Post-Completion Optional Practical Training


Before you apply for OPT, please watch the OPT tutorial found here.


Please note that the normal USCIS processing time for OPT applications submitted from April through July is close to 90 days. We recommend that you choose an OPT start date keeping this in mind.


SEVIS has important reporting requirements for all students on Post-Completion Practical Training. These requirements may be accessed here.

Submit the on-line application in Axess NO earlier than 100 days before your graduation date (conferral date of degree). For post-OPT employment, you may not submit your application to the USCIS earlier than 90 days prior to your graduation date. The USCIS must also receive your application within 30 days of the date on the new OPT-endorsed I-20.

OPT information and application instructions can be found on the following pages:

Reporting Requirements

All students on Post-Completion OPT (including Cap Gap and STEM extension students) are still considered to be in F-1 status for the period authorized and during the 60-day grace period afterwards.

Students on STEM based OPT must submit a validation report to the I-Center every six months starting from the date the STEM extension OPT starts and ending when F-1 status or the STEM extension OPT ends. STEM based OPT students should use the "Employment Information" link below to submit this report. Failure to submit this information in a timely manner will result in SEVIS automatically terminating the record.

F-1 regulations require students who are on Post-Completion OPT to report any changes in employment or personal information to the I-Center within 10 days.

Students must also report:

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Periods of Unemployment

F-1 regulations state that students who have been authorized for Post-Completion OPT must leave the U.S. before they accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment. No 60-day grace period is allowed. Days of unemployment will be counted from the start date indicated on the EAD card.

Please see this form– Employment Information (OPT) Changes– for more information on how to report these details.

If students volunteer or intern without pay at least 20 hours per week in their area of study (where this does not violate any labor laws), this time would not be counted against the 90 days of unemployment. However, these students must be able to provide evidence of their volunteer work.

For more information about periods of unemployment, please see section 7 of the DHS policy guide.


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Failing to Graduate

Students who apply for Post-Completion OPT and then fail to graduate on the date indicated in their application risk violating their visa status and possibly forfeiting their practical training. Do not submit paperwork for Post-Completion OPT to the I-Center until you are completely sure of your graduation date. If it turns out that you will not graduate by the end date listed on your I-20, you must contact the I-Center immediately for further instructions.

Additional information on graduating too early arrow


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Withdrawing your OPT Application

  • It may possible to withdraw the OPT application prior to approval by USICS. Please contact the I-Center IMMEDIATELY if you wish to withdraw or make changes to the OPT application.
  • If you decide not to submit documents to the USCIS (after the I-Center has issued the I-20), you must contact the I-Center IMMEDIATELY so the OPT application in SEVIS may be cancelled.

Please note that once the EAD is issued, there is NO provision for changing or canceling the authorized employment.


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After completing OPT

Once the Post-Completion OPT period is over, students have a 60-day grace period in which they are required to depart from the U.S. or change status.  Employment or re-entry into the U.S. is NOT permitted during the 60-day grace period. If you will remain in the U.S. after the 60-day grace period, you must use one of the following options:

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Starting a New Degree Program at Stanford After a Period of Post-Completion Practical Training

If you are a continuing Stanford student who will begin a new degree program at Stanford, you must submit an I-20 Request Form (PDF form) along with requested supporting documentation.

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Starting a New Degree Program at Another U.S. School After a Period of Post-Completion Practical Training

Students who will begin a new degree program at another U.S. school either prior to the end of their Post-Completion OPT period, or up to 5 months after the end of their practical training period, must provide the I-Center with the Transfer Out Form (PDF form)

If you plan to start your new degree program after the end of your practical training period, keep in mind that the I-Center must input the transfer information into SEVIS no later than 60 days after the end of your practical training period, or the new school will not be able to issue you the new I-20.

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Departure from U.S. Prior to End of Practical Training

Students who depart the U.S. prior to the end date of their practical training and will not return in F-1 status must report their departure to the I-Center. Please fill out and submit this form >>

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