What is Optional Practical Training?

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) permits students to obtain paid, full-time, professional work related to their field of study for a maximum of 12 months after completion of the degree. You can only start working on the “start date" on the Employment Authorization (EAD) Card. You do not need a job to receive authorization. Optional Practical Training is available to students following each level of education.


  1. Registered student in F1 status
  2. Must have been registered at Springfield College full time for at least one academic year.
  3. Must complete all requirements for the degree
  4. Employment must be related to your field of study

Applying for OPT

  • Begin the application procedure before graduation and no more than 120 before completion. Begin the process early. It can take 6-8 weeks to receive your EAD card.
  • Bring the following documents to the International Center for review.
    • Completed and signed Form I-765, downloadable here
    • Current I-20 and copies of all previously issued I-20s
    • Two copies of your I-94 card, front and back
    • Two copies of identification page in passport, and renewal page
    • Two copies of any previous EADs you have received (if any)
    • Two copies of visa page in passport (Canadian students are exempt from this requirement)
    • Two “green card" style photographs (full frontal color photographs). Be sure to write your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo lightly in pencil.
  • The International Center will issue you a new I-20 and will return all the above documents
  • Mail a money order for $175 made out to "US Citizenship and Immigration Services," the original form I-765, copy of I-94 both sides, copies of any previous EAD documents, copy of identification page in passport and renewal page, copy of visa page in passport (non-Canadian), and the two photographs along with to the following address. Be sure to send these documents by certified mail with a return receipt.

    US Department of Homeland Security
    Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Vermont Service Center
    75 Lower Welden Street
    St. Albans, VT 05479

Things to Remember

  • The Vermont Service Center will issue the EAD. You cannot begin employment until you receive this card.
  • Once you begin work, you must report any change of address to the International Center.
  • Make a copy of your EAD card and send or fax it along with your Employer/Company name and address to the International Center. The card can be faxed to (413) 749-3019.