It typically takes about 3 months for OPT to be approved, so we recommend starting the process early.
Step 1: Attend an OPT Session.
- Bring an OPT application packet (paper or electronic).
- View the Spring 2019 OPT Slides (pdf).
- Not currently in Williamsburg? Contact [[zkwilliams, Zabrina Williams]] for options.
All sessions are held in the
JanuaryFriday, January 25, 3-4pm (Reves Room, 1st floor Reves Room)
"Intro to H1-B" - Friday, January 25, 4-5pm (Reves Room, 1st floor Reves Room)
Tuesday, January 29, 11am-12pm
Monday, February 4, 2-3pm
Wednesday, February 13, 3-4pm
"Intro to H1-B" - Wednesday, February 13, 4-5pm
Monday, February 18, 11am-12pm
Friday, February 22, 10-11am
Thursday, February 28, 12-1pm
MarchThursday, March 14, 9-10am
Tuesday, March 19, 1-2pm
Wednesday, March 27, 2-3pm
AprilTuesday, April 2, 2-3pm
Thursday, April 11, 3-4pm
- Access the form via iStart.
- Log into iStart with your W&M ID and password (click on blue login button).
- Expand the F-1 Practical Training menu on the left.
- Click on Optional Practical Training Application. Complete required fields and submit.
Step 3: Make an OPT appointment with a
- Call the
RevesCenter (757-221-3590) for an appointment. Do not schedule by email.
- Before your appointment, you must complete all forms, collect I-20s, make photocopies, and obtain photos. Bring all items listed on the OPT packet checklist (page 1).
- We recommend downloading the OPT forms, and saving a copy of your completed OPT forms, so you can make edits following your appointment if needed. In most cases, the fillable form will only work with the most updated version of Adobe Reader. If you complete the forms in a browser prior to downloading, you will most likely be unable to save your responses.
- At your appointment, your advisor will review your application, and issue a new OPT I-20.
Step 4: Mail your OPT materials.
- Following your appointment, you will mail your application to USCIS (Immigration).
- Your OPT application must arrive at USCIS within 30 days of when we issued your OPT I-20 (60 days if you're applying for a STEM extension). If it arrives late, it may be denied. Worried about timing? Talk with your international advisor.
- About 2-3 weeks after USCIS receives your application, they will mail you a Receipt Notice. On the Receipt
Noticethere is a Receipt Number (like a tracking number for your application/case). With it, you can check your case status online.
Step 5: Your card arrives and you may start working.
- Your card will typically arrive about 3 months after you receive the Receipt Notice.
- You may begin working when you receive the card and reach the start date on the card.