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View the Center for International Education Message to International Students and Parents here.

In light of Campus closure and as a precautionary measure regarding COVID-19, employees in the Center for International Education are working remotely in an effort to support our campus community. Staff is working diligently to respond as quickly as possible to all inquiries. The center is also maintaining the international emergency phone at 970-567-9572. University-wide updates will be published to the UNC COVID-19 information page or view international student & scholar information here. 

Applied for or Approved for OPT

  • I applied, now what

    To check on the progress of your application, go to https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/mycasestatus.do, type in your receipt number (i.e., LIN0123456789). This site is updated when applications are processed, and states the mailing date EAD’s or requests for information.  While it is helpful, we do find that it is not always up to date.

  • Am I still a student during OPT

    While on OPT you are still in F-1 status and you must still maintain ties with the University of Northern Colorado and CIE as your SEVIS record remains active through us.

  • I got my receipt or EAD in the mail, does CIE need a copy

    Yes.  Please be sure to get us a copy of any document you receive from USCIS regarding your OPT application & approval.

  • Can I take a trip after I applied for OPT

    Travel and reentry after applying for OPT:
    Prior to graduation, travel is the same as before you applied for OPT, except that the travel signature on your I-20 cannot be more than 6 months old when you return.
    After you finish your program, you may travel while your application for OPT is pending, although it is not advisable. If you decide to travel while OPT is pending, you will need to carry with you a copy of your receipt notice for reentry into the U.S.  If your OPT is approved while you are away, you will need your EAD card and a job to return to.

    Once your OPT has been approved, carry:

    • OPT I-20, signed within the 6 months
    • valid EAD (OPT card)
    • valid F-1 visa
    • valid passport
    • letter of employment or other proof of employment
  •  I got my card, can I work now

    Once your application is approved, USCIS will issue you an EAD. Submit a scanned copy of your EAD card to CIE.

    You may begin working when

    • you have received the EAD card (you may not begin employment if your OPT has been approved but you have not yet received the EAD in the mail).
    • and the start date on the card has been reached.

    Any employment must be directly related to your major field of studies. Other employment (Uber, Lyft, or other supplimental employment) is unauthorized and is a substantive violation of your status.

  • What else do I need to do

    You will receive an email from SEVP on the day your OPT authorization starts to create your SEVP Portal account for OPT reporting. 

    EMAIL SUBJECT:  Optional Practical Training Approval - the next step. Create an SEVP Portal account.

    Follow the instructions carefully to create your SEVP Portal account.  You will use the SEVP Portal to comply with reporting requirements during OPT.

    For more information on the SEVP Portal see the Study in the States website.

  •  The SEVP Portal

    As of March 23, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will require students on F-1 OPT to update the mandatory SEVIS reporting requirements of personal and employment changes through the SEVP Portal, including initial employment.

    SEVP Portal communications will be sent to your primary and preferred email in Ursa. Make sure that your primary and preferred email address is up to date at the time of your OPT application. 

  • What do I need to report

    Within 10 days of any change, report an/all

    Changest to your name or address (mailing or physical)

    Employer (name)

    Start date

    End date

    Employer address

    Description of how this position is related to your field of studies.
    Starting, ending, or changing details of any employment, including "volunteer" activities that count as employment during post-completion OPT

  • What if I decide I don't want to do OPT after all

    If you decide you do not want to participate in OPT, before you are approved, you can withdraw your OPT request with USCIS.  Your fees will not be refunded.

    If you decide during your authorized period that you want to depart the United States with no further participation in OPT, please let your immigration advisor know, and provide your departure date.  After you leave, your SEVIS record will be updated to reflect your departure and appropriate completion of your OPT.

  • Can I start on my new degree

    OPT ends when you begin a new program of studies, whether or not it is full time and whether or not you actually transfer your SEVIS I-20 record to a new school or get a new level I-20 from UNC.  You should never enroll in a program of studies (except avocational or recreational) during OPT.