Optional Practical Training (OPT) Information

U.S. Regulations offer Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities to eligible students. While on OPT, students gain hands-on experience in the field of their major for up to 12 months. At Palomar College, students may request the recommendation for their post completion OPT application as they become ready to graduate with the Associate Degree and/or the Certificate of Achievement.

What is OPT?  Click here to read.

Eligibility for OPT.

How do I Apply For OPT? 

  1. Read the “What is OPT” presentation, above.
  2. Complete the form I-765 online and then print. See instructions for I-765 here.
  3. Get two head-shot photographs in accordance with USCIS Photo Requirements
  4. Make a Zoom meeting appointment to see the Coordinator of International Education for your recommendation via email at yoneill@palomar.edu. If you have questions, please write them down before your appointment.
  5. At the time of the appointment, have the following documents:
    • Completed I-765 form (7 pages). 
    • Copies of all the I-20 forms ever issued to you
    • Copy of Passport ID page
    • Copy of F1 Visa
    • 2 photographs – passport size
    • Current I-94 information, I94 – Official Website (dhs.gov)
    • A check or money order in the amount of $410* made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  6. Shortly after the zoom meeting, you will receive your updated I-20 form with OPT application via email.
  7. Take the OPT packet to the post office. At the counter, request a return receipt and mail the packet to:

    USCIS Chicago Lockbox
    U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
    Attn: I-765 C03
    P.O. Box 805373
    Chicago, IL 60680-5374

  8. While your application is pending:
  • Avoid moving to a new place, if possible
  • If you have to move, please email your new address to us at internationalstudents@palomar.edu. 
  • When you receive the form I-797C (Notice of Action) from the service center, please email a copy of the form to the Office if International Education.