Pre-Completion OPT

Pre-Completion OPT

Pre-Completion OPT

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is off-campus employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience directly related to their major field of study. Please be aware of the following conditions:

  • Your OPT employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • You are permitted a maximum of 12 months of full-time employment for each higher educational level you pursue in the U.S. (eg. bachelor’s or master’s degree)
  • No specific job offer is required to apply for OPT. However, you MUST find employment within 90 days of being approved for OPT to maintain legal F-1 status. 
  • You cannot begin your employment until you have received your approved EAD card.

If you have used full time CPT for one year or more, you are no longer eligible for OPT. Use of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

Pre-Completion OPT Requirements

Pre-Completion OPT: Start date prior to the program end date on the student’s I-20

  • You may participate in pre-completion OPT during your studies after you have been enrolled at Rowan University for one full academic year. 
  • You must work part-time when school is in session.
  • You may work part-time or full-time during vacation periods for students.(as long as student will be registered in the school in the following semester)
  • Part-time pre-completion OPT accrues at a rate of 50%. For example, 6 months of part-time pre-completion OPT counts as 3 months of the total of 12 months of OPT you are allowed.

• NOTE: All periods of pre-completion OPT are deducted from the available post-completion OPT.

When to Apply

Pre-completion OPT applications can be filed up to 90 days before the proposed OPT start date if the student has completed a full academic year in F-1 status. If not, the student may only file the I-765 for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before the end of the full academic year. The application must be filed within 30 days of the date your international student adviser enters the OPT recommendation into SEVIS.

Travel Warnings: Traveling abroad between the time you submit your OPT application and the time you receive the USCIS receipt notice, or if your OPT has expired and you are waiting for a STEM extension EAD could result in the loss of OPT and denial of readmission to the U.S., (2) while on post-completion OPT or an extension, regulations allow you to re-enter the U.S. to resume employment, (3) if you will need to apply for an F-1 visa to return to the U.S. while on OPT, please note that this may be a high risk visa application and the chances of denial could be greater than normal.

OPT Termination: Your OPT authorization ends when you commence another degree program, change to another status, the expiration date of your EAD, if an extension request is denied, or if on H-1B cap-gap extension – if the H-1B petition is rejected.


CPT Vs. OPT Summary

Please log in to Terra Dotta to view step-by-step instructions for the application process and submit your Pre-Completion OPT request.