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Start and Completion Dates of OPT

Actual Date Practical Training Employment May Begin

You may not begin work until:

  1. You have obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS,
  2. The date is reached when the EAD authorizes employment to begin.


An F-1 student who is authorized by the USCIS to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT) is required to report any change of name or address or disruption of employment to OISS during the periods of authorized employment.

Importance of the Actual Date of Completion

Immigration regulations consider your program completion date to be the date you have fulfilled all requirements for a program of study, not the date you participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate or diploma. The service ignores your formal graduation date because it realizes that many students, especially graduate students, may complete requirements for a degree any time during the year.

Your lawful F-1 status expires 60 days after the date you complete degree requirements and you are expected to leave the country by that date unless you have filed an application for practical training or make other arrangements to lawfully remain in the U.S.

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