Optional Practical Training (OPT) Checklist

For Detailed OPT Information

Please contact DSO for more Information and policies regarding the 90-day Unemployment Rule, H1- B gap provision, and 17-Month STEM Extension.

Gather the Following Documents before Requesting an OPT Appointment.

Remember: your application must be received by DHS no later than 60 days after you complete your degree requirements (this is not the same day as graduation):

  • Two Photos – passport style. Print your name and admission number (found on your I-94 card) lightly on the back in pencil.
  • Copy of student visa, passport photo page, & I-94 card (both sides), and all previous I-20s (1st and 3rd page)
  • Check for $410 made payable to Department of Homeland Security
  • Have a local address that is valid for the next three months where you can receive your card. Use this address on your I-765 form (Please notify the Simpson mailroom your intent to remain on campus)
  • Completed I-765 copy in blue ink (you can download an I-765 form at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis or contact Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of International and Multicultural Affairs for a copy of I-765)
    • Attempt to make your signature no larger than 1" wide x ½” tall and do NOT cross the lines. (fit it in the white space). If your signature is too large, USCIS will return the application to you.
  • Copies of any prior EAD cards (if applicable)
  • Recommended: Documentation from academic advisor indicating current academic status and expected date of completion of studies. A one to two sentence letter is sufficient.

Once You Have Gathered the Documents Listed Above:

  1. Make an appointment to see Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of International and Multicultural Affairs to complete the application process. Please include your availability in your request and plan ahead (allow up to 3 days for an appointment).
  2. When You Meet With the Multicultural and International Affairs Office:
  • Bring the documents listed above
  • Know the dates that you want OPT to begin and end (you can request OPT to begin up to 60 days after your last day of classes/completion of the degree)
  • The Multicultural and International Affairs Office will issue an OPT I-20 and make copies of all of your documents. This OPT I-20 will be the final document required to complete your application.


  • Send your OPT application via Certified Mail at the Post Office to USCIS at P.O. Box 21281, Phoenix, AZ 85036
  • The student must also file the Form I-765 with USCIS within 30 days of the date the DSO enters the recommendation of OPT into his or her SEVIS record.
  • About two weeks after you mail your package, you will receive a formal receipt from USCIS with your personal WAC (application) number. Bring a copy of this receipt to the Multicultural and International Affairs Office. You may check the status of your application on-line at any time by visiting the website listed on the receipt: www.uscis.gov
  • You will receive your card within 75-90 days of the date on the receipt. DO NOT start working until you receive your EAD card and the date on the card has been reached. Inform the Multicultural and International Affairs Office if you do not receive your EAD card within 90 days of the date of your receipt. Bring a copy of your EAD card to the International Staff when you receive it.
  • Please contact Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of International and Multicultural Affairs prior to making travel arrangements.
  • Very Important: You are required to continue to report any changes in your address, phone number, or e-mail address to the Multicultural and International Affairs Office while on OPT. Note: we do not recommend that you move while waiting for OPT approval.
  • Very Important: Update the Multicultural and International Affairs Office with any and all changes to your employment (including breaks in employment)