Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that can be used while you are a current student at UT. Employment must relate directly to your major field of study. Pre-Completion OPT may be an option for students who are not eligible to use Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, while they are enrolled as a student at UT.

Fast Facts about Pre-Completion OPT

  • Plan early! OPT can take three to five months to obtain.
  • You may apply for Pre-Completion OPT as early as 90 days before your requested start date.
  • You don't need a job offer to apply for Pre-Completion OPT.
  • You need to be in valid F-1 status.
  • You must have completed two consecutive long semesters at UT to be eligible to apply.
  • Most students can only work up to 20 hours per week during the long semesters.
  • The 90-day unemployment rule does not apply to Pre-Completion OPT.
  • Days of approved Pre-Completion OPT will reduce the number of days available for future Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT.
  • Most students will use CPT instead of Pre-Completion OPT to work before graduation.

Required OPT Workshop

At UT, you must complete an OPT Workshop before you may apply for Pre-Completion OPT.

During the workshop, you will learn:

  • General information about OPT
  • The application timeline and considerations
  • Detailed instructions on how to prepare a successful application
  • Your immigration responsibilities while you're using OPT
  • Information about traveling while on OPT

You can complete the OPT Workshop online in myIO.

Please make sure to watch the workshop video specifically on Pre-Completion OPT.  

Applying for Pre-Completion OPT

  1. Complete the OPT Workshop online through myIO.
     
  2. Submit the OPT Request online in myIO
    • After your OPT Request is approved, you will receive a digital copy of your OPT I-20 for your application. If you would like to receive the hard copy, please submit a Mailing Request as well.

Submit the following documents online through myIO:

  • Completed I-765 form (with a handwritten signature in black ink).
  • One copy of your newest passport.
    • Your passport must be valid at least six months from your expected application date. If it is expiring sooner, you will need to renew your passport before applying.
  • One copy of your F-1 visa (or most recent entry visa).
  • One copy of your most recent I-94.
    • If you gained F-1 status by application in the U.S. and have not traveled internationally since your application was approved, your most recent I-94 may be at the bottom of your I-797 approval notice.
  • One copy of all previous EAD cards (front and back) if applicable.

Your application to USCIS will contain:

  • Two passport photos. Be sure your photos meet the required specifications if you plan to get your photos from Texas Global Passport Services.
  • Check or money order for $410 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Completed original G-1145 form (PDF).
  • Completed original I-765 form (with handwritten signature).
  • One copy of your new and completely signed I-20 recommending OPT (pages 1 and 2).
  • One copy of your newest passport.
    • Your passport must be valid at least 6 months from your expected application date. If it is expiring sooner, you will need to renew your passport before applying.
  • One copy of your F-1 visa (or most recent entry visa).
  • One copy of your most recent I-94.
    • If you gained F-1 status by application in the U.S. and have not traveled internationally since your application was approved, your most recent I-94 may be at the bottom of your I-797 approval notice.
  • One copy of all previous EAD cards (front and back) if applicable.
  • One copy of your SEVIS Employment Information Sheet, if you have done previous CPT or OPT while at UT.

Report Pre-Completion OPT Employment

Please report your Pre-Completion OPT employment within 10 days of your start date and anytime there is a change. Reporting your employment is a requirement of your OPT authorization. You can report your employment by completing the Pre-Completion OPT Employment Report form in myIO.

Upload EAD

Once your OPT is approved and your EAD card arrives, upload a copy (front and back) to myIO for ISSS to review. This is an important step because it allows ISSS to review important details in your immigration record and make any corrections if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions?

International Student Advisors are available to assist you with your questions about Pre-Completion OPT.

For general questions or requests, please email hotline@austin.utexas.edu.

For non-general inquiries, please schedule an appointment to speak with an International Student Advisor.

Please keep in mind that International Student Advisors are trained in student visa topics. For information on employer-sponsored visas or residency applications, please consult with your employer's representative or a qualified Immigration Attorney.