In this packet, you will find the federal immigration regulations governing Optional Practical Training (OPT), the necessary forms to apply for OPT and instructions on how to apply. We urge you to note the following:
1.) Have you met the eligibility requirement for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
To be eligible, you must have completed one full academic year of study (two consecutive semesters) prior to applying for OPT.
2.) First Filing Deadline at USCIS!
Your OPT application must be received by the USCIS Lockbox Facility serving your residential location within 30 days of the date that Binghamton’s office of International Student and Scholar Services issues your new OPT I-20. The date can be easily determined by examining the date printed at item 10, page 1 of your new OPT I-20.
3.) Second Filing Deadline at USCIS!
The deadline for submitting your Post-Completion OPT application to the USCIS Lockbox Facility serving your residential location is up to 60 days after your degree completion date as indicated on item 5, page 1 of your OPT I-20 (as long as you do not exceed the 30 day limit from the date ISSS recommends your OPT; see Item 1 above). Remember that it may take up to 90 days for USCIS to process your application form. If you delay filing your application until the deadline, that means it will be as many as 90 days from the date USCIS receives your application before you will have your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and can start work.
4.) Days of Unemployment Must Be Counted!
There is a limit to the number of days you can be unemployed while on Post-Completion OPT and still maintain valid F-1 status. Once post-completion OPT is approved, a student cannot exceed a total of 90 days of unemployment beginning with the start date on the EAD card. This includes any travel periods outside the United States while unemployed.
5.) Reporting Requirements!
You are required to report any changes in employment information (including periods of unemployment) to Binghamton University’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services within ten days of the change. This needs to be reported using the web form found on the main page of our website: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss