12-month OPT

IMPORTANT: Effective August 29, 2011, a one-time administrative fee of $200 will be charged to students who apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please make the check out to “University of Bridgeport”.
This must be paid at the time of OPT processing.

PLEASE NOTE: For REGULAR 12-Month OPT Applicants, you MUST have your documents checked by ISS before your OPT appointment.

For students looking to apply for OPT, they must have their documents reviewed.

This semester, the review times are as follows:
Mondays/Thursdays: 1-4pm
Fridays: 9-12pm

**You will not be seen for your appointment without having your documents checked prior**

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Optional Practical Training is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in your current major field of study for a maximum of one year, per higher degree level (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate), during your F-1 status.  The purpose is to “round off” or complement your academic work.


  • You must have been lawfully enrolled for at least one full academic year and are maintaining valid F-1 status
  • Must submit your application in a timely fashion (see next section)
  • Students enrolled in English language training programs are not eligible for practical training
  • Undergraduate student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and a graduate student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • You don’t need a job to apply for OPT. Once you get a job, the work must be directly related to your current major field of study. The work may occur anywhere in the United States

Application Deadline

  • You can apply 90 days PRIOR to but no later than 60 days AFTER your program end date (Your application must be RECEIVED by immigration before you reach the 60-day grace period)
  • USCIS must receive your OPT application within 30 days after the OPT I-20 is issued

OPT Start and End Date

  • You can choose any date after your program end date but before the end date of your 60-day grace period
  • You must complete your OPT within a 14-month period following your program end date
  • Samples (these samples are given based on May 7, 2011 as an program end date):

05/08/2011 – 05/07/2012
07/05/2011 – 07/04/2012

  • If you are currently on CPT and wish to continue working with no interruptions, you should (1) request a start date immediately following your program end date and apply for OP early
  • Remember normal processing time of OPT applications is 90 days. Apply early!!!


  • Passport must be valid and must have a validity period of at least 6 months prior to filing for OPT
  • If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, please apply at your consulate for a renewal before applying for OPT

Checklist for 12-month OPT:

Bring to the International Student Services located on the Garden level of the Wahlstrom Library, G133:

  • Approved form from ISS stating that my documents have been reviewed before scheduled appointment
  • Form I-765, complete fully and sign in BLUE ink (original + copy) | Sample I-765 Form (PDF)
  • Copy all previous EADs
  • Two passport style color photos with your name, date of birth and SEVIS ID printed in a pencil on the back; See examples here
  • $200 administrative fee, make a check or money order payable to “University of Bridgeport”
  • $380 filing fee, make a check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”.  Date on check must be current!! (check + copy) | Check Sample (PDF)
  • Copy of ALL I-20 forms (page 1 and 3)
  • Copy of I-94 card (front and back) if you have a paper I-94 card. Stamp must be clearly legible. Electronic I-94 is available here.
  • Copy of passport: information page with expiration date and stamp of first entry into the US in F status
  • Copy of F-1 visa
  • Copy of form I-797 (approval notice for change of status) if you had a change of status to F-1
  • Academic Advisor Recommendation Form for 12 Month OPT
  • Signed Student Statement (original + copy)
  • Complete form I-538 | I-538 Sample Form (PDF)


  • You have filed for graduation
  • Zero balance with the University Bursar
  • No “holds” on your student account
  • Must apply in person