ISAO conducts Optional Practical Training Session

Prannoy Kiran

The International Student Affairs Office conducted an Optional Practical Training session Oct. 18  to provide information on requirements as to how students go about getting a one-year visa that can be used for practical training to complement their degrees. This is a continuation of the Curricular Practical Training session that was conducted in September.

CPT is a part-time employment authorization for international students enrolled in a college-level degree program, while OPT is an authorization for undergraduate or graduate students with F-1 status who have either completed a degree or are pursuing their degrees for more than nine months.

This training is permitted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and lasts for a maximum of 12 months. This mainly focuses on students getting a hands-on experience and relates to their studies.

USCIS offers a case number to individuals’ receipts and this can be used to find the status of applications online. One caution is that USCIS does not print the LIN number on the back of the check after depositing. LIN would be impossible to retrieve if the I-797 is lost.

“ISAO recommends that you make a photocopy of the document as soon as you receive it,” said Marisa Moreno, ISAO member.

There would be an Employment Authorization Document card provided to the applicant and the authorization to work begins on the start date noted on the EAD card. While the applicant works under OPT, the status still remains F-1. The EAD card is a valuable document an applicant holds and the cost of replacement is $380.

“Any change of name or address should be reported to ISO through Pathway within 10 days,” Moreno said.

Any interruption of employment should be reported through the ISAO’s online services.

The applicant can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter before graduation if the applicant is still a student. However, travel is not recommended while OPT is still pending.

“If you leave, USCIS may consider this departure as an abandonment of the application and cancel your request,” Moreno said.

OPT ends if the applicant leaves the U.S. after the training gets approved. Re-entering the U.S. would be possible only if the applicant has a job offer. This would also require a letter from the employer stating that the applicant needs to return to the U.S. to resume working.

“ISAO would be happy to help the students in getting any other information regarding the training,” Moreno said.