Pre-completion OPT is the employment authorization used prior to program completion to work in a field related to your major for students in F-1 status.

WHEN TO USe pre-completion Opt

Since each student is allotted 12 months of Optional Practical Training per degree level, you must think about your long term plans prior to applying for pre-completion OPT. Here are some examples to think through:

1. If you use 3 months of OPT during the summer after your junior year, you will only have 9 months of OPT eligibility left to use before and after your program completion date.

2. If you use 12 months or pre-completion OPT prior to graduation, you will have no post-completion OPT eligibility left.

What is the difference between pre-completion OPt and Curricular Practical Training?

For both types of employment eligibility, you must be authorized before you begin employment. Curricular Practical Training must be an academically driven paid or unpaid training opportunity in which you receive course credit in your major. Pre-Completion Optional Practical training must still be related to your major, but you do not need to receive course credit.

The process to receive approval for CPT is typically 2 weeks, whereas OPT generally takes three months to receive approval.

The use of Curricular Practical Training does not affect your OPT eligiblity unless you use more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training.

Applying for pre-completion OPt 

Students may apply for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days prior to the requested employment start date.


Step 1: Request a meeting by emailing
Step 2: Gather the necessary documents to apply.
  • ​Completed Form I-765. Make sure to include the address as follows:
      • ​Street: c/o Intl Ed 3300 Poinsett Hwy
      • City: Greenville
      • State: SC
      • Zip code: 29613
    • For tips on completing the I-765, see our guide here​.
  • A check or money order made out the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $410.
  • A completed form G-1145​
  • Photocopies of all previous issued I-20s
  • Photocopy of your F-1 visa (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • Printed I-94 record
  • Photocopy of your passport identification page
  • Two passport style photos
Step 3: Complete the OPT APPLICATION SUPPLEMENT form, attach it to the list of documents above, and drop it off at the front desk of The Student Activities office.
Step 4: Within three business days, you will receive an email that your OPT packet is ready to be picked up. When you pick up your packet, you will receive the documents you submitted along with three additional documents:
  • I-20 endorsed for Optional Practical Training
  • OPT Packet Corrections
  • OPT Next Steps
Step 5: Make the noted corrections and mail your entire packet within 30 days to the following address:

USCIS Dallas Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) First-Class and Priority Mail Express deliveries:

P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS):

Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067​

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