Pre Completion OPT

What is Pre-Completion OPT?

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  • This type of work authorization occurs prior to students' degree completion and prior to the program end date stated on the I-20.
  • Pre-Completion OPT can be full time (more than 20 hours per week) or part time (20 hours or less per week). 
  • Full time Pre-Completion OPT is only available to students a) during summer or b) GRADUATE students who have completed all course requirements and are only left with a project/thesis/comprehensive exam in their final semester.


How do I apply for Pre-Completion OPT?

1) View the OPT Tutorial.

2) Submit the required documents listed on the Pre-Completion OPT application to the ISSS office.

3) A new I-20 will be issued to you. Pick up this I-20 and compile the required list of documents to send to USCIS.

4) Send required documents to USCIS.

5) Wait 3-5 months to receive work authorization.

6) Submit a copy of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to ISSS. 

7) Begin working!


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a job or job offer to apply for Pre-Completion OPT? - No, a job offer is not required when applying. 

What can I do if I’ve been waiting more than 90 days for my EAD card? - A inquiry ticket can be submitted through USCIS's website. Stop by the ISSS office during walk in advising hours to speak with an International Student Advisor. 

What if I have Pre-Completion authorization but don’t ever find a job? - The time you utlize will be deducted from the 12 months of OPT you are granted, however your F-1 status will still remain valid.

What should I do once I receive my EAD card in the mail? - Please submit a copy of your EAD card to ISSS office via email or in person.

Can I change employers during Pre-Completion OPT? - Yes, you may change employers as many times as you want while on Pre-Completion OPT.

What type of status do I have during Pre-Completion OPT? - You will remain in F-1 status. 


I-765 Guidelines

I-765 guidelines can be found here. Always make sure to visit USCIS's website for the most up-to-date forms and instructions.