Post Completion OPT



What is Post-Completion OPT?

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment authorization issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The work students pursue while on Post-Completion OPT must be directly related to his/her/their major field of study. Post-Completion OPT may be used either:

  1. after the completion of a degree program or 
  2. after completion of all course requirements and are only left with a project, thesis or comprehensive final exam.

Post-Completion OPT is generally issued for a duration of 12 months, but may be for less time if the student has previously applied and been granted Pre-Completion OPT.

When to Apply for OPT

*You will need to make sure that you have the I-20 with OPT recommendation from ISSS, prior to filing your OPT application with USCIS.
Program Completion Term I-20 Program End Date First day OPT Request Submitted to ISSS via iSpartan First day to apply for OPT (Send documents to USCIS)* Last day to Apply (USCIS must receive docs by) First possible OPT start date Last possible OPT start date
Spring 2024 05/22/2024 02/15/2024 02/22/2024 07/21/2024 05/23/2024 07/21/2024
Summer 2024 08/20/2024 05/15/2024 05/22/2024 10/19/2024 08/21/2024 10/19/2024
Fall 2024 12/18/2024 09/12/2024 09/19/2024 02/16/2025 12/19/2024 02/16/2025

Post-OPT Eligibility

You must meet ALL of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for Post-Completion OPT.

  1. Must have been a full-time student for at least one consecutive academic year. *OPT eligibility requirements may reset due to a leave of absence or SEVIS record termination. Please consult with an ISA for more information.
  2. Be in valid F-1 status when requesting OPT I-20 from ISSS and when application is submitted to USCIS.
  3. Be in good academic standing: your cumulative GPA on your transcript must be at an acceptable level (minimum 3.0 for graduate students and 2.0 for undergraduate students).
  4. Academic Advisor verification (via the OPT I-20 request e-form) confirming you will be completing your degree and are in good academic standing. 
  5. Be physically in the U.S. when requesting the OPT I-20 from ISSS and submitting your application to USCIS.
  6. Have not previously been approved for post-completion OPT at the same degree level. 

Premium Processing with USCIS

On March 6, 2023 USCIS announced Premium Processing; New Online-Filing Procedures for Certain F-1 Student Seeking OPT or OPT OPT Extensions.

ISSS does not recommend the premium processing option, as long as you have built in sufficient time (e.g. 2-3 months) to apply for OPT. You can go here to find out the current processing times for form I-765 with USCIS. (See below for the information you will need to enter to find the current processing times). 

  • Form: I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form Category: Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student [(c)(3)[]
  • Field Office or Service Center: Potomac Service Center

If you choose to file for premium processing for your OPT application, you still need to get an I-20 from ISSS with the OPT recommendation prior to filing your application with USCIS. Please keep in mind the following information.

Filing Fee for Premium Processing: $1,685 if you are filing Form I-907 for a pending Form I-765 with eligibility category (c)(3)(B) Post-Completion OPT. Please note: These fees are in addition to all other filing fees required by the application or petition you are submitting.

USCIS will take adjudicative action within 30 days or will refund Premium Processing fee.

How do I apply for Post-Completion OPT?

  1. View the Post-Completion OPT Tutorial
  2. Atttend a Post-Completion Workshop to learn more about Post-Completion OPT. Review the F-1 Employment Workshop events page for dates and times.
  3. Pay the one-time $150.00 administrative Post-Completion OPT fee by going to this link. Make sure you select the correct payment option for the "OPT fee" (it's the first item on the menu.) You will need to submit proof of payment receipt when you submit the Post-Completion OPT I-20 request to ISSS. 
  4. Submit a completed OPT I-20 Request Form to ISSS. 
  5. When you submit the e-form, it will be sent to your Academic Department for them to sign off on your OPT request. If your Academic Department approves the form, it will then be sent to the ISSS office for processing. Once your Academic Department has signed off on your OPT request, you will receive an email that your request has been routed to ISSS for processing.
  6. Once received by ISSS, processing time is 5-7 business days. ISSS will email you when the new I-20 has been issued. USCIS is accepting digitally signed I-20's from ISSS, so we will email you the I-20 with OPT recommendation. You will need this I-20 with OPT recommendation to file your OPT application with USCIS.
  7. While you are waiting for your I-20, review the following tutorials. They will give you a list of documents to gather for your application, as well as I-765 guidelines.
  8. Once you have your I-20 and have prepared your OPT packet, please be aware that USCIS must receive your completed OPT application within 30 days of the new OPT I-20 issuance date. Make sure to visit USCIS's website for the most up-to-date forms (I-765G-1145) and instructions.
  9. Optional: Atttend a Post-Completion OPT Application Packet (I-765) Prep Workshop for tips on filing your online OPT application with USCIS. Review the F-1 Employment Workshop events page for dates and times.
  10. As of April 2021, USCIS offers 2 different ways to file an I-765 (OPT) application with USCIS. You must choose one option. You cannot choose both options. ISSS recommends that you file online. 
    1. Mail application and supporting documents to USCIS. Review ISSS Mailing I-755 for OPT/STEM OPT. 
    2. Online filing of I-765. Review ISSS Online filing of I-765 for OPT/STEM OPT.

    If you choose to mail your application, then refer to USCIS I-765 filing locations for the mailing address for the OPT application and the tutorial: Mailing I-755 for OPT/STEM OPT.. Approximately 2-4 weeks after USCIS receives your application, you should receive a receipt notice with a USCIS case number.
  11. Wait 2-4 months to receive work authorization from USCIS. You should receive an approval notice (I-797 Notice of Action) and EAD. You must have the EAD card, then you are eligible to work within the authorized dates in a job that is related to your major.
  12. Report your employment through the SEVP Portal. For instructions on how to access and use the SEVP Portal, please click on this link: SEVP Portal Guidelines. 

What Should I Do While Form I-765 is Pending?

Check Processing Time Online

Click here to check I-765 application processing times at Potomac Service Center.

Under <Forms> select ’I-765’, for <Service Center> select ‘Potomac Service Center’, click the ‘Get Processing Time’ button.

Check your Case Status Online

Enter the Receipt Number from your USCIS receipt notice (Form I-797C). You also have an option to sign up for an account to get automatic case updates, including a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) tracking number. This is different from the G-1145 E-Notification of Application Acceptance.

To inquire about your case outside of normal processing times, Submit a Case Inquiry.

Update Your Address

Have you moved after applying for OPT?  Update your mailing address with USCIS here: Online Change of AddressPlease note that the longer you wait to update your address once you have a pending Post-Completion OPT application, the less likely it is that USCIS will send your I-797 receipt notice and EAD to the correct mailing address. We advise you to use this feature with extreme caution and to speak with us before doing so. 

Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery

Sign up for this service to receive delivery status notifications. 

Label Your Mailbox

To ensure proper and timely delivery of any USCIS notifications, including the application approval and EAD card, we strongly recommend you add a label to your mailbox with your full name (Last and First Name used on Form I-765).

Practice the Art of Being Patient

USCIS I-765 processing times range from 3 to 5 months. While you wait for USCIS to process your application, focus on securing your dream job, practice your hobbies, and try your best not to worry about why your application hasn’t been approved yet.

Be patient and enjoy your free time! Once your OPT is approved you will be required to work full-time in order to maintain F-1 status and be able to legally stay in the U.S. 

What Should I Do Once Form I-765 is Approved?

OPT Reporting Requirements

Once you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and it becomes active (EAD start date), you are required to comply with federal OPT reporting requirements to maintain F-1 status. Click here to learn more about OPT Reporting Responsibilities.

EAD Typographic Error(s)

After receiving your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), check the card for any errors, especially the work authorization dates.

If you receive a receipt notice, document, or card from USCIS that contains a typographic error, submit a USCIS Service request.

Depending on the nature of the error (name, date of birth), you may need to return the card to USCIS to obtain a corrected replacement card. Please email us at to inform us of the error, so we can advise you on how to get the card corrected.

How Do I Maintain F-1 Status While on OPT?

While on OPT, you must follow certain rules to maintain your F-1 status:

  1. You may only work from the start date to the end date listed on the EAD (no more than 12 months of work authorization).
  2. All employment (paid and unpaid) must be related to your major field of study.
  3. Report all employment and address changes to ISSS within 10 days of the change. You will use the SEVP Portal. The following information must be reported within 10 days:
  • Your residential address
  • Phone number, email address
  • Employer’s name, address
  • Job title
  • Start and/or end dates of employment
  • Any periods of unemployment
  • The date you are exiting the U.S. (if you leave before the end date of your OPT). This information must also be reported directly to the ISSS and not just through the SEVP Portal.

Continue to File Your Taxes

For information on how to file your taxes as a Post-OPT recipient, please review our resources on Taxes.

Frequently Asked Questions (Post-Completion OPT)


Contact Us

San José State University

One Washington Square
Student Union - CPGE
San Jose, CA 95192-0135

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 9am – 4:30pm

Back to Top