Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment benefit contained in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regulations governing the F-1 visa category. Students who have maintained their status will have an opportunity to obtain work experience in their fields of study in order to enhance their educational experience in the United States.

In order to apply for a Post Completion OPT, students must FIRST request an I-20 from IASS with the recommendation of OPT.  Required items you must submit this request are the following (please refer back to Blackboard for forms and links):

  • PDF copy of the OPT Online Blackboard Certification
  • PDF copy of the OPT Administrative Processing Fee of $100 receipt
  • PDF copy Intent to Graduate Form signed by an Academic/Program Advisor 
  • PDF copy of official most recent UTRGV Transcript
  • JPEG/JPG colored copy of US passport-style Photo (imagine size needs to be 2x2)
  • JPEG/JPG Copy of your Passport and I94 front and back and preferably in color
  • If applicable, PDF copy I20 with previous CPT approvals
  • If applicable, PDF copy of previous approved Employment Authorization Document (front and back)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT) can now file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online.   The online filing allows applicants to submit forms electronically, check the status of their case anytime from anywhere, and receive notices from USCIS online instead of waiting for them in the mail. USCIS is using innovation and technology to meet the needs of applicants, petitioners, and employees.  To file these forms online, individuals must first create a USCIS online account at myaccount.uscis.gov. This free account allows them to:

  • Submit their forms;
  • Pay their fees;
  • Track the status of their case;
  • Communicate with USCIS through a secure inbox; and
  • Respond to Requests for Evidence.

USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of these forms by mail.  If you choose to mail your I-765 with the traditional method you will require to also submit the following:

  • Copy of I-765 filled and signed
  • Copy of Check or Money Order payable to US Department of Homeland Security for $410

**Once the application is submitted, it will take 5-7 working days to review your paperwork. You will receive an email when your Form I-20 is ready.  

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