Effective August 29, 2011, a one-time administrative fee of $200 will be charged to students who apply for 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please make the check out to “University of Bridgeport.” This must be paid at the time of OPT processing.
Please DO NOT file your OPT application to USCIS without the I-20 issued by us to endorse your OPT.
How to Apply for 12 Month OPT
Step 1. Check your eligibility
Refer to the OPT FAQs on this page to see if you are eligible for OPT.
Step 2. Pay the $200 OPT administrative fee and submit all required documents
Please call 203-576-4568 or email email@example.com and specify that it is for the 12 month OPT fee. Payments will not be taken over the phone but once you contact Student Financial Services, they will add the OPT charge to your account so you could pay the fee online through your UB Portal.
Once your documents have been reviewed by the DSO, your OPT I-20 will be issued and emailed to you with mailing instructions. Do NOT mail your OPT application to USCIS without receiving the new I-20 and mailing instructions from this office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SEVP is allowing for DSOs to electronically sign and email I-20s.
Step 3. Obtain OPT I-20 from IC and gather documents to mail them or file online to USCIS
Once you get the OPT I-20, follow the instructions attached to your I-20, and compile all documents to mail to USCIS. Send your application by post mail and wait for processing! (Tip: Make copies of everything you send and use tracking.)
USCIS often changes its mailing address. Please check the website to ensure you're sending your documents to the correct address. Please review the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765 page to see where you should file your application.
Do NOT file OPT to USCIS before you receive an OPT I-20 from IC.
Optional Practical Training is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in your current major field of study for a maximum of one year, per higher degree level (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate), during your F-1 status. The purpose is to “round off” or complement your academic work.
- You must have been lawfully enrolled for at least one full academic year and are maintaining valid F-1 status
- Must submit your application in a timely fashion (see next section)
- Students enrolled in English language training programs are not eligible for practical training
- Undergraduate student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and a graduate student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- You don’t need a job to apply for OPT. Once you get a job, the work must be directly related to your current major field of study. The work may occur anywhere in the United States
You must also be able to affirm and satisfy ALL of the items below:
- I have filed for graduation
- I have a zero balance with the University Bursar
- I have no holds on my student account
- I will apply for this application in person
- You can apply 90 days PRIOR to but no later than 60 days AFTER your program end date (Your application must be RECEIVED by immigration before you reach the 60-day grace period)
- USCIS must receive your OPT application within 30 days after the OPT I-20 is issued
- You can choose any date after your program end date but before the end date of your 60-day grace period
- You must complete your OPT within a 14-month period following your program end date
- Samples (these samples are given based on April 21, 2024 as a program end date):
4/22/2024 –4/21/2025 (example 1 with earliest start date)
6/20/2024 – 6/19/2025 (example 2 with last start date)
- Still unsure about these samples? View the online OPT Information Session for a detailed explanation under our resources page
- If you are currently on CPT and wish to continue working with no interruptions, you should (1) request a start date immediately following your program end date and (2) apply for OPT early
- No, your passport must be valid and must have a validity period of at least 6 months prior to filing for OPT
- If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, please apply at your consulate for a renewal before applying for OPT (Note: If you are in the process of applying, retain the receipt notice that the passport is being processed)
- You CANNOT work until you receive the EAD card and the start date is in effect.
- You can have multiple jobs but each job must be at a minimum 20 hours per week.
- ALL your jobs must be DIRECTLY related to your major.
- Examples of work:
- Work for hire
- Self-employed business owner
- Employment through an agency or consulting firm
- Paid or unpaid employment
- You CANNOT be without work for more than 90 days during the 12-month post completion.
- It is your responsibility to keep track of your unemployment time.
- Your SEVIS record will be terminated by immigration if you exceed the unemployment limit. If you have a job, but do not report it to SEVP, immigration will treat it as unemployment and your SEVIS record will be terminated once it reaches the unemployment limit.
- It is NOT International Center’s responsibility to send me reminders.
Summary of Reporting Requirements
Please refer to Student Statement for what your reporting responsibilities are during 12-month OPT.
Submit in SEVP Portal:
- Update your name, telephone number, and residential address.
- Report/update employment within 10 days of the change – DO NOT delete previous employer details. Put an end date for the previous employer and ADD a new employer.
Submit in Webforms:
- Submit 12 Month OPT EAD Card/Notice Webform – Upload your EAD card, Receipt Notice, and Approval Notice.
- Submit Employment and Major Confirmation Webform with each employer – Upload a screenshot of employment reported in SEVP Portal + the Employment & Major Confirmation Form signed by your supervisor in ink. Please submit a new Employment & Major Confirmation Webform every time you change your employer.
Documents Required to Submit with the New 12-month OPT Application Form
Do not forget to bring the following documents to the International Center for Students and Scholars for review!
Due to COVID-19, OPT applications will be processed through webform.
|Who must sign this form?
|Form I-765 (The code for line 27 is: (c) (3) (B))
Click on the link and then go to Forms and Document Downloads to download a copy of Form I-765. This form needs to be filled out per I-765 instructions and submitted to IC with other documents mentioned in Step 2. Do NOT mail or file online your OPT application to USCIS before you receive an OPT I-20 from us.
|12-Month OPT Student Statement
|No signature needed.
Remaining Documents to Prepare
- Two passport style color photos with your name, date of birth and SEVIS ID printed in a pencil on the back; See examples here
- **$410 filing fee (You must visit USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 to make sure the fee is current and correct at the time of filing your application to USCIS.), make a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. Date on check must be current!! See sample check here.
- Copy of ALL I-20 forms (page 1 and 2, not instruction page)
- Copy of I-94 card (front and back) if you have a paper I-94 card. Stamp must be clearly legible. Electronic I-94 is available here.
- Copy of passport: information page with expiration date and stamp of first entry into the US in F status
- Copy of F-1 visa(s), and first and most recent entry stamp in F-1 status. If you have other entries in F-1 status, please include the entry stamps as well.
- Copy of Form I-797 (approval notice for change of status) if you had a change of status to F-1
**An alert posted on the USCIS home page on October 1, 2020 states:
"On Sept. 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in Immigration Legal Resource Center et al., v. Wolf, et al., 20-cv-05883-JWS, preliminarily enjoined DHS from implementing or enforcing any part of the USCIS Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements rule.
While the rule is preliminarily enjoined, we will continue to: