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Week 27: Time to apply for OPT

Category: Blog | #MS in the US

29th January: Post OPT information session

OPT Information sessions are organized by ISSC (International Students and Scholars Center) every semester. It’s almost February and time to start the procedure for OPT work authorization (Applicable to international students only). First, the application goes to ISSC (International Students and Scholars Center) which takes around 10-14 days for the processing of new I-20. The whole procedure is online. Then we have to parcel a bunch of documents and copies to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) which takes around 90 days.

Applicable Fees:
ISSC :$100
USCIS :$410

The tricky part is to choose a date for the start of OPT. You have to choose a date within two months of the degree completion date. And then the EAD (employment authorization document) card is valid for one year only from that date. The degree completion date is 7th May 2018. Once the OPT starts, it is compulsory to find employment within three months to maintain valid F1 status. -> Very Important.

STEM OPT application procedure is different which also includes some action points from your employer. So for standard OPT (12 months OPT), you do not need an employer, but for STEM OPT(24 months extension) you will need an employer.