Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training allows F-1 students to be employed for 12 months after completion of their programs. The employment must be directly related to majors or areas of study. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. The student may not begin OPT until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document (EAD), Form I-766.

You are eligible to apply for standard, post-completion OPT, if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are currently in lawful F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study or equivalent for at least one academic year.
  • You are in good academic standing.
  • You have completed, or are in the process of completing your degree required coursework.
  • You have not already participated in post-completion OPT at your current degree level or exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). One OPT is granted per degree level.
  • Work can begin only after receiving the EAD and on or after the start date on the EAD.
  •  If your application for OPT is still pending contact a CIE Advisor for further advice.
  • Work at least 20 hours per week. If work schedule is variable, work an average of 20 hrs. per week within a month. 
  • Work must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • Valid “employment” for OPT includes: 
  • Maintain evidence - for each job - of the position held, proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information for the your supervisor or manager and a description of the work.
  • Cannot be unemployed for a total of more than 90 days. If you are unemployed for more than 90 days during your OPT, you will be considered out of status and your status will be terminated. You must leave the U.S., transfer to another institution, change degree levels, or change your immigration status.

International Students completing Post-Completion OPT are required to report the following changes within 10 business days of the change:

  • Termination of employment
  • Unemployment periods
  • Changes to your name
  • Changes to your U.S. mailing address and contact information
  • Termination of your OPT period
  • Change of status or Academic level

You have two options to update your Information while in Post-Completion OPT:

1. SEVP Portal

The SEVP Portal will be accessible to you only after OPT is approved. You will receive an email to set up your individual SEVP Portal from do-not-reply.sevp@ice.dhs.gov. Use the SEVP Portal to report the following information only:

  • Physical home address
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone numbers
  • Employment information

After you set up your SEVP Portal, you can access it here. For help with the SEVP Portal visit SEVP PORTAL HELP or meet with an International Student Advisor/DSO.

REMINDER: If you report the information listed above through the SEVP Portal, you will not have to use the OPT employment and address update form and you will not receive a new I-20.

2. OPT Employment and Address update form

Use the official OPT Employment Address Update Form to report while in OPT.  This form is an alternative to the SEVP Portal. You can access the form here. You can also continue to update your personal information in your MyCSULB. Use this form for all changes in personal information and employment information, including changes in your preferred email address.

Report the end your OPT at any time by completing the OPT Employment and Address Update Form.

Grace Period

F-1 students who complete their OPT period successfully until the end of their Employment Authorization Card (EAD) have a 60-day grace period. During the grace period, students must prepare to depart the U.S., gain a new F-1 status, or change to another immigration status.

Transfer Out Request Form must be submitted to CIE within the grace period if you plan to start a new academic program at a school other than CSULB.

H1-B Cap Gap Extension

Your OPT work authorization will be automatically extended if you are the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 (the first day of the following fiscal year). To determine your eligibility for the Cap Gap or to request an I-20 with the Cap Gap notations, contact an International Student advisor or click here to view the request form