How to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) - University of Houston
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How to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  1. Schedule a OPT group appointment with ISSSO counselor
    • DO NOT submit and pay for an application online with USCIS at this time
    • You are required to be present in the U.S. in order to apply for OPT
  2. Download the instructions and application forms
  3. Join the virtual OPT group appointment with the completed forms and required items:
    • Current I-20
    • Passport(s) that is valid for six months into the future and most recent visa page
    • Your current I-94 or the change of status approval notice (I-797) if you changed your status in the U.S. and have not left the U.S.
    • Prior EAD card if you have any
    • Completed Academic Verification form signed by your academic advisor
    • Completed Student Responsibility form
    • 1 electronic color passport-type photo for filing online or 2 color passport-type photos if filing by paper. Has to be new and within six months.
  4. Follow the instructions provided by the counselor during your virtual OPT workshop*
  5. Submit Payment Coupon and Post Completion OPT alumni fee ($100) – Mail to ISSSO Office

*Our office highly recommends filing the OPT application online through the USCIS website. You must receive the OPT recommendation I-20 from our office before you file the application with USCIS. If you file online with USCIS, the application fee (currently $470) will be paid by credit card or direct debit through the USCIS / website while paper filing includes an additional $50 charge ($520). We will provide further instructions in the OPT group workshop on how to file. Filing online is more secure and easier to complete. The $100 alumni fee is separate and must be paid by check, money order, or cash to our office directly. DO NOT send cash by mail.