Optional Practical Training

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

OPT is a type of employment authorization F-1 students may apply for before (pre-completion OPT) or immediately after (post-completion OPT) completing their program of study. It allows you to find employment directly related to your major field of study, and requires prior approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You may qualify for up to 12 months of employment for each higher level of education completed.

Eligibility:

You must have been enrolled full time for at least one academic year or two semesters.  You must complete the OPT lesson and quiz in the OGI moodle course. The certificate of having passed the OPT quiz will be required with your application. OPT workshops will also be available for students throughout the semester. 

If you wish to apply for post-completion OPT you must meet the minimum GPA requirements for graduation : 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students. Students who submit an OPT application that does not meet the minimum requirements will have the application returned to them. They can resubmit their application after graduation as long as they do not depart the U.S. during their grace period. 

When to apply:

  • If applying for pre-completion OPT, there are no deadlines as long as you plan to start your OPT after you have completed at least 2 semesters at NJIT.

Any time on pre-completion OPT is deducted from your total time of post-completion OPT.

Many students may qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which is authorized by Career Development Services (CDS) and OGI, and does not require an application to USCIS for employment authorization. Students interested in internships/employment related to their program of study for credit prior to their graduation, are advised to consult with CDS before pursuing any pre-completion OPT.

  • If applying for post-completion OPT, you can apply as early as 90 days before your program end date and up to 60 days after (before the end of your grace period). If you depart the U.S. during your grace period before sending your application to USCIS, you will no longer be eligible. 
  • IMPORTANT! Your I-20 end date will be shortened to reflect the true end date of the last semester. For example, if your I-20 ends on May 31st, it will shortened to May 11th, or whatever day is the last day of final exams of the semester you are graduating. If you have questions about what your real I-20 end date will be, ask OGI.

How to apply:

  1. Apply for a new I-20 with OPT recommendation from OGI
    1. NJIT OPT application
    2. (NEW!) Certificate obtained after passing the OPT quiz in Moodle.
    3. Form I-765, typed and completed. Please note: DO NOT USE OGI'S ADDRESS ON THE I-765. YOU MUST USE YOUR OWN ADDRESS TO HAVE USCIS MAIL AND EAD DELIVERED. 
    4. Money order payable to New Jersey Institute of Technology for $200 (Post completion OPT only)

Processing time is 7 business days.

  1. Make a copy of your entire OPT application for your records.
  2. Send your new I-20 along with the rest of required documents to USCIS within 30 days of the day your new I-20 was issued.  You can find a list of required documents and fee under Application Procedures.

Processing time is 2-3 months.

Tips for filing forms with USCIS:

https://www.uscis.gov/forms-filing-tips