It takes up to 3 months (90 days) for OPT applications to be approved by the USCIS. There could be delays but normally, you will be able to know the results within that time-period. If you wish to start working right away, then you should apply for OPT in advance.
You can apply 90 days before you complete your last academic year, but should not be more than 60 days after completing your degree (post-completion OPT). These deadlines work for both STEM OPT and non-STEM OPT. You can start working as soon as the Form I-765 is approved and you receive your Employment Authorization Document. After the approval of OPT, you must be employed within 90 days after your start date. If you fail to find employment within that period, then your OPT will be canceled.
Aside from post-completion OPT, there is also a pre-completion OPT wherein F-1 students who were able to complete one full academic year in a US college or university can already apply for OPT. The number of months that you worked in a pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the 12-months OPT validity. The remaining months is what you can use for the post-completion OPT.
Please sign in to leave a comment.