Critical Time Frames & Dates

80-100 days: To process applications and complete the authorization process.

90 days: Days after receipt notice that I can request OPT card to be expedited.

90 days: Cumulative number of days you may be unemployed until you have to leave the country. Note that when you do voluntary work related to your degree program, the work counts as unpaid employment and does not affect this 90-day clock.

12 months: Amount of time you may work full-time on OPT.

20 hours: Amount of time in a week you must work or volunteer in your major field of study to be considered employed.

10 days: If your employment is terminated or interrupted in some way and no more than 10 days passes in between starting a new job, no time will be deducted from the 90-day clock.

February 18, 2013: Recommended date to apply for OPT in order to receive your temporary work authorization card by the time you graduate.

July 18, 2013: This is the last date that you can choose to start OPT. You must return home if you do apply for OPT, unless you are enrolled to begin a graduate school program in the fall.