​​​F-1: Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a benefit of F-1 status that allows students to work off-campus in a field related to their area of study. OPT is most often used by Babson students following completion of their academic program.

There is a limit of 12 months of full-time OPT per degree le​vel. OPT may be used before completion of studies (pre-completion), after completion of studies (post-completion) or a combination of both. 

  • Part-time OPT (up to 20 hours/week) is deducted at half of the full-time rate (two months of part-time OPT = one month of full time OPT) before completion of studies. After completion of studies, part-time OPT is counted at the full-time rate.
  • Full-time OPT (more than 20 hours/week) can only be granted during official college breaks or after completion of studies.
  • The 17-month OPT extension for certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degree holders is not applicable for most Babson students. You may qualify if you earned a previous degree in a STEM field.   

Additional Considerations

You must currently be maintaining valid F-1 status and must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year before applying for OPT. 

You are only authorized to work within the dates specified on the EAD.

If you do not complete your academic program by the da​te originally specified, contact Glavin Office immediately; you may not be eligible to work with the EAD you received. 

In order to maintain F-1 status while on OPT, students must report their address and employment changes to ISSS and must not exceed 90 days of unemployment during the entire 12-month OPT period. ​

Students nearing the end of their studies should begin to look for other health insurance options if remaining in the U.S. that meet federal and state requirements. 

OPT Application Process

Post-completion OPT applications may be filed up to 90 days before the completion of studies, and up to 60 days after the completion of studies. Pre-completion OPT applications may be filed up to 90 days prior to the completion of one full academic year.

Note: A job offer is NOT REQUIRED to apply for OPT.

1. Attend an OPT Workshop (REQUIRED)

Fall 2016 graduates need to attend an hour long OPT Workshop. Workshops will be held in Glavin Office every Friday at 11:30 a.m., from September 16 to November 18. You must attend an OPT workshop in your last semester, about three months prior to your anticipated employment start date. You are encouraged to bring the documents listed in step 2 and your laptop to the workshop. During the workshop an advisor will review the OPT process and answer questions. The workshop will last about one hour in length. If you have questions about OPT or the workshop email ISSS.

​Note: If you arrive late you will not be permitted to attend the workshop.

2. Submit your OPT application to the Glavin Office

Bring the following completed documents, along with the OPT Acknowledgement Form to the front desk of the Glavin Office. If you have questions prior to the submission of your application please go to Walk-In Advising hours to speak with an advisor.

You must also assemble the following documents and bring them to the OPT Workshop:

  • Copy of all previously issued Form I-20s (pages 1 & 3); include Form I-20s issued by another U.S. school (if applicable)
  • Copy of your most recent I-94 (arrival/departure record), printed from www.cbp.gov/I94. Your I-94 travel history is not needed
  • Copy of F-1 visa (or approval notice for change of status to F-1)
  • Copy of passport page(s) which show your photo, full name and passport expiration date
  • Two properly formatted USCIS photographs » (write your name and SEVIS ID# lightly on the back of each photo). Do not use photos that had been used in the past 
  • Personal check or money order made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $380. Write your name and SEVIS ID# in the memo section. Do not write on the back of the check
  • Copy of any previously issued EAD (if you have been approved for OPT in the past)
  • OPT Acknowledgement Form (provided at the workshop)

3. Meet with an International Student Advisor to review your OPT application

If your OPT application is complete, a new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation will be created in two business days following your application submission. You will meet with an advisor during Walk-In Hours or during a scheduled appointment to pick up your new Form I-20 and reviewed OPT application. The new Form I-20 should be used for future international travel; however, you should keep all Form I-20s that were previously issued for your personal records.

4. Mail your completed application to USCIS

Your application must be received by USCIS within 30 days of the advisors OPT recommendation. 

Application checklist and mailing instructions »