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Apply for OPT

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is authorization for employment in your field of study either before or after completion of a degree. Most F-1 students do post-completion OPT after graduation. Post-completion OPT is 12 months of employment authorization. Students apply directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for OPT. During OPT, students are required by law to report information about their employment, contact information, and location to CIE and DHS.

Each semester CIE holds OPT Workshops to provide information about applying for OPT.  

To apply for OPT, CIE must recommend you for OPT in SEVIS and issue you a new I-20 for your application to USCIS. CIE requires at least one week to issue your OPT-recommended I-20. After receiving this I-20, you must mail all application materials (including the fee and a copy of the new I-20) to USCIS. DO NOT apply for OPT online or without your OPT-recommended I-20.



If you have already started an application, do not start a new one. Please go to your User Home Page to continue working on your existing request.

OPT Reporting
As a student on OPT/STEM OPT, you are required to report to us when certain events occur. Use the options below to complete this requirement. CIE will use this information to make updates to SEVIS that are mandated by law. Please note this is required even if you are using the SEVIS student portal.



Note: Students on OPT who graduated Summer 2019 or earlier do not have access to login to the ISSS Connect portal; you need to complete your OPT Reporting through the following link: https://uwm.edu/cie/students-scholars/students/employment/opt-reporting/

OPT STEM Extension
Some students are eligible to apply for an 24 month extension during their original 12 months of OPT. Students who have earned degrees in certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields *and* who are employed by companies that are registered with the USCIS e-verify program may be eligible for the extension. Students apply directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the STEM extension of OPT. During OPT, students are required by law to report information about their employment, contact information, and location to CIE and DHS.



If you have already started an application, do not start a new one. Please go to your User Home Page to continue working on your existing request.