Ask an OISS Advisor: OPT

I’m graduating in May and would like to apply for OPT – What do I need to do?
by Martha Turner, Director, International Student and Scholar Advising

ANSWER: The earliest that you can apply for OPT is February 20, 2017, and the latest is July 17, 2017.  However, before you can meet with your OISS advisor to apply, you need to attend an OPT workshop where you will get an overview of OPT and information about the application process. Please check the OISS Events Calendar at for information about the days and times of the OPT workshops offered during Spring semester.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It takes 90 days to receive the OPT card after you apply.
  • If you have a job offer, you should definitely apply soon after February 20th.
  • If you do not have a job offer, no worries; you can still apply for OPT even while you are still looking for a job.
  • If you are traveling outside the U.S. after graduation, you will need to have the OPT card in hand as well as a job offer and a valid F-1 entry visa in order to reenter the U.S.; therefore, applying early is important.

Each student’s situation is a bit different, which is where things can get complicated.  If you have questions, come meet one-on-one with your OISS advisor early in the semester so that you can time your application to fit your situation.


Send us your questions! “Ask an OISS Advisor” is a regular feature in the International Voice where OISS advisors answer questions that have been submitted by International Students and Scholars from Washington University. This means that we need your help! If you have a question that you would like to have answered in this column, please send it to us. It might be a question for which you don’t know the answer or it may be a particular issue that you have noticed causes confusion for many other international students. If you’re not sure if it’s a good question for this feature, go ahead and send it in, and we will decide. Please send your questions to the editor of the International Voice at: . Indicate if you prefer for your question to be anonymous.