Blog Archives

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 … Learn More

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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 … Learn More

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Do I need a U.S. Social Security Number?

You will need to apply for a Social Security Number upon approval of OPT employment.  Once the new I-20 endorsing OPT employment is received, you can apply for a Social Security Number through the Social Security Office.

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After my post-completion OPT ends, do I have a grace period?

Yes, you have a grace period of 60 days.

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Can I begin working before I complete or graduate from my degree program under post-completion OPT?

Non-thesis/undergraduate students who apply for post-completion OPT may NOT begin working until after their program end date.  Thesis/PsyD students who apply for post-completion OPT may NOT work until they have completed all course requirements.

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When can I start working on OPT?

As soon as you receive your Employment Authorization Document card and the start date has passed.

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Can I change my mailing address while my OPT application is pending?

You can, but it can (and often does) result in a delay of receipt of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.  Please use a mailing address you know will be valid for at least 3 months on your application, so … Learn More

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Can I change my start date while my OPT application is pending?

No. The start date is decided before your new I-20 is issued and can only be changed up until you mail the application to USCIS.

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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 … Learn More

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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.

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Why do I have to meet with the PDSO or DSO during the OPT application process?

The PDSO or DSO will review your application materials to confirm that all necessary documents are present.  Once verified, the PDSO or DSO will need to issue your recommendation for OPT, which is reflected on a new I-20.  The new … Learn More

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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 … Learn More

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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 … Learn More

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Does participation in pre-completion OPT affect my eligibility for post-completion OPT?

Yes. Pre-completion OPT is deducted from your 12 month cumulative allotment of OPT. Part-time OPT is deducted at a half time rate, so if you use 6 months of part-time pre-completion OPT, you have 9 months of post-completion OPT remaining. … Learn More

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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.

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Does my job need to be in California?

No.  Your job may be anywhere in the U.S. 

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