Skip to main content

Optional Practical Training

OPT Updates for Spring 2024

  • If you are an F-1 student completing your program in Spring 2024, remember that you must first apply to OIS for an I-20 with an OPT recommendation before filing the I-765 application with USCIS.
  • Recorded information sessions about the OPT process can be found here.
  • USCIS is increasing the filing fee for the I-765 effective April 1, 2024. The current filing fee of $410 will increase to $470 for applications filed online and to $520 for paper applications filed by mail. If you are within your filing eligibility window, we encourage you to file early to avoid increased fees on the I-765. For more information, please see this FAQ by USCIS.
  • USCIS has recently announced that they are raising the fee for premium processing for I-765 pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT and STEM OPT applications. The fee for premium processing is changing from $1,500 to $1,685 on February 26th.

What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in F-1 status who wish to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study during and/or after their course of study. No job offer is necessary to apply, but students must meet the eligibility requirements and obtain a new Form I-20 from OIS with an OPT recommendation before being able to apply. Once students have an OPT recommendation on their I-20, they submit their applications to the USCIS, and USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the student. This EAD authorizes the student to engage in temporary employment in their major field of study for up to 12 months anywhere in the US. Most F-1 students at NC State University wish to take advantage of this benefit and will apply for their EAD 2 to 3 months before they graduate.

Each semester OIS holds basic information sessions about OPT and the application process. OIS will be announcing session topics, dates, and times in the upcoming weeks.

Previously recorded information sessions about the OPT process can be found here.

Useful Links and Resources for OPT

OPT Q&A Sessions

OPT Q&A sessions are held online every Tuesday at 1:00PM and Thursday at 10:00AM. Join the session through the following link: Please note you must join the session by 1:30pm (Tuesday) or 10:30am (Thursday). The session will be locked after these times and you will not be able to join using the above mentioned link.

Participants are invited to ask their questions through a group chat function, and the advisor will talk through these questions with everyone in virtual attendance. All participants will be able to hear each question, so if you have a lengthy question or a question of a personal nature, please make an appointment with your advisor. Please note that the Q&A sessions are optional and there is no set presentation; the Q&A sessions just provide an opportunity for students to talk with OIS advisors about any OPT questions they may have. Another thing to note is that this not an I-765 review session, meaning that we will not be going through the I-765 question by question, however if you have a specific I-765 question you can ask this during the session.

I-765 Mailing Address

We are again allowing students to use OIS’s address as their mailing address for the I-765 application to USCIS if they have no other stable options. Full conditions and instructions are included in the OPT/ STEM OPT Mail Waiver, which you must complete should you use OIS’s mailing address.