International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services


OPT requests

OPT requests can be entered into SEVIS starting Sept. 21, 2018.

Due to the high volume of applications, processing times may be more than seven business days.

Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Processing does not begin until a complete application is submitted.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment (12 months) for training that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. It is intended to provide a student with practical experience in his or her field of study during or upon completion of a degree program.

Types

  • Pre-completion OPT: Work authorization for a student enrolled full-time who has not completed their program of study.  Students who are eligible to register for the next term may be approved to work for less than 20 hours per week (part-time) when school is in session and more than 20 hours per week (full-time) when school is not in session. 
  • Post-completion OPT: Work authorization for a student who has completed their program of study.  Graduate students can apply and engage in Post-Completion OPT while they work on their thesis, capstone paper or comprehensive examination.

Eligibility 

  • Students with valid F-1 status;
  • Student has been a full-time student for one (1) academic year in an SEVP-certified institution;
  • A student is not eligible if:
    • They are enrolled in an intensive English-language or certificate program.
    • They have exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
    • They have been authorized to participate in OPR for their current program level.

OPT Administrative Processing Fee

While working in the U.S. on OPT, the Center for International Studies is still federally required to maintain, update, and report on students' SEVIS records until all employment authorization has concluded.  This fee offsets the expenses of mandatory SEVIS compliance of employment reporting requirements, Cap-Gap requests, processing of travel authorization, federally required address, and employment requirements.

Application

The student must first submit the following to the Center for International Studies:

  1. Send an email to request the $100 OPT Administrative Processing Fee is added to your account. (Starting Sept. 1, 2018)
  1. To: Gregory, Kimberly K kkgregory@stcloudstate.edu

    CC: Schaefer, Denise C. dcschaefer@stcloudstate.edu

    Subject: $100 OPT Administrative Processing Fee

    Text:  Last name, First name, Tech ID, Personal Email

  2. Pay the $100 OPT Administrative Processing Fee in one of the following ways:
    • Online through e-Services: stcloudstate.edu (Mastercard, Visa, Discover, or E-Check accepted)
    • By Phone:  Call Cashiers Office at 1-320-308-4012 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday: Mastercard, Visa, Discover or American Express accepted.
    • In Person:  Administrative Services Building, Room 123 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  3. Print-out and submit proof that your $100 OPT Administrative Processing Fee has been made
  4. Optional Practical Training request (requires a meeting with your academic advisor to complete the form).
  5. I-765
    • Please be sure you are using the 5/31/2018 edition (this is found at the bottom of the page).
    • We require that you download the form, type in the required information and print the form because USCIS scanners often misread handwritten forms, which could delay processing. The scanners do not read information that is grayed out, highlighted or corrected with correction fluid or tape.
    • Guidance for Completing Form I-765
  6. G-1145
    • We require that you download the form, type in the required information and print the form because USCIS scanners often misread handwritten forms, which could delay processing.

The application packets may be either dropped off at the CIS Front Desk or emailed to international@stcloudstate.edu

An advisor at the Center for International Studies will:

  • Review the application.
  • Request employment authorization in SEVIS and issue a new I-20 (if appropriate).
  • Notify the student by email that their I-20 has been issued. The student must then gather these documents to complete their USCIS packet:
    1. Copies of current and previous I-20s (old I-20s, pages 1 and 3; current I-20, pages 1 and 2).
    2. Two U.S.-style passport photos taken with a white background within 30 days of filing your application.
      • Write your name and I-94 card number on the back in pencil.
      • Submit them in the envelope/folder from where they were taken. Include the receipt, if possible.
    3. A copy of your I-94 Information screen.
    4. Color copy of your valid passport with biographical and extension pages.
    5. $410 application fee in the form of a money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security".
      • UPDATE: USCIS will now accept credit card payment for the Form I-765.  If you would like to pay your application fee by credit card, please complete the following Form G-1450
    6. Color copies of all previous Employment Authorization Document cards (front and back, if applicable).
    7. Student Health Insurance Petition for Refund (if applicable)

The student must sign (in blue ink) the two sets of their new I-20 (one original to keep and one original to submit to USCIS)

The student is responsible for mailing their application packet within 30 days from the date the designated school official recommends optional practical training in SEVIS (this date is shown on the signature line on your I-20)

  • For U.S. Postal Service
    USCIS
    P.O. Box 21281
    Phoenix, AZ 85036

  • For Express mail and courier services:
    USCIS
    Attn: NFB AOS
    1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
    Suite 100
    Phoenix, AZ 85034

Points to Remember

  • Students must allow a minimum of seven full business days after submission of a complete application for an advisor in the Center for International Studies to process their request. The student will receive an email when their application is complete.
  • Students are responsible for making a copy of their OPT application for their own records, the Center for International Studies will only keep a copy of the materials required to issue the I-20.
  • Students are responsible for paying for and mailing their own application to USCIS.  We encourage using a tracked mailing system (e.g., U.S. Postal certified mail, FedEx, UPS) to ensure safe delivery.  
  • SCIS must receive the student's application within 30 days from the DSO's signature date on page 1 of the I-20. Failure to do so will result in an automatic denial of the application.
  • If the student receives a Request for Evidence (RFE), the student may make an appointment with an advisor at the Center for International Studies for assistance.
  • Once the student receives the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), a copy must be submitted to the student's employer.
  • Employment (paid or unpaid) may begin only after a student has received the EAD card and the start date listed on the EAD card is valid.

Reporting Optional Practical Training employment

You must report your Optional Practical Training employment.