Optional Practical Training (OPT)


  • Student must have been a full-time student for one full academic year and be in legal F-1 status.
  • Student must have a valid I-20 issued by Buffalo State College.
  • Student must have valid passport.
  • Student must meet the criteria for the category of OPT requested.

General Guidelines

  • OPT authorization must be based on the academic program reflected on the student’s current I-20.
  • A 12-month period of OPT is available per degree program as long as the subsequent degree(s) is at a higher educational level.
  • A job offer is not required to apply for OPT.
  • Post-completion OPT begin date must be within 60 days after date of completion.
  • A student loses eligibility for OPT if s/he fails to apply before completion date.
  • OPT applications must be processed for recommendation by the Office of International Student Affairs.
  • A student continues to hold F-1 status when authorized OPT.
  • A student with an application pending with INS for Post-Completion OPT should not depart the U.S. until the EAD has been received.
  • Students cannot graduate, depart the U.S. and return to apply for OPT.

Documents needed are as follows:

- Form I-765
- Photocopy of new SEVIS I-20 form with recommendation for Optional Practical Training on page 3
- $380.00 check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- I-94 copy
- Copy of last E.A.D. (if applicable)
- Photocopy of all previous I-20's
- Photocopy of biographical page (s) of passport
- Photocopy of most recent visa in passport
- 2 photos:
Photo Composition Checklist:
Frame subject with full face, front view, eyes open
Make sure photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin, height of head should measure 1 inch to 1 3/8 inch (25 mm to 35 mm).
Center head within frame.
Make sure eye level is between 1 1/8 inch to 1 3/8 inch (28 mm and 35 mm) from bottom of photo.
Photograph subject against a plain white or off-white background.
Position subject and lighting so that there are no distracting shadows on the face or background.
Encourage subject to have a natural expression.
Head Position & Background
Head should be positioned directly facing the camera.
Photo should capture from slightly above top of hair to middle of chest.
Eyes should be open and looking at the camera.
Eyeglasses should be worn if normally used by the subject.
Glare on eyeglasses can usually be avoided with a slight upward or downward tilt of the head.
Background should be plain white or off-white.
Include headpieces if worn daily for religious purposes; they should not obscure or cast shadows on the eyes or any other part of the face.
Encourage subject to have a natural expression.

Lightly print your name and A# (if known) on back of photos with pencil
- Academic Status Form signed by Academic Advisor or departmental Chair
- NSEERS registrants must include proof of registration

Mail the documents listed above to: 

    PO Box 660867
    Dallas, TX  75266

E-Notification:  If you want to receive an e-mail and/or a text message that your Form I-765 has been accepted at a USCIS Lockbox facility, complete
Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the first page of your application.


DHS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) upon approval of your application. A student must be in possession of the EAD before beginning employment.


Contact the Office of International Student Affairs regarding documentation required for reentry. Provide sufficient time (at least 2 weeks) for a reentry document to be processed in your behalf.