OPT to use before or after graduation.  



    How Many Hours Can You Work per Week?

    Fall or Spring Semester: You can get authorized for pre-completion OPT on a part-time basis only (20 hours or less per week) during the fall or spring semester while engaged in course work.

    Master's Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation: If you are working on a master's thesis/project or doctoral dissertation following completion of all coursework you can get authorization for either a part-time or full-time basis ( > 21 hours per week).

    Summer & Winter Break:  During holiday periods (such as the summer and winter breaks) you can be authorized for either a part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time basis ( > 21 hours per week).  



    When to Apply

    If you have been a full-time student for MORE than one academic year in the US and are currently in F-1 status, you may apply for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before you want your OPT to start. If you are in F-1 status and have been a full-time student for LESS than one academic year, you may apply for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before you will have completed one academic year. However, your OPT cannot begin until you have completed the full academic year.



    How to Apply

    STEP 1: ATTEND A  WORKSHOP

    Attend the  CPT & Pre-Completion OPT Workshop to get tips on preparing a successful Pre-Completion OPT application and reminders on what you need to do while you are on OPT to maintain your F-1 status. 

    In lieu of attending a workshop, click to review the CPT & Pre-Completion OPT Presentation  or recorded webinar .

    STEP 2: SUBMIT A REQUEST TO VIS FOR AN I-20 RECOMMENDING YOU FOR OPT

    Submit a request in accessVIS for an I-20 Recommending OPT . In order to submit your request successfully, you will need to upload scanned copies of your:

    • Current Form I-94 (card both sides or electronic copy), 
    • Passport(including identity pages and expiration date),
    • F-1 Visa stamp (if applicable).
    • Undergraduates Only: Major/Minor Review Form completed and signed by your major and minor advisors.
    • If applicable, upload a scanned copy of your official  Letter of Offer from your employer.

    Once you submit your request for an I-20 Recommending OPT, it takes 5-7 business days for VIS to process your request.

     

    STEP 3: REVIEW YOUR NEW I-20 & PREPARE YOUR OPT APPLICATION

    If your request for OPT is approved, you will be issued a new I-20 recommending OPT. VIS will email you a link and you must download, print and sign this new "OPT I-20". If you notice any mistakes on your  I-20  please contact your VIS Advisor immediately. 

    Completing Form I-765 is the next step. For assistance, visit the   I-765 Explained  page on our website. 

    Other documents must also be gathered and prepared for submission to USCIS, specifically:

      • $410 Application Fee*: Fee payment in the form of a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions found at  www.uscis.gov. If paying by check, it must have your name and address pre-printed in the top left corner and be made payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If your name and address printed, we recommend getting a money order instead.

      * Please note, the US government fee increase to $550 for any application received on or after October 2, 2020 has been temporarily halted by a court order, so the fee remains at $410 until further notice.

    • Passport-Style Photos: Two identical passport-style photographs, issued within the last 30 days, name and I-94 # gently written on back. See Department of State’s guidelines
    • Cover Letter: Addressed to USCIS detailing all documents enclosed.
    • Form G-1145: Download from uscis.gov, include your full name, email address and telephone number. This optional form tells USCIS that you’d like to be notified upon receipt of your application.
    • Form I-765: Download the most recent Form I-765 from  uscis.gov (Fill-able PDF version recommended). Complete and sign by hand.
    • I-20 Recommending OPT: Provide a signed and dated copy.
    • All previously issued I-20s: Provide photocopies of all Form I-20s ever issued to you.
    • Passport: Provide photocopies of the identification pages in your  passport, including photo, passport # and expiration date.
    • F-1 Visa Stamp:   In passport, except citizens of Canada and Bermuda.
    • Form I-94: Provide a copy of your most recent I-94, download your electronic I-94 from CBP's website.
    • Admission Stamp: Copy of your most recent admission stamp issued at the port of entry upon your latest arrival to the U.S. (in passport).
    • (If applicable) Previous EAD Card: If you were previously authorized to engage in OPT, provide a photocopy of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued to you.

     

    If you have questions or concerns regarding your OPT application, you can attend a virtual OPT Application Review Session hosted by an international student advisor.  This session is not mandatory.

    In lieu of attending an OPT Application Review Session, click below to review the OPT Application Review presentation or   recorded webinar 

    OPT Application Review

     

    STEP 4: SEND YOUR OPT APPLICATION TO THE US GOVERNMENT

    The filing address depends on your reason for applying and the eligibility category you entered in Question 27 on the Form I-765. Please check the  filing locations for Form I-765  for a list of addresses. If you file at a Lockbox, read  USCIS'   filing tips

    For Pre-Completion OPT, indicate (c)(3)(A) for Question 27 and mail your application to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox:

    U.S. Postal Service (USPS): FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
      USCIS
      PO Box 805373
      Chicago, IL 60680
      USCIS
      Attn: I-765 C03
      131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
      Chicago, IL 60603-5517

    eShipGlobal has created an option for students to schedule pick up directly on UEMS (from your residential address) for your OPT packages to be mailed to USCIS office, at no additional cost.

    Instructions for Students:

    1. Go to   study.eshipglobal.com  to log in or create a free account.
    2. Select "OPT Application" or "Send Documents to USCIS."
    3. Enter your mailing information and select the correct USCIS location.
    4. On the University Information, type SUNY at Stony Brook to avail an additional 10% discount over the already discounted price.
    5. Select the carrier you want to use, pay for shipping and print the label. Click on Schedule pick up and request for the carrier to pick up from your residence. eShipGlobal is offering pick up at no additional cost to help you during the pandemic situation. 


    *If you decide NOT to apply for or use your OPT, you must notify us.

     

    STEP 5: CONFIRM USCIS RECEIVED YOUR APPLICATION & TRACK THE STATUS

    You should receive an electronic receipt from USCIS within 2-3 weeks and a paper receipt within 3-5 weeks. Once you get your receipt notice, check your case status with your receipt number at www.uscis.gov/casestatus .

    Contact VIS  immediately  if you receive a  Request for Evidence (RFE)  from USCIS, as an updated Form I-20 may be necessary. 

    Traveling outside of the U.S. is not recommended while your Request for OPT is pending with USCIS.


    STEP 6: SET UP INFORMED DELIVERY WITH THE US POSTAL SERVICE

    Once USCIS sends you any information regarding your application, they will send official notification to you through the US postal service.

    Informed delivery allows you to digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon. Learn more about how to set up your informed delivery account .


    STEP 7: REPORT THE APPROVAL OF YOUR OPT BY USCIS

    Once your request of OPT has been adjudicated by USCIS, AND you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), please log in to accessVIS Pre/Post Completion OPT Reporting form and upload a copy of your EAD.

    If you notice any mistakes on your EAD please contact your VIS Advisor immediately so we can assist you in getting the card corrected.

    REMEMBER: You may not begin working, volunteering or interning until you have received your EAD card, AND not until the start date printed on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

     

    STEP 8: REPORT YOUR OPT EMPLOYER TO VIS AND THE US GOVERNMENT

    Once you have secured an employer, please log in to accessVIS and complete the   Pre/Post Completion OPT Reporting  form.  It is the student's responsibility to describe how the practical training opportunity (job) relates to his/her major area of study.  It is important to clarify the direct relationship of the position to the program of study.  DSOs may not be able to approve employer updates if adequate information is not provided. 

    Upon review of your request, you will receive email confirming your employment information has been reported in SEVIS.  If your employer changes during your OPT, simply resubmit the   Pre/Post Completion OPT Reporting  form with the updated information.

     

    Employment Requirements

    Work done under OPT must be directly related to your major area of study. Unlike curricular practical training (CPT), the work done for Pre-Completion OPT does not have to be an integral part of an established curriculum. Its optional nature allows it to be used for any employment that is directly related to your major/degree program. Any employment that you engage in while authorized for OPT that is not directly related to your major could be considered a status violation.

    SEVP recommends that you maintain evidence for each job documenting the position held, proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information for your supervisor or manager, and a description of the work. If it is not clear from the job description that the work is related to your degree, SEVP recommends that you obtain a signed letter from your hiring official, supervisor, or manager stating how the your degree is related to the work performed.

    Once you have secured an employer, please log in to accessVIS and complete the Pre/Post Completion OPT Reporting form.

  • I-765 Explained


    Form I-765 Explained


    F-1 students may filing the Form I-765 online, or by using the paper based application processing. The instructions linked below are provided as a service solely to the international students of Stony Brook University who are applying for Optional Practical Training. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information. Due to frequent government updates, VIS may make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on this page at any time without prior notice.

    Filing the Form I-765 Online

    Filing the Paper Based Form I-765

     



  • Cap Gap Extension


    Cap Gap Extension


    The Cap Gap is the period after F-1 students’ Optional Practical Training has expired, but before their H-1B work authorization begins on October 1. The OPT Cap Gap Extension automatically extends F-1 students’ immigration status and work authorization in order to bridge the gap between the end of their F-1 status and the start of their H-1B status ensuring the students’ employment and stay in the U.S. are not interrupted.

     

    Who is eligible for the Cap Gap Extension?

    You are eligible for the Cap Gap Extension if your OPT will end before the start of your H-1B, you have maintained F-1 status and you are the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that:

    • has been properly and timely filed  AND
    • requests an employment start date of October 1  AND
    • requests a change of status to H-1B

    Note:   If your H-1B petition requests consular processing rather than a change of status, you are not eligible for the Cap Gap Extension.

     

    When should I apply?

    You should apply for a Cap Gap Extension as soon as you have proof that your H1-B petition is pending or was approved.  In order to continue working on OPT, your H-1B petition must be filed before your Post-Completion OPT ends. Please keep in mind that we cannot extend your I-20 for the cap gap period unless we have proof that your H-1B petition was properly filed, is pending, waitlisted or has been approved.

    If you do not have an I-797 receipt notice and your OPT will expire before June 1 , we can extend your I-20 based on proof that your H-1B petition was timely filed.  Such proof should include:

    1. A statement from your employer indicating that you are the beneficiary listed on a properly filed H-1B petition, AND
    2. Proof of delivery of your H-1B petition to a USCIS Service Center (e.g. Express Courier Delivery Receipt)

     

    How do I apply for a Cap Gap I-20 from VIS?

    F-1 Students wishing to request an H-1B Cap Gap Extension should submit the H-1B: Cap Gap Extension Request in accessVIS .  You must upload a copy of your H-1B receipt or approval notice and a copy of your valid EAD card before you can submit your application.  Only documents saved as a PDF or JPEG are acceptable.

    1. To login to accessVIS click here  (https://vis.stonybrook.edu):
    2. Click the "Limited Services" link on the accessVIS homepage.
    3. Enter your Stony Brook ID#, date of birth and Limited Services PIN.
    4. Click on F-1 Student Services (located on the left sidebar toward the bottom of the webpage)
    5. Complete and submit H-1B: Cap Gap Extension Request .

    NOTE: If any of your employment details have changed since you last reported to VIS, you must update them again by submitting the respecting Post/STEM Reporting eform.

    If your petition for H-1B was timely filed (before the expiration of your Post-Completion OPT), a new I-20 indicating your Cap Gap Extension will be issued, and your work authorization will be extended through until 9/30.

    If your petition for H-1B was filed during your 60 day grace period (after the expiration of your Post-Completion OPT), a new I-20 indicating your Cap Gap Extension will be issued, but only your ability to remain in the U.S. will be extended through until 9/30, you cannot work until your H-1B is valid on 10/1.

    How long is the Cap Gap Extension application process?

    In most cases, your new I-20 will be issued within 5-7 business days upon receipt of proper documentation.  Occasionally, it is necessary for us to make a request to SEVIS for your “cap gap” information to be manually added to your SEVIS record.  If this is necessary, your I-20 may take a few 3-4 weeks.

    You will be notified via e-mail when your new I-20 is ready.  It can be mailed to you at your expense or you can pick it up from VIS in person.

    Can I work while my Cap Gap Extension is in process?

    If your petition for H-1B was timely filed (before the expiration of your Post-Completion OPT or 24-month STEM Extension), your work authorization will be extended through until 9/30.

    If your petition for H-1B was filed during your 60 day grace period following the expiration of your OPT (Post-Completion OPT or 24-month STEM Extension), only your ability to remain in the U.S. will be extended through until 9/30, but you cannot work until your H-1B becomes valid on 10/1.

    Note:   Your work authorization automatically ends if the USCIS rejects, denies or revokes your H1B petition.

     

    How long will my OPT be extended?

    The length of your Cap Gap Extension is determined by the status of your H-1B petition and the expiration date of your EAD card.

    If Your H-1B Petition is Approved – As long as your OPT was valid when the H1-B petition was filed (ie. received by USCIS), your OPT work authorization and F-1 status will both be extended until September 30.

    If Your H-1B Petition is Pending – As long as your OPT was valid when the H1-B petition was filed (ie. received by USCIS) and you have an H-1B Receipt Notice, your OPT work authorization will automatically be extended until September 30.

    If Your H-1B Petition was Filed, But Not Receipted – As long as your OPT was valid when the H1-B petition was filed (ie. received by USCIS), your OPT work authorization can be extended until June 1 and your F-1 status until August 1.  If this is your situation, submit proof to VIS that your application was delivered to the USCIS.

    If Your H-1B Petition is Waitlisted – As long as your OPT was valid when the H1-B petition was filed (ie. received by USCIS), your OPT work authorization will automatically be extended until July 28.

    What happens if my H-1B petition is withdrawn, denied or rejected?

    If your H-1B petition is withdrawn, denied or rejected, your OPT work authorization will end 10 days after the notification date and you will have a 60-day grace period from that date to depart the U.S. Note:   If the H-1B was denied due to discovery of an immigration status violation or revoked because of fraud or misrepresentation, there is no grace period.

     

    Can I travel outside the U.S. during the Cap Gap Extension?

    If your EAD card is still valid, you may travel outside and re-enter the U.S.  However, please consult with your immigration attorney regarding any travel plans while your H-1B petition is pending and after it has been approved.

  • OPT Workshops


    Post Completion OPT Virtual Workshop Schedule

    This workshop provides tips on preparing a successful OPT application and reminders on how to maintain your F-1 status while authorized for OPT.  Attendance and/or review of the OPT Workshop is recommended for any F-1 student who wishes to obtain work authorization to engage in Post-Completion Optional Practical Training.

    Thursday, September 16th 12:00 PM EST RSVP here
    Friday,  October 22nd 11:00 AM EST RSVP here
    Tuesday, December 7th 2:00 PM EST RSVP here


    View our most recent Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshop:

    Post-Completion OPT Application Review Session

    Completion of the OPT Application Review session is required for students submitting the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to USCIS. During this session, an international advisor will discuss the required materials for the I-765, as well as your obligations for maintaining your status while on OPT. This session is available in the I-765 Tutorial e-form within the Post-Completion OPT Checklist. To receive your Form I-20 recommending Post Completion OPT, you must review the Opt Application Review session in it's entirety, and upload your program completion certificate in the e-form. 

     

    What's the difference between CPT and OPT?  

    CPT vs. OPT

  • SEVP Portal


    SEVP Portal


    As of March 23, 2018, the US government created an online portal for students on Post-Completion OPT to report the following personal and employer information directly to SEVP.  

    • Add or edit your phone number.
    • Add or edit your mailing and physical address.
    • Add or edit your employer's information.

    The use of this portal is optional and does not impact your employment authorization. At this time VIS encourages you to submit any updates directly to us in accessVIS. Once you submit your information to VIS, we will update your SEVIS record, and thus the US government on your changes.

    If you choose to use the government's SEVP Portal and have any issues using it, including if you get locked out of it, if you forget or need to reset your password, or if you never received the email providing you with instructions with how to create and log into the portal, please contact your International Student Advisor for assistance.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who may report employment through the SEVP Portal? All F-1 students who are on an approved period of OPT or STEM OPT may set up an account to report their information. Even if you have already reported your employment to VIS using the respective OPT/STEM Reporting form, you will receive the email about the SEVP Portal.

    Which email will SEVP use to communicate with me? SEVP will use the personal non-Stony Brook email address you most recently reported in accessVIS. This is the email address that we have listed for you in SEVIS and will be the only email that they will communicate with.

    Can I still report my employment in accessVIS?  Yes, we advise students report using the Pre & Post OPT Reporting  form or the STEM OPT Reporting form depending on their authorization. 

    What if I report my employment through the SEVP Portal but SEVP does not have a record of it? This should not be the case. However, VIS recommends that you take a screenshot of your employment reporting when you submit it and save this in your records.

    I am on STEM OPT, should I still use the SEVP Portal? Those on STEM OPT may edit employer information or delete an employer if they have never worked for that company. All 6 month reporting, as well as submission of the 12 month evaluation, 24 month evaluation, end of employment evaluation, and a new employer I-983 (if you change employers) must continue to be done through accessVIS by submitting the STEM OPT Reporting   form.

    What if I have trouble accessing the SEVP Portal or have questions once I login? Portal users can now reset their own accounts if they have been locked out of their account. A “Password Reset” option is available on the SEVP Portal log in page. Additionally,  SEVP has a website with step-by-step videos and instructions . This is a pilot program of the SEVP Portal and SEVP appreciates your feedback. To provide feedback on your experience with the portal and to suggest improvements, email SEVP@ice.dhs.gov . To help SEVP route your feedback to the right team quickly, please put the following in the subject line of your email: “SEVP Portal Feedback” and the name of your school. We encourage you to be candid in your evaluation, highlighting what you liked and what you didn't like.

  • FAQ


    Frequently Asked Questions

    The purpose of this page is to provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding Post Completion OPT. Should you have further questions, feel free to contact your International Student Advisor directly. 

    General OPT Questions
    Your OPT Application
    Filing the Form I-765 Online
    While Your OPT Application is Pending
    International Travel & OPT
    Working on OPT
    OPT Reporting Requirements
    Options After OPT

     
    For COVID-19 related OPT questions, visit our Student FAQ's During COVID-19 page.