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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 are required to attend an OPT Session if you are interested in working part-time off-campus during the Spring or Fall semesters, or working full-time after graduating at the end of the semester/term.

OPT Workshops

Sign-ups for the session will begin at least 1 week prior to session date. During OPT workshops, you will learn more about the rules regarding Pre-Completion and Post-Completion OPT and receive an OPT application packet. F1 students who have attended workshops and still have questions before submitting their applications are encouraged to meet with an International Student Advisor during advising hours.

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 sessions and not delay applying for OPT.

Pre-Completion OPT Off-campus work permit for F1 students interested in working off-campus BEFORE graduation where employment is related to their field of study or major.
Post-Completion OPT Off-campus work permit for F1 students interested in working in the United States AFTER graduation where employment is related to their field of study or major.
OPT Appointment After attending the OPT Workshop, you can submit your OPT Application Packet and request an OPT Appointment with an International Student Advisor.

Upcoming OPT Workshops:

Tuesday, March 17 1:00pm-2:30pm UH-242
Friday, April 10 2:00pm-3:30pm UH-250
Friday, April 24 1:00pm-2:30pm UH-335

Sign-up for OPT Sessions

OPT Sessions will be open for sign-up one week prior to session date. Priority is given to students who are graduating and who sign up.

Note: Attendance in an OPT workshop is required before submitting yout OPT Application Packet to International Programs.

Upcoming "H1B & Options After OPT" Workshops:

Date Time Location
Friday, March 20 1:00pm-3:00pm UH-252

Sign-up for H1B Workshop Sessions

"H1B & Options After OPT" Workshop Sessions will be open for sign-up one week prior to session date. Priority is given to students who are graduating and 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 — February 2015

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