Office of International Affairs (OIA)
OPT Application Process for MD Students
Choosing Employment Dates
Try to find out the residency start dates of the hospitals to which you have applied. We will use the earliest of those dates for the OPT application.
Why can’t I apply for OPT after I find out where I’ve matched?
It is possible to apply for OPT after you find out where you’ve matched on the third Thursday of March. However, USCIS asks for up to 90 days to adjudicate the OPT application and cannot guarantee that you will receive your EAD card on time to begin your residency. You are only permitted to work on or after the OPT start date, and after you have physically received the EAD card.
Unfortunately, mid/late March is the busiest time for USCIS, and the processing times for some OPT applications slow down significantly. Therefore, if you apply for OPT after you find out where you’ve matched in late March, you risk not being able to begin your residency on time in June. In the past, some students have received their cards as quickly as 5 weeks, while others did not receive it within the 90-day processing period (in which case, we would request an expedited card).
DOCUMENTS for the OPT APPLICATION
Please make an appointment with OIES, and bring the following items:
- Form I-765 (online at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf, or in our office):
- In item 3, use an address where you can receive mail for the next 3-6 months. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward USCIS mail even if you change your address. It is very difficult to change your address with USCIS once they have received your application. If you wish, you may use our office address.
- In item 16, write “( c ) ( 3 ) ( B ).&rdquo
- $380.00* money order or personal check:
- Make the money order or check payable to “Department of Homeland Security.”
- Write "I-765: F-1 OPT" in the memo section.
- If the name and address appearing on the check does not match the name and address that you provide on Form I-765, you should use a money order instead of a check (money orders are available at the post office, 7-11 mart or your bank for a small fee).
- Signed letter from your academic advisor, student affairs or registrar office.
The letter must state the following information:
- Full name
- Degree you will receive
- MONTH, DAY and YEAR of your program completion date, NOT the graduation date. Month and year alone is NOT sufficient.
- Two (2) passport-style photos that comply with USCIS specifications. The best place to obtain these photos is at Jefferson Medical Media, 5th floor of Jefferson Alumni Hall (pay by check or cash only). Other stores produce unsatisfactory photos for the same price.
- Copy of transcript with your name on it: An unofficial copy from Banner Web or the Registrar's Office is sufficient, as long as your name appears on it.
- Clear copies of any previously issued EAD cards.
- Information about any previous F-1 OPT or CPT (dates and length of time)
- Passport, I-94 card, and all I-20 forms issued to you. If your passport does not have your signature in it, bring a photo ID that has your signature on it.
- The exact date (month, day and year) you expect to begin working.
Please note that you will also have to pay for the FedEx mailing fee (less than $30)
*Fees are subject to change. Please check with OIES or the USCIS application form before submitting a check or money order.
Traveling Abroad During OPT
Students who have already completed their programs and have a pending OPT are strongly advised not to travel.
Once your OPT application has been approved and you have received your EAD card, you may travel outside the US as long as you have the following documents:
- Passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future.
- Valid F-1 entry visa. If you do not have a valid F-1 entry visa, you must go to a U.S Embassy or consulate to apply for one. It is possible that the consular officer will not issue you a new entry visa merely to complete your OPT. Students without valid F-1 entry visas are strongly advised not to travel.
- I-20 with OPT recommendation endorsed for travel by OIES representative.
- Proof that you have a job to return to in the U.S., such as a letter from your supervisor or offer letter from human resources describing your job.