Frequently Asked Questions
If you travel outside of the U.S. after your F-1 visa is expired during your post-completion or STEM OPT period, you will need to renew your visa before returning. Please note, you are still on F-1 student status while on OPT/STEM OPT, even though you have graduated. Refer to the Renewing Your U.S. Visa page for detailed information about the documents you need to prepare.
We recommend bringing the following documents when appearing for your visa renewal appointment:
We recommend checking the website of your local US Embassy or Consulate to see if they have the additional required documentation for visa renewal.
Please note, F-1 visa applicants must demonstrate nonimmigrant intent, even while on OPT. Be prepared to answer questions about your plans to return home following the completion of your practical training.
If filing online, make sure:
If filing by mail, make sure:
The Form-1765 states you must file Form I-765 while in the United States.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has their own set of instructions on completing the I-765 form for Employment Authorization for F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training. You can find the I-765 supplemental instructions on the ISSO website.
Students on post-completion OPT may have up to 90 days of unemployment. The 90 days start counting from your approved OPT/EAD start date (not the recommended start date nor the program end date on your I-20) and are cumulative. Please see the unemployment counter from the Study in the States website.
You may submit your STEM OPT application up to 90 days before your current OPT employment authorization expires, and within 60 days of the date your designated school official (DSO) issues the STEM OPT I-20. Please apply for the STEM OPT I-20 in your ISSO portal.
The current government guidance does not prohibit students on OPT from working remotely. However, your ability to work from abroad will also be based on the discretion of both your employer as well as local employment regulations and requirements. You will need to communicate directly with your employer to determine whether or not working on OPT is an option. If you do plan to travel back to the U.S., please make sure that you have all the required travel documents.
Please notify the ISSO of your planned departure in the ISSO portal by submitting an OPT Discontinuation Request. It is important that you retain all I-20s, your EAD card, social security number, and all immigration documents indefinitely.