ECS does not process OPT or CPT. Please contact International Student and Scholar Services for F-1 work authorization application.
What is OPT?
F-1 post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows F-1 students to be employed in the United States after completion of studies. However, OPT applicants are only allowed a total of 90 days unemployment during their initial 12-month OPT period.
International Student and Scholars Services (ISSS) holds workshops and provides individual advising about F-1 work authorization.
OPT Application Process Simplified
- Plan your date to start application via ISSS. You may apply up to 90 days before your program end date but no later than 60 days after your program end date.
- No Job Offer Letter needed from your employer to start the OPT application.
- Submit an OPT I-20 request e-form through iSTART.
- Submit your application to USCIS after receiving OPT I-20.
- Report your employment to ISSS after you are officially employed.
Important Things to Keep in Mind in Your Job Search
No Job Offer Needed
You do not need to wait until you have a job offer to apply. Follow the suggested timeline from ISSS to apply before you are too late!
Relevance to Your Study
Your job is required to be relevant to your field of study. Make sure you are applying to jobs with relevant knowledge and skills.
Strategies to Maximize your Chance
International Friendly Company List
Learn about companies and organizations that have hired Engineering Illinois international students on the OPT.
General Recruiting Tips
Get advice on how to communicate with employers about your status and discover your strengths as internationals.