Employment Authorization

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides an opportunity for F-1 visa holders to gain up to one year of experience in their field of study during their annual summer vacation, while school is in session (if training does not exceed 20 hours per week), and/or after graduation. Most students choose to save OPT until after graduation.

A job offer is not required to apply for OPT. Students may apply before graduation or within the sixty (60) day grace period following graduation.

Complete the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application

Application Process

It is recommended that the application be submitted three (3) months prior to graduation as processing may take more than 90 days. Forms are available in the metal wall file next to Slayter 403.

The I-765 form may be filled out online, but please remember to use Marilyn Andrew's address for #3 (c/o Marilyn Andrew, Denison University, Box 810, Granville, OH 43023) for the return address and #16 should be filled in with (C) (3) (B) for post completion OPT.

Online forms can be found here at the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services site.

  1. The SEVIS information page must be updated with current major, home address abroad, etc. and the start date for OPT. Optional Practical Training must be completed no later than 14 months after graduation (ie., your start date may begin as late as up to 60 days after your program end date.)
  2. Complete Form I-765 (some areas have already been filled in for you) your student admission number is the same as your I-94 number, place of last entry into U. S. refers to official Port of Entry (POE, ie. where you came through immigration).
  3. Provide (2) color passport size photographs of yourself (see specifications on handout**)
  4. Provide (2) copies each of the passport picture page, visa page and I-94 (front & back)
  5. Include a check or money order for $380 made payable to “Dept. of Homeland Security”. Be sure you have the funds to cover the check — if not, consider a cashier's check or money order.
  6. Provide a forwarding address (via email to Andrew@denison.edu) if Employment Authorization Document (EAD: the ID card which includes your picture and dates of authorization) has not arrived before you depart campus.
  7. Provide updated employment information (name of company & address) to Marilyn Andrew - regulations mandate up to date information in SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System).
  8. A student cannot accrue more than ninety (90) days of unemployment due to new regulations. In lieu of employment, a student may volunteer or intern in their field of study and the time will not be counted as unemployment. Information on the organization for which you are volunteering must be reported.

Once you have completed your application, contact Marilyn Andrew preferably 90-120 days before graduation to make an appointment to complete the process. Remember, you may not begin work until you receive your EAD card. The application must reach the U. S.C. I.S. office before the end of the sixty (60) day grace period.

The EAD card will be returned by mail to the address indicated on Form I-765 our office address has been entered. I will open and make a copy of the card for you file prior to sending it to you. **EAD CARDS CANNOT BE FORWARDED**

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment, which is an “integral part of the established curriculum”. Such training is defined as, “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”.

The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine consecutive months before applying for CPT. The employment/internship must be directly related to your field of study.