International Student Services Forms
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training is a temporary employment authorization, which allows F-1 students to engage in off-campus employment related to their field of study.
- Download more information on how to apply. Go to File/Save As in your browser to save the form to your desktop so that you may retain changes and email the form to others.
- Complete the OPT Request Form. Bring this form, your completed Form I-765, your check or money order, two passport-style photos, your letter from your academic advisor, and copies of your I-94 Form (front and back), passport identity pages, photo page, passport validity date pages, and renewal (if original has expired), passport visa page, all previous I-20 Forms, and if you have one, a previous Employment Authorization Card.
- United States Immigration and Citizenship Services Forms
Please read the instructions carefully before completing the form. Each OPT application eligibility code that could be inserted as the answer to Question 16 of this form is different. Answering this question correctly is critical.
An incorrect eligibility code will result in delay of your OPT application. Go to File/Save As in your browser to save the form to your desktop so that you may retain changes and email the form to others.
The new STEM OPT 24-Month Extension Final Rule will take effect on May 10, 2016.
This new 24-month rule will replace the previous 17-month STEM extension.
All students eligible for STEM whose employment authorization expires prior to May 9, 2016 will fall under the 17-month STEM extension rules, without exception.
It is important to note that an F-1 student who has a Form I-765 filed and approved prior to May 10, 2016, will be issued an EAD that is valid for 17 months, even if he or she erroneously requested a 24-month STEM OPT extension.
Students whose 17-month STEM OPT extension expires prior to May 10, 2016, or who have less than 150 days remaining on their 17-month STEM OPT extension EADs on the date that they are able to properly file their STEM OPT extension are ineligible to benefit from the 24-month STEM extension.
If a student’s 17-month STEM extension application is pending as of May 10, 2016, DHS will apply the requirements of the 24-month STEM extension to the pending application by doing the following:
- USCIS will issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to students whose applications are still pending as of May 10, 2016. The RFEs will allow students to effectively amend their application and demonstrate eligibility for a 24-month extension without having to pay an additional fee or refile the EAD application.
Students may not apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following the initial 12-month period of post-completion OPT. This means if you do not apply for a STEM extension prior to your current OPT expiration date, you become ineligible for STEM.
Additionally, the new rule will allow for two lifetime STEM OPT extensions instead of the current one STEM opportunity and it will allow non-STEM graduates the opportunity to participate in STEM OPT based on a prior STEM degree obtained in the past 10 years at an accredited college or university.
Along with these benefits, more stringent reporting and monitoring requirements will be put into place. It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to comply with all rules and regulations related to maintaining and reporting during your post-completion and STEM OPT periods. Failure to comply and report in timely manner may cause you to jeopardize your continued eligibility to participate in OPT.
Please visit the following Study in the States websites for additional information:
- To Determine Eligibility
- Transition Plan Overview
- Students with 17-month STEM OPT Applications Pending on May 10, 2016
- Student with Existing 17-month STEM OPT EADs on May 10, 2016
We understand that students may have additional questions regarding this updated rule. Please send an email to InternationalPrograms@utsa.edu and allow us 3 to 4 business days to provide additional information related to the STEM OPT 24-Month Extension Final Rule.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations specify that duration of status (D/S) and any post-completion OPT work authorization will be extended for an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition. Download this handout for more information on Cap-Gap extensions. Go to File/Save As in your browser to save the form to your desktop so that you may retain changes and email the form to others.