When to Apply

Pre-completion OPT

  • Students may apply as early as 90 days before the proposed start date of the employment.

Post-completion OPT

  • Students completing a program of study can apply as early as 90 days before the date of completion and/or graduation. For May degree candidates, the date of the graduation ceremony is the program completion date.
  • Completed OPT applications must be received by USCIS no later than the 60th day after graduation/program completion.
  • You are advised to apply for OPT well in advance of your anticipated employment. A job offer is not required to apply for OPT.
  • For students completing their programs at other points in the academic year, their HIO advisor can assist in determining the program completion date for OPT purposes.
  • Students who have had a break in their F-1 student status (such as a leave of absence outside of the United States) should work closely with their HIO advisor to confirm their eligibility to apply for OPT.