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 24-month STEM OPT extension is available for eligible students who are in an active period of post-completion OPT. More details can be found at www.babson.edu/isssstemopt.

Eligibility

  • You must be in the U.S. and currently maintaining valid F-1 status when filing the application.
  • You 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.
  • Post-Completion OPT additional considerations:
    • A job/job offer is not needed in order to apply, however, you must choose a specific start date.
    • You must not have been authorized for more than 365 days of full-time CPT at your current degree level.
    • Departure from the U.S. after your program end date and before an OPT application is filed with USCIS will make you ineligible to apply.
    • If you do not complete your academic program by the date originally specified, contact Glavin Office immediately as it will impact your OPT application.
    • In order to maintain F-1 status while on OPT, students must report their address and employment changes within 10 days, and must not exceed 90 days of unemployment during the entire 12-month period.​

Application Process

USCIS Application Processing Times can range from two to five months. Applications are processed in the order they are received. There is no expediting the process. A Babson-issued Form I-20 with OPT recommendation is required before a student can apply to USCIS for OPT.

  • Pre-completion (authorization to use before graduation) OPT applications may be filed up to 90 days prior to the completion of one full academic year. 
  • Post-completion (authorization to use after graduation) OPT applications may be filed as early as 90 days before the completion of studies, and as late as 60 days after the completion of studies. Students are recommended to apply at least three months before their anticipated start date if not earlier and should follow the steps outlined below.

Ready to Apply for Post-Completion OPT? 

To apply for post-completion OPT, you must complete our online workshop through Canvas ahead of or in your last semester to learn about all aspects of OPT, prepare application materials, request a new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation from ISSS, and finally, submit your application to USCIS.

 Self-enroll >> in the Post-Completion OPT Workshop course to get started!

Spring 2024:

  • Undergraduate
    • program end date: May 3, 2024
    • earliest date to receive OPT Form I-20 with OPT recommendation for USCIS application: Monday, February 5, 2024
    • start date window: May 4, 2024 - July 2, 2024
  • Graduate
    • program end date: May 4, 2024
    • earliest date to receive OPT Form I-20 with OPT recommendation for USCIS application: Monday, February 5, 2024
    • start date window: May 5, 2024 - July 3, 2024

Choosing Your Post-Completion Start Date Video

Want to use OPT before graduation (Pre-Completion)?

 
Keep in mind the following:
  • F-1 students have 12 months of post-completion OPT available to them so time used will be deducted from the time you will have available after graduation.
    • 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. 
    • Full-time OPT (more than 20 hours/week) can only be granted during official college breaks or in post-completion OPT (after completion of studies).
To Apply:
  • Students must have met, or be within 90 days of meeting one full academic year (two semesters) in F-1 status to be eligible to apply for pre-completion OPT.
  • Schedule one appointment (20 min) through advising.babson.edu for an individual Pre-Completion OPT appointment with an advisor based on the alpha-split posted at www.babson.edu/isss.
  • You will then prepare your application materials, obtain a new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation from ISSS, and finally, submit your application to USCIS. Do not apply to USCIS without a new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation!

Resources for Active OPT Students

The Post-Completion OPT Canvas course will be accessible for OPT students up to 6 months after graduation. However, here are additional resources for students on OPT.