|Contact Information for Office of International Students and Scholars|
Fitzgerald Student Services Building
|Address||1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557-0074
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is intended to provide hands-on practical experience complementary to the academic program. Students on practical training are still considered to be F-1 students at the University of Nevada, Reno, even though they may be working elsewhere in the United States. A student does not need to have a specific job offer to make the application, but they do need a signature showing support from their academic advisor for the OPT. Students must have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before employment may legally begin.
Students may apply for OPT after being a full-time student for at least 1 academic year. You can apply for either Pre-Completion (part-time OPT, 20 hrs/week) before program completion or Post-Completion (full-time OPT), after program completion. Students are eligible for 12 months of OPT per higher education level. Using pre-completion OPT reduces time from post-completion OPT authorization. Regulations allow students graduating from STEM fields to apply for up 12 months of OPT and then apply for a 17 month extension totaling 29 months of OPT; the extension may only be used once. Non-stem majors have a total of 12 months full-time Optional Practical Training which can be utilized with flexibility. If training or employment will be longer than 12 months or 29 months for STEM majors, students should consider applying for a change of their status during the period of practical training.
Students are permitted 90 days of unemployment while on 12 month OPT. In order to show proof of your employment, OISS recommends you:
NOTE: Due to lengthy processing time at the USCIS, we advise that you apply for practical training up to 90 days before you need it. The earliest date that you may apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training is 90 days before program completion and the latest is 60 days after program completion. Students may not begin employment on OPT until the receive approval and the EAD card start date is effective.
Step 1: In order to apply for Optional Practical Training, you must first bring the following to the OISS:
Step 2: The OISS advisor will review your application and request OPT in SEVIS if the application is approved. You will then receive a new I-20 with the OPT request on page 3. The OISS advisor will arrange your packet for mailing.
Step 3: Make a copy of all the documents in the application packet before mailing.
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
* Filing fee and delivery addresses subject to change. Check the "Instructions for Form I-765" to verify the filing fee and delivery address.
Travel while application is pending: Students can travel while their OPT application is pending as long as they have a valid passport and visa stamp, receipt notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action), letter verifying employment from employer if you already have a job offer and a valid travel signature on the 3rd page of your I-20. Travel signatures on post-completion OPT are valid for 6 months and must be valid upon your return to the U.S.
Travel after application has been approved: Students can travel while on OPT as long as they have a valid passport and visa stamp, an EAD card, letter verifying employment from employer and a valid travel signature on the 3rd page of your I-20. Travel signatures on post-completion OPT are valid for 6 months and must be valid upon your return to the U.S.
Applying for a visa: Students who do NOT have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport may apply for a new F-1 visa to enter the U.S. You should take your EAD card, I-20 and letter of employment to the embassy or consulate. While there is no guarantee that your visa will be granted it is still possible. It is more difficult to apply for a new visa while your post-completion OPT application is pending.
If a student departs the U.S. and returns on a different immigration status such as a visitor (B) visa or a visa waiver (VWT), that student is NOT eligible for practical training as their status on the I-94 is no longer F-1; EVEN if the work permit is received after they return to the United States. A work permit is only valid with an I-94 that says "F-1" and "D/S".
If you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT), you should have received an official document, called a Form I-797C, Notice of Action (Receipt Notice). You may check the status of your application under Case Status using the Receipt Number (starts with WAC) on the receipt notice. You should receive the results of your application within 90 days of the Received Date listed on the receipt notice.