Eligibility and FAQs

• Must be in active F-1 status for two consecutive semesters preceding the start date of OPT
• Must be physically present in the United States and in active F-1 status at the time of application
• A job offer is not required to apply for OPT but all employment undertaken while on OPT must be directly related to your field of study

OPT FAQs

How much OPT time can I apply for?
You are allowed a total of 12 months of full-time OPT per degree level.

I don’t have a job yet. Can I still apply for OPT?
A job offer is not required to apply for OPT but all employment undertaken while on OPT must be directly related to your field of study.

How much does it cost to apply for OPT?
Pre-Completion OPT: $410 application fee to USCIS
Post-Completion OPT: $150 to Harvard University and $410 application fee to USCIS. Total cost of $560.

I want to use OPT time before completing my degree. When can I apply?
You may apply for periods of Pre-Completion OPT during school terms and summer vacation. You may apply for part-time (20 hours or less a week) Pre-Completion OPT while school is in session and full-time pre-completion OPT during annual summer vacation periods.

I’m graduating and will be applying for Post-Completion OPT. If I have used Pre-Completion OPT during my studies, how do I know how much OPT time I have remaining?
Any periods of OPT used before completion of studies will be deducted from the total twelve-month period available.  Example: Full-time employment for two months during a summer vacation would leave a student with only ten months of OPT available after graduation. Your HIO advisor can assist in determining how much remaining OPT time you have available.

I graduated and left the United States. Am I still eligible to apply for Post-Completion OPT?
If you depart the U.S. upon graduation without applying for OPT, you will lose your OPT eligibility.

My family is here on F-2 visas, is there anything additional I need to do for them?
Your dependents will receive updated I-20s from the HIO to reflect your requested OPT employment dates. There is no additional cost or paperwork needed for the OPT application if you have dependents.

Will I be eligible for OPT again if I begin another degree program in the U.S?
Students may become eligible for another twelve months of OPT when they change to a higher educational level. However, simply beginning another degree program does not automatically confer this eligibility.