Applying for OPT
Want to know more about the OPT Application process? Check out the OPT Application Basics Workshop below. This video is a 25 minute overview intended to introduce you to basic concepts and terms. You will learn more about what OPT is, when you should apply, and how to maintain your status while on OPT. We recommend that you watch this video when you are starting to think about OPT as it gives you a good overview of the entire process.
OPT Basics Workshop
Please see the Application Checklist for OPT page for full details on how to request a new I-20 through the ISSOPortal with an OPT recommendation before applying to USCIS.
You can now choose whether you want to submit a paper OPT application to USCIS via the mail or, whether you prefer to create an online account, upload all of your documentation and submit your OPT application to USCIS electronically. The USCIS processing estimates are the same so you can choose if you prefer to send your application form, fee and supporting documentation via mail or, if you prefer to pay the fee, upload all documents and submit online instead. See Video #5 below about tips for online OPT filing.
Either way, keep in mind that you need to receive your new I-20 from ISSO recommending you for OPT BEFORE you apply to USCIS and, you should only apply to USCIS through ONE application method.
You are required to view all 8 of the following videos and gather the required documentation before you submit your request for a new I-20 with the OPT recommendation through the ISSOPortal. They will also guide you on how to maintain your F-1 status while on Optional Practical Training.