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California State University, Fullerton

Optional Practical Training For F-1 Students Only

Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization is granted by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services upon receipt and review of applications filed by the student and recommendation made by the International Student Advisor.

You must attend an OPT Session if you are interested in working part-time off-campus during the Spring or Fall semesters, or if you are graduating at the end of the semester.

OPT Session

During OPT Part 1 Session, you will learn more about the rules regarding OPT and receive an OPT application packet. Students who are considering pre-graduation OPT or post-graduation OPT must attend one OPT Part 1 session. The OPT processing time at the California Service Center will take about 90 days to process and approve OPT applications. It is, therefore, in your best interest to sign up for any of the earlier Part 1 sessions and not delay applying for OPT.

OPT Session Part 1 All OPT Part 1 Session will be held at UH–242. Sign-ups for the session will begin at least 2 weeks prior to session date.
OPT Session Part 2 You can request an appointment for Part 2 only AFTER you have attended Part 1 and have submitted a complete OPT Request Packet to the International Programs Office in person.

Upcoming OPT Part 1 session:

Date Time Location
Tuesday, February 25 10:30am-12pm UH-244
Friday, February 28 9:00-10:30am UH-244
Wednesday, March 5 10:30am-12pm UH-244
Friday, March 7 2:00-4:00pm UH-244
Tuesday, March 18 2:30-4:00pm UH-244
Friday, March 28 1:00-3:00pm UH-244
Friday, April 11 2:30-4:00pm UH-244
Friday, April 25 1:00-2:30pm UH-244
Tuesday, April 29 10:30am-12pm UH-244
Friday, May 9 1:00-2:30pm UH-244
Wednesday, May 21 1:00-2:30pm UH-244
Friday, June 6 1:00-2:30pm UH-244
Friday, June 20 1:00-2:30pm UH-244
Friday, July 18 10:00-11:30am UH-244

Sign-up for OPT Part 1

OPT Part 1 Session will be open for sign-up two weeks prior to session date. Priority is given to students who sign up.

OPT Extensions for Students in STEM Majors

Some F-1 students who are on approved post-completion OPT may apply for an extension of their OPT for an extra 17 months if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

    1. Completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM field (you may contact an International Programs - International Student Advisor to confirm if your degree is included in the OPT Extension STEM majors' list).
    2. Have a job or job offer from an employer enrolled in the E-Verify program.
    3. Current approved OPT has not yet expired.
    4. Has a current, valid (unexpired) passport (not visa).

Applying for OPT STEM Extension:

    1. When to apply: 120 days before OPT End Date (not earlier than this time)
    2. Prepare all items on the Checklist for OPT STEM Extension Application. Please refer to Sample of Completed Form I765.
    3. Submit your completed Form I-765 & OPT STEM Extension Request Form via email to (subject: CWID - OPT STEM App) or fax to 657-278-7292. Please do not mail documents to our office. No appointment necessary. However, if you would like to speak with an International Student Advisor, please call our office at 657-278-2787 to schedule a phone appointment.
    4. What happens after we receive your Documents:
      A representative from CSUF International Programs will acknowledge receipt of your documents. Once the OPT STEM Extension I-20 is ready, you will be notified via your CSUF email. Estimated Processing Timeframe: Please expect 7 to 10 business days from receipt to receive your OPT STEM Extension I-20.
    5. After receiving your OPT STEM I-20, please assemble your OPT STEM Application Packet and mail your packet to the appropriate USCIS Service Center address (see checklist for appropriate mailing address).
    6. What happens after your mail your OPT STEM packet to USCIS:
      Please read "What Happens After the OPT STEM Extension is Mailed"

Cap-Gap Extensions

The cap-gap extension is a period in which an eligible F-1 student can request an extension to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and the start of H-1B status. This extension can extend the student's OPT work authorization and/or stay in the U.S., depending on when the H-1B petition was filed. The cap-gap extension is reflected on the I-20.

In order to request an extension of OPT work authorization and extend stay in U.S., F-1 students must:

    1. Have a valid OPT
    2. Have an H-1B receipt (show that the H-1B petition has been filed)
    3. Be eligible to start work October 1st

In order to request to extend stay in the U.S., F-1 students must:

    1. Be within the 60 Day Grace Period after OPT has ended
    2. Have an H1-B receipt
    3. Be eligible to start work October 1st

Application for Cap Gap Extensions

If you wish to request the Cap-Gap Extension please contact the International Programs Office for an appointment with an advisor. Before the appointment, please submit via fax copies of the following documents:

  • Copy of current OPT EAD
  • Copy of Notice Receipt (evidence of H1B petition filed)

Contact Information: +1 (657) 278-2787 +1 (657) 278-7292

Revised — May 2014

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