Optional Practical Training (OPT) is available to students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a USCIS-approved college, university, conservatory or seminary for one full academic year.

How to Apply for OPT

Apply to the Designated School Official (DSO) sufficiently in advance to allow the SEVIS record to be updated before the program completion date is reached. The DSO for our dental school is Madeline Escorcia at 4A15. You will need to submit the following:

  1. A letter of recommendation from the clinic administrator or course director. This letter should state your anticipated program completion date and why you should remain for an additional 12 months in the U.S.
  2. Photocopies of all your current and prior I-20 forms.
  3. Two original copies of Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization, and be sure to fill in "(c) (3) (B)" for item 27; complete two original copies. Be sure to include the mailing address where you know you will be 3 - 8 weeks after graduation, as your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be sent to your address, not to the school.
  4. A check payable to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of the fee required for Form I-765. As of 01/11/2019, the amount is $410.00.
  5. Two full-face color photos as used for visa applications. The photos must be in color. Print your name and admission number on the back.
  6. A copy of your Form I-94, front and back (white card stapled in passport).
  7. A copy of your passport: Photo page & page with expiration date.

Once the DSO has reviewed your documents and given you the new I-20 which must accompany your OPT application, make sure that each of the items below are complete and in the envelope before you seal and submit it to the USCIS Service Center which has jurisdiction over your place of residence.

  1. Your completed Form I-765
  2. I-765 filing fee of $410
  3. Two full-face color photos
  4. A copy of your Form I-20 printed with the OPT endorsement, signed by you and the DSO on page 1, and signed and dated by the DSO on page 2. The DSO's signature must be dated within 30 days of USCIS's receipt of the OPT application. You received this I-20 after the DSO reviewed your OPT documents.
  5. Copies of all prior Forms I-20.
  6. A copy of both sides of your I-94.
  7. A copy of the ID pages from your passport. If you had an EAD card before, then a copy of applications for renewal of work authorization, and a photocopy of the previously-issued EAD card.

Note: When you submit your OPT application, make sure you use either certified mail or private courier. USCIS must receive and accept your I-765 before your program completion date.