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<p> Contact Us</p>

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30a.m.-4:00p.m.

Location: 2nd floor (206B) of the Resource Center Building (433 Bolivar Street).

Contact Us

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(504) 568-4802

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The content on these pages is designed for use by LSUHSC-New Orleans sponsored students, exchange visitors and employees. It is not intended to constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for legal counsel



Post Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

F-1 Students may be eligible for an initial 12 month period of work authorization by receiving OPT following completion of their course of study. (This includes graduate students who have completed all formal coursework and are working on a thesis/dissertation.)

The following F-1 students are NOT eligible for post completion OPT:

  • Students who have been enrolled for less than one academic year (Fall and Spring semester, can include time spent in a different status which also permits full time study)

  • Students who have received 12 months of Full Time Pre-Completion OPT during their course of study at the same educational level (including a degree from a different institution.)

  • Students who have received 12 months of Post Completion OPT at the same educational level (including degree from a different institution)

  • Students who have used 12 months of full time CPT during their course of study

A job offer is NOT required to apply for Post completion OPT.

Post Completion OPT Time Limits/Application Timing

  • F-1 Students are encouraged to apply for Post Completion OPT during their last semester.

  • Applications may be submitted up to 90 days prior to the graduation/completion date listed on the student's I-20, but no later than the end of the 60 day grace period.

    • The I-765 Application must be submitted to USCIS within 30 days of the OPT recommendation in SEVIS.

  • The initial period of Post Completion OPT must end no later than 14 months following degree or coursework  completion/graduation. (USCIS will automatically shorten the authorized period to the end of the 14 month window.)

  • Students must request a start date that begins no later than the end of their 60 day grace period. (Application must be received by USCIS before the end of the 60 day grace period.)

    • At the latest, students may request an OPT start date that is the day after the end of their 60 day grace period. Students who apply at least 90 days in advance of the requested start date will likely avoid forfeiting any of the available 12 months. At the earliest, students may request a start date that is the day after their program completion/graduation date listed on their current I-20.

      • For example, a student with a graduation date of 5/14/2015 may request an OPT start date any time between 5/15/2015 and 7/14/2015.

  • Students who apply less than 90 days from the end of their grace period may forfeit some of the available 12 months, as adjudication usually takes about 90 days, (the start date will be the later of the requested date or date of adjudication) but under no circumstances will the end date on the EAD card from USCIS exceed 14 months from program completion/graduation date listed on I-20.

Post Completion OPT Instructions and Requirements

Employment Dates

Students who are approved for OPT will receive an EAD card from USCIS indicating the start/end dates of their OPT work authorization.

Students may NOT begin working until the start date on their EAD card nor may they continue working past the end date on their card unless:

  • they have applied for a STEM extension, (this is not available for LSUHSC employees) OR
  • are eligible for a Cap Gap Extension OR
  • have been approved for a Change of Status to another work authorized category (J-1, H-1B, etc.) whose start date has arrived.

For OPT purposes, unpaid positions (gratis appointments, internships, observerships, ete.) CAN be considered appropriate "employment" to maintain valid F-1 status.