Full Time

F-1 OPT

Applying for work authorization is a benefit of F-1 status and the students HAVE TO APPLY for themselves! 

 

Eligibility

  • Valid F-1 Status. Good academic standing. You must maintain F-1 status throughout OPT

  • Authorized for both full time (21+ hrs) and part time (under 20 hours)

  • Must be enrolled for a full academic year (Fall and Spring, summer not included)

OPT - Optional Practical Training

  • Three types:

    • Pre (Before degree is completed)

    • Post (After graduation)

    • STEM extension

  • Authorized for 12 months total after graduation

    • 12 months after Bachelors

    • 12 months after Masters. But if you get two Masters degree you only get one period of OPT

  • Has to be related to major like CPT

    • You do not need a job offer at the time of OPT application

    • International Advisor at OIE approves

      • Gives you authorization and new I-20

      • Sends to USCIS - Customs and Immigration

      • Takes about 5-10  days for OIE to process. They print out I-20 and instructions to mail that and the package to USCIS WITHIN 30 DAYS

    • USCIS takes 90 DAYS TO PROCESS

      • They issue your EAD

 

Application process:

  • Complete OPT e-form in iStart

  • Complete I-765 paper 

  • Scan visa, passport, old I-20s, pictures etc. list on i-start. 

  • Mail I-20, I-765 and 

 

Travel and Visa issues:

If you don’t have your EAD you can’t get back into the country

YOU CAN ONLY RE-ENTER THE US IF YOU HAVE YOUR EAD CARD

 

You need:

  • Valid passport

  • Valid Visa Stamp

  • Valid Travel Signature

  • Unexpired EAD

  • Proof you are returning to continue employment (Offer letter, EAD card, H-1B visa)

If the application is pending when you want to go home, if it’s denied you cannot get back in without the EAD CARD

 

OPT TIMELINE:

  1. Apply on i-Start 90 days before graduation (December 14, 2019). Submit application September 10, 2019. They start processing on September 16

  2. Start date has to be within the 60 day grace period after graduation. (between December 15, 2019 and February 13, 2020 for fall graduates)

  3. If you don’t find a job within 90 days after the start date of your EAD you get deported. You can get your EAD without having a job, but you have to start within 90 days of receiving your EAD.

  4. OIE needs to be updated on change of address, employment stuff. 

STEM Extension

  • Apply for STEM extension 90 days before end of OPT date

  • 24 month STEM extension to 12 month OPT period. You can only get maximum 3 years at a time.

  • You must be working at the time you apply for STEM extension

  • You have to fill out forms to say that you are furthering your education. It’s not a job, it’s training

  • STEM OPT I-20 is issued by OIE, not the government

  • You have to check in with OIE every 6 months after the start of OPT to make sure you’re still in your field of study

 

Cap-Gap

  • After OPT you have to file for H-1B status

  • For Expired OPT 

Eligibility:

  • OPT with end date later than April 1 you can continue working till September while the H-1B is being processed

  • Apply for H-1B ASAP to get a visa change and that’s when you cut off from OIE. H-1B is tricky because Trump dont want niggas in the country.

 

Social Security and Driver's License:

  • You will need a Social Security Number to work

  • You are required to report wages to IRS

  • Best bet, try and get employment on campus as early as possible so you don’t have to deal with it under pressure of an internship or full time job

  • SSN might take a while to apply for, once you have an SSN you can apply for a driver’s license

 

Resources

https://oie.gatech.edu/isss/optional-practical-training

General questions: GO TO WALK INS

  • WALK-IN HOURS 1-4:30PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. OIE Building Savant building 2nd floor