Pre-completion OPT is employment authorization prior to graduation. All OPT must be endorsed by Bechtel International Center and approved by USCIS. It takes 5-10 business days for Bechtel to endorse your OPT I-20 and 90 or more days for USCIS to adjudicate your application. If approved, USCIS says it can take up to 30 days to receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD); however, we find 5-10 business days to be more common. You must have your EAD before you can begin work.
Students must apply for post-completion OPT in order to work after graduation.
Pre-completion OPT can be authorized for part-time or full-time work.
Part-time Optional Practical Training (20 hrs. or less) is deducted from the available Optional Practical Training at one-half the full-time rate. The total amount of time of on and off campus work when school is in session should not exceed 20 hours a week.
Full-time work authorization is only permissible during official school breaks and vacation/summer quarter. Full-time pre-completion OPT for summer quarter can be endorsed to begin as early as a day after the final exam date of spring quarter and no later than a day before the start date of fall quarter.
Students on fellowship may be restricted in participation in pre-completion OPT. Please consult with your department.
Students on a 50% RA/TA ship are considered to be working 20 hours a week and are ineligible for pre-completion OPT during the academic year.
PhD students who have completed their coursework except for thesis (TGR) are eligible for full-time employment under pre-completion OPT during the academic term but are required to enroll in course 801/802. PhD students should also check with departmental policy before applying for pre-completion OPT.
The new USCIS fee due to go into effect on Oct 2, 2020 has been put on hold. For now, please continue to pay the fee of $410.
USCIS will accept applications as early as 90 days prior to the proposed start date of employment providing you have completed one full academic year. A first-year student may apply up to 90 days before she/he completes a full academic year.