OPT Workshops & Application
Post-Completion OPT is a benefit for students with F-1 status. It allows for up to 12 months of full-time employment in your major field of study after program completion.
Application requirements, general information, and processing times are always changing. Do not rely on your friends’ advice or old information.
The best advice is accurate advice! Ask ISS all of your questions at an OPT workshop.
To apply for OPT, you must have an OPT recommendation I-20. Your application will be denied by USCIS if you submit an incorrect I-20.
You can request your OPT recommendation I-20 via https://iss.uwb.edu/.
How to apply?
- Request your OPT recommendation I-20 at https://iss.uwb.edu/
- Submit your I-765 application online at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 – Must be submitted within 30 days of your OPT Recommendation I-20 Issue Date!
Looking for information about the STEM OPT Extension? Click here for more information.
- The I-765 requires that you upload a US passport size photo. Please use this tool to ensure your photo is correct: https://tsg.phototool.state.gov/photo
Requirements During OPT
It is the student’s responsibility to know, understand, and follow the rules and regulations about OPT work authorization, as provided by USCIS. Additional information about the rules is provided by Study in the States.
The basic requirements for you to remember are:
- Your employment must be related to your major/degree.
- Your employment must be at least 20 hours/week.
- You should not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment during your work authorization period. Once you accumulate 91 days of unemployment, SEVP may automatically terminate your SEVIS record.
- You must report to SEVP: 1) where you are working and any changes to your employment, and 2) where you are living and any changes to your U.S. address.
- SEVP will send an email to create an online portal for you to report you employment. If you do not receive this email on the start date of your OPT, please contact ISS for help (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reporting your OPT Employment & U.S. Address
It is critical that you report where you are working & living in the U.S., and any time there is a change in your employment or contact information (such as home address, phone number or email). There are two ways that you can report your employment:
Update your UW email forwarding
Update your forwarding settings here. It is vitally important you triple check your forwarding email address so you receive your portal account emails.
SEVP Portal Account
After you receive your EAD, you need to create an online SEVP Portal Account. Using this account, you can add/edit information about your employment and U.S. address.
You will receive an email from SEVP on your OPT start date to set up the account. The email will come from do-not-reply.SEVP@ice.dhs.gov (check your spam or junk inbox). The email will provide a unique link to help you create your account. You must activate your account within 30 days of receiving the email.
Resources for setting up your SEVP Portal Account:
- Didn’t receive the email from SEVP, or your access link expired? If you did not received the email on your OPT start date, let ISS know by contacting us at email@example.com with a photo of your EAD. We will check your SEVIS record and get back to you with next steps.
- Videos about setting up your SEVP Portal Account
- Step-by-Step directions for setting up your SEVP Portal Account
Where is my EAD (Employment Authorization Document)?
After you submit your online application, USCIS will send you a notice of receipt document, called Form I-797. The notification will include a receipt number. You can track your application using the receipt number at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus.
Don’t worry, your application will remain in “Your Application was Received” status for as long as they take to approve it. If your application is approved, the status will be updated to a message about your EAD being issued and mailed.
If you move while your OPT application is processing, you MUST inform USCIS with your new address. You can change your address using the USCIS account you created for the OPT application.
If your application is approved, you will receive your EAD in the mail. The EAD is a card (similar to a driver’s license). You cannot begin employment until your application is approved, you received your EAD, and you reach the OPT start date.
For any issues regarding your EAD (Bad spelling, incorrect dates, mailing issues), you can use this page to contact USCIS. Please contact ISS first before taking any action.
Career Services Available to Alumni
For up to two years after you graduate, students can utilize the resources and services from UW Bothell’s Career Center.
Find Companies that Hire International Students
The GoinGlobal database can be used to help international students find jobs and internships. Use your UW NETID to login.
Myvisajobs.com can provide information about what U.S. companies have sponsored H-1B work visas in the past.
Tips for Interviewing in the U.S.
Do I have to tell them that I am an international student? What questions will an employer ask me? We encourage you to our helpful Interview Tips handout, and also review Career Center’s helpful Legal & Illegal Interview Questions resource to understand your rights on what information you do and don’t need to provide a prospective employer.
UW Bothell Int’l Student Alumni on LinkedIn
Students are working in various fields with companies either locally, or across the U.S.! Also, you definitely need to join ISS’s special UWB International Student LinkedIn Group to connect with other international student alum who are working, and to help with your job search.
Notable companies where students are doing OPT:
Hanlin Moss Yi