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.


  • You must be in the U.S. and currently maintaining valid F-1 status.
  • 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:
    • You must not have been authorized for more than 365 days of full-time CPT at your current degree level.
    • If you depart the U.S. before your OPT application is filed and received by USCIS you may be 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.
    • A job/job offer is not needed in order to apply, however, you must choose a specific start date.
    • 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.​

Choosing Your Post-Completion Start Date Video

**video note: this video references attending an OPT Workshop. The online Canvas Post-Completion OPT Workshop replaces in-person OPT Workshops required before Fall 2020.

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.

Pre-completion OPT applications may be filed up to 90 days prior to the completion of one full academic year.

  • Call the Glavin Office at 781-239-4565 to schedule an individual Pre-Completion OPT workshop with an advisor.

Post-completion 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? 

For post-completion OPT, you must complete our online workshop through Canvas in your last semester in order to learn about OPT, prepare your 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 to get started!

Spring 2021 dates (Undergraduates & Graduates):

  • program end date: Saturday, May 15, 2021 (commencement)
  • earliest date to receive Form I-20 with OPT recommendation and submit an application to USCIS: Tuesday, February 16, 2021
  • start date window: Sunday, May 16, 2021 - Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Updated 2/3/2021 due to changes to the Spring 21 commencement date

Summer 2021 dates (Undergraduates & Graduates):

  • Undergraduates [Summer Session]
    • program end date: Friday, July 16, 2021
    • earliest date to receive Form I-20 with OPT recommendation and submit an application to USCIS: Monday, April 19, 2021
    • start date window: Saturday, July 17, 2021 - Tuesday, September 14, 2021
  • MSEL
    • program end date: Friday, August 20, 2021
    • earliest date to receive Form I-20 with OPT recommendation and submit an application to USCIS: Friday, May 21, 2021
    • start date window: Saturday, August 21, 2021 - Tuesday, October 19, 2021
  • One Year MBA
    • program end date: Thursday, August 19, 2021
    • earliest date to receive Form I-20 with OPT recommendation and submit an application to USCIS: Monday, May 24, 2021
    • start date window: Friday, August 20, 2021 - Monday, October 18, 2021
  • Other Graduate [Summer I or II] - email isss@babson.edu

Fall 2021 OPT dates will be posted in late summer as students cannot apply for OPT until late September.

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.