OPT Frequently Asked Questions

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					OPT         Frequently Asked Questions
1) What happens to my application after I apply? How long will it take?
After you apply, send your application to the Nebraska Service Center. You will receive a Notice of Action in the mail, which
confirms that your application was received and tells you how long it will take to process. Processing times vary. The Notice of
Action has an LIN number on it that will allow you to track the status of your application online at (If you do not receive a Notice of Action, the LIN number can be found on the back of your
check after it has been cashed.) You can also track the Nebraska Service Center processing times for I-765 applications at this same
website. If you cannot check your application status online or if you have not received a Notice of Action after 30 days, contact
International Student Services. Once your application is processed, the Employment Authorization Card will be sent to International
Student Services. You will be contacted by e-mail when any correspondence arrives.

2) What can I do if I applied for OPT more than 60 days ago, but still haven’t received my EAD?
Students who have applied for OPT need to contact the International Student Services office if at least 60 days have passed since the
received date listed on your Notice of Action. We will take steps to get your card processed as soon as possible.

3) I found a job and my employer wants me to start working immediately. Can I work even if I do not
have the EAD?
*NO! It is illegal to work on OPT without having an EAD! Illegal employment immediately terminates all privileges of F-1 status,
including employment authorization. DO NOT work without an EAD. Students are also reminded that they cannot work outside the
dates of validity indicated on their EAD. If you receive your EAD early, you still cannot work until the start date on the EAD.

4) Can I travel before I receive my EAD?
While waiting for your EAD, it is recommended that you do not travel outside of the US if you have completed studies. This may be
considered an abandonment of your OPT application. Once you’ve received the EAD card, you may travel outside of the US if you
have the following:

    •    SEVIS I-20 signed for travel by International Student Services
    •    Valid passport and F1 entry visa
    •    EAD card
    •    RECOMMENDED: a letter from your employer acknowledging your travel; or a job offer letter; or documented proof of
         your job search.

5) Canceling OPT:
To withdraw an OPT application, the request needs to be received by USCIS before the OPT begins. Contact International Student
Services immediately if you are considering cancellation.

6) Are there any special guidelines I must follow while I’m on OPT?
YES! You are required by law to report the following to International Student Services throughout the authorized period of OPT:
    • Change of address
    • Change of name
    • Employer name and address/location OR change of employer
    • Interruption of employment (i.e., beginning a new degree program, change of visa status)

7) Can I be unemployed while on OPT?
Yes, but on a limited basis. In order to maintain your F1 status, you must not be unemployed for more than 90 days (total) while on

8) My OPT will expire while I am waiting on my H1B work visa. What should I do?
New USCIS regulations permit you to continue working after your OPT work authorization expires ONLY IF your employer has
already timely filed an H1B petition for you. The petition must be either pending or approved with USCIS. If so, you may continue
working until your H1B visa begins (October 1). If your pending H1B visa is denied, your employment authorization is terminated on
that date. You have 60 days to make arrangements, change status, or leave the country.

9) I have heard of a 17 month OPT extension. Do I qualify? You must hold a “STEM” degree (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Mathematics). Your university major (left column) and your I-20 major (right column) must match:

    University major:                                                   Your I-20 says:

                                                                                                                       Created 03/09/2010
    1)    Applied Statistics                                            Statistics, General
    2)    Biological Sciences                                           Biology, Biological Sciences, General
    3)    Biomedical Engineering                                        Biomedical/Medical Engineering
    4)    Biomedical Science                                            Biomedical Sciences, General, (NEW)
    5)    Biostatistics                                                 Biostatistics
    6)    Chemical Engineering                                          Chemical Engineering
    7)    Chemistry                                                     Chemistry, General
    8)    Civil Engineering                                             Civil Engineering, General
    9)    Chemical Engineering                                          Chemical Engineering
    10)   Computer Engineering                                          Computer Engineering, General
    11)   Computer Information Systems                                  Computer and Information Sciences, General
    12)   Computer Science                                              Computer and Information Sciences, General
    13)   Computer Science and Engineering                              Computer Engineering, General
    14)   Computational Mathematics                                     Computational Mathematics (NEW)
    15)   Earth and Environmental Resources Management                  Geology/Earth Science, General
    16)   Earth Sciences                                                Geology/Earth Science, General
    17)   Electrical Engineering                                        Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
    18)   Engineering, General                                          Engineering, General
    19)   Engineering Technology Management                             Engineering/Industrial Management
    20)   Epidemiology                                                  Epidemiology
    21)   Genetic Counseling                                            Human/Medical Genetics
    22)   Geology                                                       Geology/Earth Science, General
    23)   Geophysics                                                    Geophysics and Seismology
    24)   Industrial Mathematics                                        Applied Mathematics
    25)   Industrial Statistics                                         Applied Mathematics
    26)   Information Assurance & Security                              Computer Information Systems Security
    27)   Information Management and Systems                            Computer and Information Sciences, General
    28)   Information Science                                           Information Science/Studies
    29)   Lower Division Engineering                                    Engineering, General
    30)   Marine Science                                                Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
    31)   Mathematics                                                   Mathematics, General
    32)   Mathematics and Computer Science                              Applied Mathematics
    33)   Mechanical Engineering                                        Mechanical Engineering
    34)   Nuclear Engineering                                           Nuclear Engineering
    35)   Physics                                                       Physics, General
    36)   Software Engineering                                          Computer Software Engineering (NEW)
    37)   Statistics                                                    Statistics, General

Also, you must meet the following qualifications:
    • You must be currently participating in a 12-month period of OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to
        your major area of study.
    •     You must have a job offer/be currently working for an employer registered with the E-Verify employment verification
    •     You must agree to report to International Student Services the following within 10 days:
          o legal name
          o residential or mailing address
          o employer name
          o employer address, and/or
          o loss of employment

    •     You must apply for the extension with an International Student Advisor, and the application will be mailed to USCIS. It
          requires the I-765 form and the $340 filing fee to process.

    •     Your employer must agree to report your termination or departure to International Student Services. An employer must
          consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left employment, or if the student has not
          reported for work for a period of 5 consecutive business days without the employer's consent.

Any additional questions should be emailed to An advisor will respond as quickly as

                                                                                                                         Created 03/09/2010