International Student Services

Pre-Completion OPT

Pre-Completion OPT allows students who have not yet completed a degree program to be authorized for off-campus employment.

General Information

  • Total of one year of OPT per educational level, whether pre- or post-completion.
  • USCIS processing is 2-3 months.
  • Part-time employment during fall and spring, full-time during official school breaks.
  • Full-time enrollment required fall and spring semesters.
  • OPT must end by the student’s program completion date.
  • No unemployment limit.
  • No reporting requirements (other than changes of address).
  • Splitting OPT between pre- and post-completion requires two USCIS applications and fees.
  • Most UT Dallas students prefer Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
  • View Pre Completion OPT Timeline for more information.


  • Full-time enrolled at least one full academic year (two long semesters).
  • Currently in valid F-1 status.
  • Will complete your degree in a future semester.

Application Process

  1. Carefully review the information on this website and/or attend an OPT Workshop
  2. Pay the $100 Practical Training Fee*.
  3. Submit to the International Student Services Office (ISSO):
    • OPT I-20 Request Form
    • Copy of completed USCIS Form I-765
    • If you had a previous OPT, a copy of previous EAD
  4. Within three business days you will be sent an email that the OPT I-20 is ready for pickup. You will receive the mailing instructions when you pick up the I-20.
  5. Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS.

*Due to the additional Practical Training requirements instituted by Homeland Security on April 8, 2008, UT Dallas students are required to pay a $100 Practical Training fee. This fee is separate from the USCIS application fee.

Reporting Requirements

Report all changes in name, address and employment throughout all periods of OPT. This is necessary to maintain your F-1 status and retain your permission to work.

Note: Changes of address reported on the OPT Employment Report Form affect only the SEVIS immigration system. To update your address in the student information system, do so through Galaxy (current students) or the Registrar’s Office (alumni).