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OPT Application Process

International Student Services

» OPT Application Process

Students will apply to OPT through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) directly. Understanding the application process is vital to ensuring approval of your application. Below are full details on applying for OPT, including our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

OPT Application Dates

Timeline layout for applying for OPT

USCIS must receive your OPT application as early as 90 days before your program end date and no later than 60 days after your program end date.

Graduation Term

I-20 Program End Date

Range of Requested OPT Start Date

(60-Day Grace Period)​

USCIS Application Window

Fall 2023​

12/31/2023​

01/01/2024 - 02/29/2024​

10/02/2023 - 02/29/2024​

Spring 2024​

05/18/2024​

05/19/2024 - 07/17/2024

02/18/2024 - 07/17/2024

Summer 2024​

08/17/2024​

8/18/2024 - 10/16/2024​

05/19/2024 - 10/16/2024

Fall 2024

12/14/2024

12/15/2024 - 02/12/2025

09/15/2024 - 02/12/2025

(This calendar applies to all programs except the Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Fowler School of Law.)

Graduation Term

I-20 Program End Date

Range of Requested OPT Start Date

(60-Day Grace Period)​

USCIS Application Window

Fall 2023​

12/31/2023​

01/01/2024 - 02/29/2024​

10/02/2023 - 02/29/2024​

Spring 2024​

04/13/2024​

04/14/2024 - 06/12/2024

01/14/2024 - 06/12/2024

Summer 2024​

08/10/2024​

08/11/2024 - 10/09/2024​

05/12/2024 - 10/09/2024

Fall 2024

12/14/2024

12/15/2024 - 02/12/2025

09/15/2024 - 02/12/2025

(This calendar applies to the Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders programs.) 

If your I-20 program end date does not match your graduation/completion date, you must contact ISS to shorten or extend the I-20 program end date to match your academic progress.

 

OPT Application Process

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Stage 1: Complete OPT module

Log in to your student Canvas account. Go to the International Student Services page and select Optional Practical Training (OPT) Module. Begin the module by watching the instruction videos and answering the questions. While completing the OPT module, use the I-765 OPT Online Application Manual to successfully submit your application to USCIS.

After completion of the OPT module and the OPT I-20 request form is submitted, please allow 3-5 business days to process your OPT request. You will receive your your OPT I-20 from ISS.

Additional resources

ISS has prepared the following resources for you to successfully submit your application to USCIS.

 

Stage 2: Receive OPT I-20 from ISS

  • For accuracy, please make sure your information on your OPT I-20 is correct.
  • Sign and save your copy.
  • The OPT I-20 is only valid for 30 days. 
  • USCIS must receive your I-765 online application before the OPT I-20 expires.

 

Stage 3: Apply with USCIS

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Step 1: Create an Online Account with USCIS

Within 30-days of receiving your OPT I-20 from ISS, F-1 students can create an online account at myUSCIS Account.

Step 2: Complete the I-765 Online Application

Upload supporting documents:

  • Signed OPT I-20 from ISS
  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa (Can be expired)
  • Most recent I-94 
  • 2x2 Passport Photo 
  • Previous EAD card (if applicable)
  • Previous CPT/OPT I-20 (if applicable)

Step 3: Review the application and pay the filing fee

 

After application submission

application-process.png

I-797 Receipt Notice (14-30 days)

After you have successfully submitted your I-765 online application to USCIS, you will receive at your mailing address an I-797 receipt notice with a case number.

If you receive an RFE from USCIS, please email the RFE letter to iss@chapman.edu. 

 

Stage 4: Maintain OPT Status

Please use our Maintaining OPT Status page for details.

Frequently Asked Questions


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International Student Services provides general guidance. Any advice provided to you by the ISS should not be construed as legal advice.

Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, government agencies such as USCIS/ICE/CBP may change their interpretation of immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits at any time. We will do our best to provide the most current guidance.

Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.

Contact ISS


Visit our contact page to email us, call us or make an appointment with a team member.