Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Apply in the final quarter of the Program of Study

  • OPT is simply authorization or permission to work in the USA
  • You do not have to have a job to apply for work authorization (OPT)
  • Be in good academic standing at CPP and have completed the GWT
  • Have not used OPT at the same educational level
  • Attend an OPT workshop
  • Type the I-765 and the G-1145 forms (hand written forms may cause errors)
  • After completing all the steps below, contact the International Center at 909-869-3267 or e-mail at international@cpp.edu and schedule an appointment for OPT

Step 1 - Start Date

To apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), students must indicate the date they want the work authorization to begin. Here’s how to determine when to begin work authorization:

  • Program End Date (graduation): students have 60 days after the last day of the last quarter to begin work authorization (OPT). Decide if you want to start working sometime between day 1 and day 60 after program end date.
  • 90 Day Processing: The application takes 90 days to process by USCIS.
  • Count back 90 days from the date you choose as a start date for when to apply.

The question becomes, do you want to go to work immediately after graduation? Then choose an early start date. Or do you want more time before you start work? Choose a late start date. Whichever date you chose, count back 90 days for when to apply. This gives USCIS enough time to process the application before your start date.

When you call to schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor, you must tell the person scheduling the appointment the date you want the OPT to begin.

Step 2 - Items for OPT Application

Bring the following items to the OPT appointment:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if in an old passport)
  • If applicable, your CPT I-20
  • If applicable, your previous EAD card
  • I-94 (electronic)
    • If you recently traveled, you can access it by downloading it here
  • Check for $380 made to the Dept. of Homeland Security
  • Two new passport photos -- the photos must be within the past 30 days with a white background
  • A typed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • Signature Card (signed with black ink)
  • A typed Form G-1145 (E-Notification)
  • I-20 with work authorization dates (Must make this request 48 hours before meeting with Advisor)

All of these items except the I-20 must be brought to the OPT appointment . Instructions for each one to follow.

Step 3 - Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

For the I-765 Application Form: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf


  • Check Permission to accept employment
  • Answer questions #1-16
    • #10 Requires 11 digit number from I-94 card
    • #11 If the student has never worked on OPT in the past, skip to number 12. If yes, fill out all the fields under #11
    • #16 Type (C) (3) (B)

    • #16
    • #17 is for students applying for STEM Extension only -- leave blank
  • Under Certification:
    Sign, telephone number, date
  • Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be processed and will result in the delay of your OPT application.
  • Your documents will be reviewed by the International Center to ensure accuracy

Step 4 - Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application Acceptance

For the Form G-1145: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-1145.pdf

  • Type this form and download. USCIS sends an e-mail or text verifying that your application has arrived.
  • Complete the form and place it on top of all the application.

Step 5 - Signature Card

  • Attached Signature Card PDF
  • Download the form. Sign your name inside the small box.
  • The signature must be completely inside the lines of the box. Failure to do so may result in the delay of your application.

Step 6 - Passport Photos

  • Passport photos must be taken within the past 30 days.
  • Two glossy color photos taken on a white background.
  • The photos should be passport style showing a full frontal view of your face.
  • The photos must be no larger than 2x2 inches, with the distance from the top of the head to just below the chin about 1 1/4 inches.
  • Lightly print your name and the I-94 number on the back of each photo in pencil not ink pen.
  • Place the photos in a small clear sandwich or snack bag.

Step 7 - OPT Application Fee

  • Only check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order are acceptable. NO CASH
  • Make a check payable to: US Dept of Homeland Security
  • The amount is $380

Step 8 - Make an Appointment with an Advisor

  • Contact the Front Desk of the International Center to schedule an appointment with an Advisor. Come in personally, email at international@cpp.edu or call 909-869-3267.

Step 9 - New I-20

  • At the OPT session, the International Center will issue an I-20 requesting the OPT start and end dates. The I-20 must be requested at least 48 hours before meeting with an Advisor.
  • All documents will be copied and specific instructions provide for mailing the packet at USPS are given.

Step 10 - Stay in Touch

  • Students are required to report employment, changes in employment and changes to personal addresses within 10 days. This can be done via e-mail. When employment begins, e-mail Kelly McCullen at klmccullen@cpp.edu or the International Center e-mail at international@cpp.edu with the following:

Step 11 - Enjoy!

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