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Int'l - Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is "OPT?"
OPT is Optional Practical training it is a temporary work authorization for F-1 visa students, granted by the United States government, designed to give students an opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study during school or after graduation.

What kind of job can I get?
The jobs you apply for must be closely related to your major/field of study and appropriate to your level of education. The job can be anywhere in the United States.

Who is eligible?
Students who have been in the United States and in F-1 visa status for at least one academic year, and are currently in status as a full-time student, or are in their last quarter of degree completion.

Who is not eligible?

• Students who entered on an F-1 visa, but did not follow such regulations as completing a full course load each quarter, or keeping their documents valid.
• Students who have worked illegally in the United States.
• Students who have already completed their degree cannot apply as the application must be received before your completion date (i.e. the last day of your last quarter).

When can I do practical training?
Most students choose to do twelve months of full-time (40 hours/week) training after they complete their degree.

When should I apply?
As early as 90 days before the completion of all degree requirements.

When can I start working?
You can request a particular day to start and end your training when you apply. The start date you request can be, at the earliest, the day after you complete all degree requirements, and at the latest, 60 days after. You cannot start working before you receive your EAD, or before the start date on the EAD.

Where do I get my application?
You will need to go to the US CIS website and download the I-765 form.  Follow the instructions on the Website.  You will also need to bring that form with you to the Office of International Students & Scholars prior to mailing to verify that all of the information is correct.

Where should I send my application?
You cannot apply directly for this benefit. You need to apply through the International Student Center (ISC) at Lindenwood University. To apply, you will need to make an appointment at the ISC and bring in all of your documents. We will take care of the necessary paperwork and make sure your application is complete before we mail it in.

How will I know if my application has been approved?
Via the ISC, you will receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card in the mail with your photo and the dates during which you are authorized to do training.

How long does it take?
You will receive a receipt called the "Notice of Action" 3-6 weeks after sending your application. A few weeks or months after your receipt is sent, your EAD card will be mailed directly to the ISC. Normally the EAD is sent out within 60-90 days of receipt of your application. Check with the ISC for an estimate for current processing times.

How can I get more information about practical training?
Call the International Student Center at (636) 949-4982 if you have any questions about practical training. If you would like assistance with resume writing, interview skills, or other job search strategies, please contact the Dana Wehrli dwherli@lindenwood.edu or 636-949-4806 at or Brandi Goforth bgoforth@lindenwood.edu 636-949-4307 in the Career Development Center.

Can I travel while my OPT is pending?
OPT & travel can be tricky and complicated.  Please read these guidelines prior to planning your travel.

For more information about OPT click here




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