Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training is for students who have not yet met the requirements to complete their degree, but would like authorization to work in their field of study.
- An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT after he/she has been enrolled for one full academic year.
- Students authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT must work part-time (under 20h/wk) while school is in session and may work full-time (40h/wk) when school is not in session or during their vacation/term off.
- The pre-completion OPT must be directly related to the student’s course of study. The application process for pre-completion OPT requires up to 90 days processing time by USCIS.
- Pre-completion OPT must end by the student’s program completion date.
- Unlike post-completion OPT, students on pre-completion OPT are not required to limit days of unemployment and do not have reporting requirements, other than for changes of address.
- Time granted on pre-completion OPT is deducted half from the one year of OPT. To determine how much OPT time you will have left, please consult an advisor in our office.
- Students need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD), with USCIS. If approved, the student will be issued an EAD card.
- The student may begin engaging in pre-completion OPT only once the EAD has been issued, received; and employment must be within the authorized dates listed on the card. ISSS recommends you to choose your OPT dates accordingly.
In order to be eligible for pre-completion OPT, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time student at least one full academic year (three quarters).
- You had less than 364 days of full-time CPT at the same educational level and school
- You are currently in F-1 status.
- You are planning to complete your degree.
- Watch the OPT Online Workshop (mandatory). The workshop provides detailed information regarding a number of topics, such as completing the application, employment reporting requirements and travel issues.
- Schedule an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for an OPT Submission Session where you will submit the following documents:
- ISSS OPT Form and the USCIS Form I-765 (in blue ink). You can access the OPT Package and the Form I-765 under the Forms tab on our website.
- Copy of previous EAD and corresponding I-20 or H1b I-94 approval notice if you had a previous USCIS work authorization, if any (CPT or on-campus employment not applicable)
- A check or money order for $380.00 made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (DO NOT WRITE ON THE BACK OF THE CHECK!) Your name and address must be on the check.
- Two passport style photographs taken within the last 30 days. Each photo must be cut to 2x2 inches with white background with your name and I-94 # printed lightly on the back in pencil/pen.
- Copies of:
- All I-20s (since you came in the US-from all US institutions you attended,
- Visa (photo pg)
- Passport (photo pg), (and renewal extension if is expired)
- I-94 card (front and back sides)
- Previous employment authorization EAD card(s) both sides - if any.
- Once your packet is assembled you will be issued a new I-20 and you will be directed to mail the packet to USCIS via FedEx or UPS certified mailing service to the following address:
2501 S. State Highway
121 Business, Suite#400
Lewisville, TX. 75067