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 utilized by Babson students following completion of their academic program.

There is a limit of 12 months of full-time OPT per degree level. OPT may be used before completion of studies (pre-completion), after completion of studies (post-completion) or a combination of both. OPT may be full-time or part-time, but any pre-completion OPT is limited to part-time during the academic year.

  • 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 Babson students.  

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 date originally specified, contact The Glavin Office; 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 address and employment changes to an International Student Advisor and must not exceed 90 days of unemployment during the entire 12-month OPT period. ​

Students who complete their program of study are no longer eligible to enroll in the Babson health insurance plan. Graduates should plan accordingly to maintain health insurance coverage on OPT that meets 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)

OPT Workshops are offered every Friday from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Olin 220 for Spring 2015 graduates from February 6 to May 8; workshops held on February 20, March 13, March 20, and April 10 will be at a different location which has yet to be confirmed. 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 International Student Advisor (ISA) will answer questions and review your OPT application. If you have questions about OPT or the workshop, speak with an ISA or 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 ISA.

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 I-94 (arrival/departure record), printed from www.cbp.gov/I94
  • 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)
  • 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

Assuming you brought all OPT application materials to the Glavin Office, a new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation will be created within two business days following the workshop. You must meet with an International Student Advisor (ISA) during Walk-In Hours or in a scheduled appointment to sign your new Form I-20. The new Form I-20 should be used for future international travel; however, you must still keep all Form I-20s that were previously issued for your personal records.

4. Mail your completed application to USCIS