Salisbury University students on campus

Optional Practical Training Instructions

You are eligible to apply for a practical training experience after you have been in F-1 student status for one academic year (exception: employment with a qualifying international organization may begin as soon as a student is in F-1 status). In order to complete an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) application, you must submit the following, do not staple, but please use a paper clip to hold together:

  • Check or money order for $380, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and immigration Service. If someone else writes the check, make sure your name is somewhere on the check.
  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization; in item 16 indicate the appropriate code from below:
    • (c)(3)(A)    F-1 Pre Completion Optional Practical Training
    • (c)(3)(B)    F-1 Post Completion Optional Practical Training
    • (c)(3)(C)    F-1 STEM extension
    • (c)(3)(ii)    F-1 Off-campus employment with a qualifying international organization (organizations must be recognized by the International Organization Immunities Act.
    • (c)(3)(iii)    F-1 Off-campus employment due to economic hardship
  • "Certification of Completion Studies" signed by your academic advisor
  • "Intent to Participate in CPT/OPT" form
  • Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s, from all institutions attended
  • Photocopies, font and back, of any previously issued EAD cards
  • Photocopy, front and back, of your I-94 card
  • Photocopy of the identification pages from your passport (including name, date of birth, place of birth, photo, issue and expiration dates, visa stamp)
  • Two full-frontal color photographs, which must be less than 30 days old when the application is filled. Lightly print your name and A# (if known) on the back of each photo with a pencil. Place the photos in an envelope or plastic bag so they are not lost, but do not staple them. For more information on photo specifications, please call the US CIS National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283
  • All forms are available at the SU Center for International Education, all US CIS forms are available at SUCIE

Additionally, please complete the following steps:

For optional practical training:

  • Obtain a SEVIS I-20 form, including the optional practical training recommendation from your international student advisor

NOTE: for post completion optional practical training, the application must be submitted to US CIS within 60 days of the completion of all course requirements for the degree or within 60 days prior to the completion of the course of study. You must complete all practical training within a 14-month period following the completion of study.

For employment with a qualifying international organization:

  • Obtain a letter of certification from the qualifying international organization that the proposed employment is within the scope of its sponsorship
  • Obtain a SEVIS I-20 with employment page completed by the international student advisor, certifying your eligibility for employment

For employment due to severe economic hardship (granted in one year intervals up to the expected date of completion of the course of study):

  • Obtain a SEVIS I-20 with employment page completed with your international student advisor comments and certification
  • Provide a budget and a letter, explaining your economic hardship, detailing the unforeseen economic circumstances that caused the hardship
  • A list of own or sponsor’s assets, income and expenses – if applicable



  1. The employment authorization is automatically terminated whenever you fail to maintain immigration status
  2. Authorization to engage in practical training employment is automatically terminated when you transfer to another school or begins study at another educational level
  3. Post office does not forward mail form US CIS so please make sure you list the correct address on the application.

NOTE: Students approved for OPT continue to be in F-1 status, and therefore must have the I-20 endorsed for travel, a valid F-1 visa and an EAD card to re-enter. They are also required to update the International Student Advisor within 10 days of any address change, legal name change, employer’s name and address or interruption in employment.

Stem Extension OPT

The special 17-month post-completion OPT extension for certain STEM graduates. The new rule makes recipients of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months). To be eligible for the extension, the student's employer must be registered in E-Verify, and agree to report to the DSO when the student is terminated or leaves employment. The student must agree to make periodic reports to the DSO. The complete list of all STEM degrees is located here.

The STEM majors offered at Salisbury University are:

Computer and Information Sciences, General Biology/Biological Sciences, General Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology Mathematics, General Physical Science
Information Technology (Information Systems) Biochemistry Microbiology, General Applied Mathematics Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General
Computer Science Molecular Biology Zoology/Animal Biology Computational Mathematics Chemistry, General
Computer Graphics (Art) Molecular Biochemistry Exercise Physiology (Exercise Science) Statistics, General Geology/Earth Science, General
Computer Software Engineering Botany/Plant Biology Environmental Biology Mathematical Statistics and Probability Physics, General

For more information or for electronic filing, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.