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Maintain your f-1 visa status

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Students in F-1 status may receive up to one year of OPT. This is defined by the USCIS as employment, which is directly related to your degree program, but it is not part of your academic curriculum. Any F-1 student must have been enrolled for an entire academic year to qualify. Only one year of OPT is permitted for academic level. You may not apply for OPT sooner than 90 days before graduation date, and no later than 60 days after the graduation date. It is recommended that you apply at the earliest possible date.
To qualify for OPT, you must meet the following requirements:
  • You must be a student in good academic standing and have maintained your F-1 status for the duration of your program at West Virginia State University. This means that you must have been a full-time student attending concurrent semesters for the time of your study.
  • You may apply for OPT after receiving your degree or in the period between completing all course work for a graduate program and finishing a thesis or dissertation.
To apply for OPT, submit the following items to the Office of International Affairs (OIA). The forms may be obtained at 306 Ferrell Hall.
  • Passport, Visa,  and 1-94
  • The Request for Practical Training form completed and signed by both you and your academic advisor
  •  OPT Checklist signed and dated by the student
  •  Original I-20s that you have been issued
  • Two passport sized photographs (2”x 2”) which meet USCIS specifications for the employment card
  • A $410.00 money order or cashier’s check made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • 1-765 Application for Employment Authorization
The OIA will then help you put together your application. You will receive a new I-20 endorsed for OPT, and you will send that and all other forms to the appropriate regional USCIS Service Center.
  • Applicant is responsible for sending materials to USCIS Service Center.
    • When sending via United States Postal Service (USPS), ship to the following address:
      • USCIS
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
  • For Express mail and courier deliveries:
    • USCIS 
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
If delivery number is needed use: (800) 375-5283
PROCESSING FOR OPT MAY TAKE UP TO 3 MONTHS. If you are not approved for OPT after 3 months from receipt of application by USCIS, you may apply for a temporary EAD card. USCIS STATES THAT YOU MAY NOT WORK UNTIL THE EAD CARD IS RECEIVED AND ONLY DURING THE DATES LISTED ON THE EAD CARD.

Forms and Links

OPT Checklist

OPT Application


Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

For additional questions, visit: Study in the States


International Student Handbook
Click on the image above to view the International Student Handbook as a PDF file.
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