Students who complete their academic program are eligible to apply for Post-Completion OPT. We encourage students to attend an OPT Workshop to learn more about the application process and job hunting tips.
After you mail your application, within 3-4 weeks USCIS will send you a notice of receipt document, called Form I-797. The notification will include a receipt number. You can track your application using the receipt number at www.uscis.gov .
Don't worry, your application will remain in "Your Application was Received" status for the 3-month application period. If your application is approved, the status will be updated to a message about your card being issued and mailed.
If you move while your OPT application is processing, you MUST inform immigration with your new address. To do this, complete the USCIS’s online Change of Address Form @ www.uscis.gov/addresschange
If your application is approved, you will receive your OPT card in the mail about 3 months (90-100 days) from your OPT application receipt date. You cannot begin employment until your application is approved, you received your card, and you reach the OPT start date.
It is the student's responsibility to know, understand and follow the rules and regulations about OPT work authorization, as provided by USCIS. Additional information about the rules is provided by Study in the States.
The following is information from the Center for International Education about the basic requirements to follow.
- Your employment must be related to your major/degree.
- Your employment must be at least 20 hours/week.
- You can not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment during your overall work authorization period. Once you accumulate 91 days of unemployment, immigration will automatically terminate your OPT work authorization.
- You must report to immigration: 1) where you are working and any changes to your employment, and 2) where you are living and any changes to your U.S. address.
It is critical that you report where you are working & living in the U.S., and any time there is a change in your employment or contact information (such as home address, phone number or email). Students on OPT are allowed 90 days total of unemployment. Immigration will automatically terminate a student's I-20 once 90 days of unemployment is accumulated. There are two ways that you can report your employment:
SEVP Portal Account
After you receive your OPT card, you need to create an online SEVP Portal Account. Using this account, you can directly information immigration about your employment and U.S. address, make changes, and also check the status of your OPT work authorization.
To set-up your SEVP Portal Account, you will receive an email from immigration after your OPT application is approved. The email will come from do-not-reply.SEVP@ice.dhs.gov (check your spam or junk inbox). The email will provide a unique link to help you create your account. You must activate your account within 30 days of receiving the email.
Resources for setting up your SEVP Portal Account:
Career Services Available to Alumni
For up to two years after you graduate, students can utilize the resources and services from UW Bothell's Career Center.
Find Companies that Hire International Students
This database is just to help international students find jobs and internships. Use your UW NETID to login.
This resource can provide information about what U.S. companies have sponsored H1B work visas in the past.
Tips for Interviewing in the U.S.
Do I have to tell them that I am an international student? What questions will an employer ask me? We encourage you to our helpful Interview Tips handout, and also review Career Center's helpful Legal & Illegal Interview Questions resource to understand your rights on what information you do and don't need to provide a prospective employer.
UW Bothell Int'l Student Alumni on LinkedIn
Students are working in various fields with companies either locally, or across the U.S.! Also, you definitely need to join CIE's special UWB International Student LinkedIn Group to connect with other international student alum who are working, and to help with your job search.