Immigration Advising

Optional Practical Training - Rules and Regulations

New OPT Regulations! Students must report any change of address and employment information while on OPT. Students will go out of status when unemployed for more than 90 days while on OPT . You may update your status online at our OPT information update page.

Some students are also now eligible to extend their OPT status.
NIU Majors that can extend OPT
Information on Extending your OPT


Employment authorization time line. The student may not begin working until he/she has been approved for OPT and until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document (EAD card).The total amount of optional practical training can not exceed a maximum of twelve months. An F-1 student who has an offer from an employer may not accept employment until he/she has been issued an EAD card.

Traveling abroad while on OPT. Students who leave the US and wish to reenter using while on post-completion optional practical training must show their I-20, EAD card, and letter from employer to reenter the country. If the student is out of the country for more than six months, then they will be ineligible to return to the US using their EAD and I-20.

Termination of practical training. Optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level.