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Pre-Completion OPT

Definition

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.

General Info

  • 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.

Eligibility

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.

Application Process

    • Attend an OPT 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 with an advisor and submit the following documents:
      • USCIS Form I-765 in blue ink or www.uscis.gov
        Click here for forms
      • 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.

         (Note: ISSS will make copies of your documents for you.)

  • 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:

USCIS
Attn.AOS
2501 S. State Highway
121 Business, Suite#400
Lewisville, TX. 75067