What is my status while I am on OPT?

You are in lawful F-1 status if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are employed for more than 20 hours per week in your field of study (for post-completin OPT) or you are employed for less than 20 hours per week in your field of student (for pre-completion OPT);
  • You have not been unemployed for more than 90 days during your post-completion OPT;
  • You report to AUSB any changes of address within 10 days; and
  • You report to AUSB any changes in visa status.

Do I have to pay U.S. taxes on my salary?

Usually F-1 students who have been in the U.S. for five years or less are exempt from social security taxes.  Please inform your employer of your F-1 status because many employers are not familiar with this provision of the tax laws.  F-1 students are subject to all other applicable taxes (e.g. federal, state, and local).

What is my program completion date?

The program completion date is the last day of the final term of enrollment. For MEd thesis and PsyD students, the program completion date can be the last day of the final term of enrollment OR the defense date. The defense date must be within the final term of required enrollment.

How do I choose my OPT start date?

For post-completion OPT, your start date must fall within 60 days after your program completion date. You can choose any date within that 60 day window.

How do I apply for OPT?

Complete the following items and then schedule an appointment with the PDSO or DSO to review your application materials:

  •    OPT Application Packet
  •    OPT Status Responsibilities Form
  •    Advisor Approval Form (Post-Completion OPT only)
  •    I-765 form and supporting documents (see OPT Application Packet for more information)

When should I apply for OPT?

Pre-completion OPT: up to 90 days prior to the planned start date of employment.
Post-completion OPT: up to 90 days prior to your program completion date or within 60 days after your program completion date.

Please note that is can take 2-3 months for USCIS to review & process your OPT application materials.

Can I change jobs during my OPT?

Yes.  You must notify the PDSO or DSO at Antioch University Santa Barbara of any employment changes, including periods of unemployment.