OPT allows students to use their academic

The People to See About Your OPT
1 What is Optional Practical Training?
Eligibility Requirements and Deadlines
2 Frequently Asked Questions
Complete Instructions for Preparing to Apply
3 The OPT Application Process Step-by-Step
About OPT
Information for F-1 Students
Provided by Clarke University
OPT offers excellent investment to foreign students
Optional Practical Training (OPT) gives students the chance to apply classroom theory
OPT allows students to use their academic
training in a professional environment,
making students more employable when they
return to their home countries.
Eligibility: F-1 status
F-1 students in legal immigration
status, enrolled full-time in a degree
program for at least one academic year (9
months) are eligible to apply for OPT.
Employment must be directly related
to your studies and must be
commensurate with your educational
level. As an F-1 student, at each
educational level, you are eligible for a
maximum of 12 months of optional
practical training, which may be
completed pre- or post-completion of
your degree requirements. You may work
during summer vacation (full-time or
part-time), during the academic year
(part-time only), or after completion of
your degree program (full-time only).
Applying for OPT can be a lengthy
process. We recommend that you begin
your job search before making your
application to CIS (Citizenship and
Immigration Service). There is no
deadline for applying for pre-completion
OPT, but you must have your CIS
approval before beginning a job. For,
post-completion OPT, CIS must receive
your application before you complete
your degree.
The Application Process
When you have decided to apply for
Optional Practical Training, you should
begin your process with a visit to Career
Services. They will assist you in exploring
your employment options and prepare
you to begin your job search.
Copyworks charges $12.95 for a set of
suitable pictures.
Make an appointment with the
student life office to complete the
necessary paperwork to be forwarded to
the CIS.
Your Appointment
To apply for OPT, you will need to
submit the following materials during
your meeting with student life.
Consult Career Services and your
academic advisor to insure that your
desired job fields are appropriately related
to your studies.
Academic Advisor’s
Recommendation Letter
Social Security Card
Form I-20
Form I-94
Two color photos made according to
CIS specifications.
$120 fee. Make your check or money
order payable to the “CIS” or
Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Request a letter of recommendation
from your advisor certifying that you are
pursuing work commensurate with your
educational level and directly related to
your field of study. Your advisor can
follow a form letter provided by the
student life office.
Have the appropriate photos taken,
according to CIS rules, for your EAD
(Employment Authorization Card).
Questions & Answers
What about…?
plan to travel abroad must
A: who
have the following documents in
Do students need to have a
job secured before they apply
for optional practical training?
No. You do not need to have a
job offer in order to apply for
practical training. However, we
recommend that you use your pregraduation time to search for a job. You
are eligible to work for exactly one year, if
you receive your EAD before you have
found a job, you may lose some time
while you are not employed.
How long after application
will a student receive the
A: days, though it has taken less
Notification may take up to 90
time in the past..
employers while on practical
Yes. Provided that the new job is
appropriately related to your
studies, you may change
employers after you have begun
authorized employment.
Can students travel abroad
while on practical training?
Yes. Students involved in OPT,
order to re-enter the United States: (1)
their valid EAD; (2) a valid passport; (3)
a valid F-1 visa; (4) a Form I-20 endorsed on the back within the last six
months - for travel. Also, it is strongly
recommended that students carry with
them a letter from you employer
verifying your employment.
How can a student be certain
that a potential job is
appropriately related to their major
field of study?
We recommend that every
student interested in OPT talk
with their academic advisor and
Career Services, x6302, about their
potential job choices.
What is
student life?
Student Life Office
Clarke University
1550 Clarke Drive, MS# 1707
Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Everything you should know about OPT!
involved in the
The student life meeting takes
approximately an hour, in which
all needed documents are
photocopied and compiled, and the
student completes the necessary
paperwork for the application to CIS.
When may a student work
under OPT status?
A student may split her 12
months of OPT between preand post-completion training.
Each additional level of education carries
another 12 months period of OPT.
What is Curricular Practical
of internship, alternate
A: type
Curricular practical training is any
education or practicum required for the
completion of an educational institution’s
established curriculum.
The student life office is located in the
Student Life Wing of Mary Frances Hall.
Call (563) 588-6313 with questions or to
make an appointment