OPT

Report
APPLYING FOR CPT AND OPT*
Rebecca Sablo
Assistant Director for Student Services
Berkeley International Office
*Information up to date as of 9/11/2014
AGENDA
CPT – work authorization during your program
 Social Security Numbers
 OPT – work authorization after your program
 H1B Cap Gap Extension
 STEM OPT

OFF-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT = WORK
AUTHORIZATION
F-1 students must always request an off-campus
work permit issued by:
Berkeley International Office for Fall internship (CPT)
USCIS for employment after graduation (OPT)
Employment = Compensation
Stipend, salary, food, bus tickets, future salary, etc.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
Used for your October U.S. based Internship
No CPT for positions outside the US
Apply at BIO for CPT authorization before you begin
working at ANY internship in the US
October 20-January 16, Full Time Authorization
Part Time authorization available after 1/16/15
STEPS TO APPLY FOR CPT
1. Obtain a job offer in the US
 2. Submit your employment information and CPT
form to MFE office for signature
 3. Deliver your CPT form to Berkeley International
Office

After 3 working days, a new I-20 will be issued with
CPT authorization on page 3
Pick it up or provide BIO with mailing instructions
Provide a copy to your employer as proof of
employment authorization in combination with your
passport and I-94 card or electronic print out.
CPT Authorization
CPT INFO ONLINE
INTERNATIONALOFFICE.BERKELEY.EDU
INTERNSHIPS OUTSIDE THE US
No CPT required for jobs outside the US!
Obtain visas/employment authorization if needed for
country where you’ll be working
To return to the US:
Travel signature: no more than 10 months old upon reentry
F-1 visa: valid on the day you re-enter the US
Passport: valid for at least 6 months into the future at
all times
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A SOCIAL
SECURITY NUMBER (SSN)?

F-1 Students with employment or a job offer

on-campus employment letter
or

off-campus offer with employment work
authorization (CPT I-20 for internship job offer or
EAD card with post-graduation job offer)
DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO APPLY

F-1 Student Application for SSN





Passport
I-20
I-94 stamp in the passport
Employer letter
Employment Authorization if employment is off-campus


CPT I-20
OPT Employment Authorization Document
OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING
OPT: OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING
TUTORIAL REQUIRED TO APPLY
OPT – WHAT IS IT
Required to work off campus 12 months after degree
program
No job offer required to apply
Job must be related to student’s field of study
Past OPT for same degree level or higher disqualifies
student for OPT based on MFE
To qualify, must be in valid F-1 status for 1 academic year
BASIC STEPS
Step
 Step
 Step
 Step
 Step

1:
2:
3:
4:
5:
Read OPT Tutorial on BIO website
Complete OPT form, ask MFE to sign
Submit form to BIO
Pick up new I-20
Submit complete application to USCIS
OPT APPLICATION TIMELINE
First day
to apply
for OPT
MFE
Program
Completion
Date
Final
Deadline:
OPT App
to USCIS
12/18/15
3/18/15
5/17/2015
Apply to USCIS up to 3 months
before program completion
Apply to USCIS up to 2 months
after program completion
USCIS Processing Time: 3 months
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Applications processed and Employment Authorization
Document (EAD) issued by USCIS
Application processing time is 3-4 months
File at the service center associated with your mailing
address on I-765
We highly recommend a CA address!
Employment is authorized once you have the card in hand
and start date has arrived
OPT – EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
DOCUMENT REQUIRED TO WORK
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY ON OPT
Report name/address/employment change to International
Office within 10 days. Report periods of unemployment as
well.
http://ssu.berkeley.edu
Do not accumulate more than 90 days of employment
(starts counting from start date on card)
More than 90 days of unemployment is a status
violation
Time outside of the US without US based
employment counts towards 90 days
OPTIONS AFTER OPT EMPLOYMENT
AUTHORIZATION ENDS
Stop working on OPT end date. You have 60 days to
Leave the US (no re-entry allowed)
Transfer your I-20 to a new program
Apply for change of status
Apply for 17 Month OPT STEM Extension before 12 month
OPT expires
Get an H1B Cap Gap Extension
FAQ ABOUT OPT
Can I vacation outside the US after graduation?
Yes!
What do I need to re-enter the US
If OPT is approved you’ll need I-20, EAD card, job offer letter,
valid visa, and valid passport to re-enter the US.
If OPT is pending, you’ll need I-20, receipt notice from
immigration, job offer letter (recommended), valid visa and
valid passport to re-enter the US. Travel can be risky because if
there is a problem with your application, you will not be
present in the US to respond to requests for additional
information.
FAQ ABOUT OPT
Can I take a job after being unemployed for more
than 90 days
At this point, immigration says you are in violation of
status but doesn’t make students leave. If you are
unemployed more than 90 days and apply for a
Change of Status, it may be denied
OPTIONS TO EXTEND OPT
With H1B Pending: H1B Cap Gap Extension bridges the
gap between end of OPT & H1B start
H1B Fiscal Year visas go into effect Oct 1
Applications can be filed as early as April 1
STEM OPT Extension: Additional 17 months of OPT based
on field of study
H1B CAP GAP – BRIDGING EMPLOYMENT
GAP BETWEEN END OF OPT & H1B
START
Students in valid F-1 status with a properly filed H1B
application may remain in the US while their application is
adjudicated
Students in OPT grace period when H1B application is
filed can stay in US but cannot work
Students authorized for OPT when H1B application is
filed will have OPT automatically extended and can
work
If H1B is denied, 60 day grace period goes into effect
OPT CHOOSING START DATES:
ANYTIME WITHIN 60 DAYS OF COMPLETION
First
possible
OPT start
date
Last
possible
start date
Earliest
possible
OPT end
date
First day to
file H1B for
FY 2017
Last
possible
OPT end
date
3/19/15
5/17/15
3/18/16
Thursday
4/1/16
5/16/16
Cap Gap: If OPT is valid when
H1B is filed, employment
authorization is automatically
extended
Cap Gap: If OPT expires during
this period, employment
authorization is not extended
SCENARIOS – ASSUMING CAP ISN’T
REACHED

OPT ends 4/5/2016, employer files H1b 4/1/2016


OPT ends 4/2/2016, employer files H1b 5/1/2016


Work authorization not extended, student can stay in
US
OPT ends 3/31/2016, employer files H1b 4/1/2016


Student’s work authorization extended to 9/30/2016
Work authorization not extended, student can stay in
US
OPT ends 4/5/2016, employer files 4/6/2016

Work authorization not extended, student can stay in
STEM OPT EXTENSION +17 MONTHS
Only available for work with employers who use
the US government's E-Verify system
 Apply before your 12 month OPT expires
 Earliest you can apply is 4 months before OPT
expires
 While application is pending, your OPT is
automatically extended
 Available once per lifetime

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
See an advisor during drop-in advising hours
(M-F 10-12 & 1:30-4)
Online Resources:
CPT:
http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/current/f1/curricular_practical_training
OPT: http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/training/f-1/opt
H1B Cap Gap Website:
http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/training/f-1/cap-gap
STEM OPT:
http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/students/training/f-1/extension
USCIS H-1B 2014 Cap Season Info: http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count

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