Optional Practical Training: Robert Morris University Optional Practical Training | Robert Morris University

Global Engagement

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an opportunity for F-1 international students to gain valuable work experience in his or her field of study. This is a chance to learn how American businesses operate and possibly be offered further work opportunities!

Please note, this page is for Post-Completion OPT. For information on Pre-Completion, please contact Jesse Phillips.

When can I apply?

Students may apply as early as 90 days before their program end date, and up to 60 days after their program end date. It is highly recommended to apply as asson as possible. Your program end date is the day grades are due for your final semester, which can be found on the RMU Academic Calendar.

When can I start?

Students must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at RMU for one full academic year (fall and spring semesters) before being eligible for OPT. You must choose a start date that is within 60 days of your graduation.

Important note: OPT applications take an average of 3 months to be processed. It is highly recommended that you apply as early as possible to make sure your application is processed before the day you want to start. You may not apply more than 90 days before your graduation date.

Please download the RMU OPT application to get started, and for information about the process:

RMU OPT application

Please bring this completed application with you to your OPT appointment.

 What do I need?

1. G-1145 and  I-765  Forms, completed
2. $410 Check or Money Order made payable to the “US Department of Homeland Security.”
3. 2 recent photographs according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) specifications
4. Copy of current I-20, all previously issued I-20s
5. I-94
6. Passport
7. Most recent visa page in the passport (if the visa page is in your old passport, please bring that passport with you).
8. Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if applicable.

The application will be mailed by Robert Morris University on your behalf to USCIS. All original documents will be returned to you, and you will be given copy of the application and all accompanying documents for your records.
You are advised to set up an appointment in the Center for Global Engagement as soon as you decide to pursue OPT, or at least 90 days before you graduate.

You must receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before starting any employment.

Important things to know

  •     You have 90 days of total unemployment during OPT before you must leave the country or begin a new course of study.
  •     You have 60 days after your OPT has ended to leave the country or begin a new course of study.
  •     IF YOU LEAVE THE COUNTRY WHILE YOUR APPLICATION IS PENDING, YOU ARE ABANDONING YOUR APPLICATION.
  •     It is not recommended you travel until you have a job offer letter.
  •     You may not start work until the application is approved. If your start date is before your application is approved, you will lose those work days. Please consider this when choosing a start date.

How do I check my case status?

After you apply for OPT, USCIS will notify the Center for Global Engagement that your application has been received. This will be scanned and forwarded to you. Included in this receipt is a number that begins eith EAC.You can use this number to check the status of your case.

    How do I maintain status while on OPT?

    •     Report any address change to the CGE within 1 week of moving.
    •     Report new employer within 1 week of being hired.
    •     Report when you change employers within 1 week.
    •     Check/reply any RMU email you at least once a week.
    •     Report any period of unemployment.
    •     Report when you leave the country.
    •     Report any change of immigration status.
    •     Your employment MUST be related to your degree.
    •     Work at least 20 hours per week.

    How do I report my OPT Employment?

    Please provide the following information to Jesse Phillips:

    • Offer letter from employer that includes start date, job title, and hours per week
    • Employer's Address (location where you will physically be working)
    • Employer EIN number (not mandatory, but highly recommended)
    • Supervisor's name/phone/email
    • Brief statement from you on how job is related to degree

      How do I apply for a STEM Extension?

      You are eligible for a STEM extension if your degree is in the STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) field and your OPT position is directly related to your degree. Please review the RMU STEM application form for more information and instructions on how to apply.

      Please visit Study in the States for more detailed information about STEM extension, and resources for students and employers.

        Contact Jesse Phillips with any questions or to make an appointment.