What is OPT?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an extension of F-1 status and provides temporary employment directly related to your academic major. Though OPT can be done during your time at Luther (pre-completion OPT), most Luther students opt for post-completion OPT after they graduate.
Am I Eligible for OPT?
You are eligible to apply if:
You do not need a job offer in order to apply for OPT.
You are not eligible to apply for OPT if you leave the U.S. after graduation and before applying for OPT.
When Should I Apply?
The earliest you can apply for post-completion OPT is 90 days before completing your degree. You can apply up to 60 days after your program completion date.
You must be in the United States in order to apply for OPT.
How to Apply
Effective April 12, 2021, F-1 students seeking OPT approval can file the Form I-765 online via myUSCIS. Instructions will be available soon. Please Note: Students most NOT file an online I-765 without first meeting with the DSO and receiving their OPT I-20.
How to Choose your OPT Start Date
As part of the OPT I-20 request process, you must request a particular OPT start date. This is the day on which you would like to start your OPT work authorization. When choosing your start date, you should consider the following:
While You Wait for Your EAD Card
Your OPT application will be processed in approximately 3 - 5 months. You may NOT work on or off campus until you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) AND until the employment start date on the card.
Traveling, especially internationally, while your application is pending is allowed but not recommended. If you leave the country while your OPT application is being processed, you may be unable to re-enter. If you do plan to travel while the application is pending, please consult your DSO before doing so to check what documents you should carry with you.
Working and Reporting While on OPT
You may start working on the start date listed on your EAD card (you must have the actual EAD card in hand before starting work).
You have 90 total days of unemployment allowed on OPT. Unemployment begins accruing on the start date listed on your EAD card. Once you have reached 90 days of unemployment, you are considered out of status. In some cases, your SEVIS record may be auto-terminated and you will have to depart the U.S. immediately (no grace period). Approved vacation from a job does not count as "unemployment" if you are still considered an employee there.
You are required to update your DSO with any changes of name, address, or email. Additionally, you MUST report your employment within 10 days of starting work by completing this form with the name and address of their employer, start dates, number of hours worked, title upon starting work, and other information included on the form. Any changes in employment or additional employers also need to be reported.