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Practical Training Indicators and Dates

Last updated: June 17, 2020

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On the Actual OPT Start date, the student’s SEVIS record displays an indicator to show that the student is in an active period of authorized OPT or practical training.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

The active OPT/practical training indicator applies to both F-1 OPT and M-1 practical training. For ease of discussion, in this section only the term OPT will be used, but should be understood to include F-1 OPT, as well as M-1 practical training.

Note: The indicator only displays for active OPT; not if the actual OPT date end is in the past.

Example: OPT Status Indicator in a List
Example: OPT Status Indicator in a List

Note: When the OPT status indicator appears in a list, it is a dark dot in the first column [Active] of the table.

Example: OPT Status Indicator on the Student Information Page
Example: OPT Status Indicator on the Student Information Page

Note: The OPT Status indicator on the Student Information page is highlighted text, which clearly states the types of Active OPT:

OPT Type Student Status
Active Pre-Completion OPT The student is in a period of approved OPT, while studying towards the degree.
Active Post-Completion OPT The student is in a period of approved OPT and the work permission starts after the Program End Date listed in SEVIS; or for a student in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for degree (excluding thesis or the equivalent).
Active 17-month OPT 
  • The student is working following an approved 17-month extension of post-completion OPT.
  • This type of OPT is also known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Active Cap-Gap OPT The student’s OPT was extended, because an employer filed a qualifying H-1B cap-subject petition with USCIS.
Understanding the Three Sets of OPT Dates

 

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

The OPT dates apply to both F-1 OPT and M-1 practical training. For ease of discussion, in this section only the term OPT will be used, but should be understood to include F-1 OPT, as well as M-1 practical training.

SEVIS displays three different sets of OPT-related dates:

  • DSO Recommended [dates]
  • USCIS-Approved [OPT dates]
  • Actual [OPT dates}
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Type of OPT Date Description Entering into SEVIS/Constraints
DSO-Recommended OPT Start Date The date the student wants OPT to begin.
  • DSO enters this date into SEVIS.
  • For Post-Completion OPT, this date cannot be earlier than the Program End Date.
DSO-Recommended OPT End Date The date the student wants OPT to end – or no more than 365 days from the DSO Recommended Start Date.
  • DSO enters this date into SEVIS. 
  • For Pre-Completion OPT, this date cannot be after the Program End Date.
USCIS-Approved OPT Start Date The date OPT is authorized to begin.
  • Reflected on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • Received from USCIS via interface and automatically noted in SEVIS.
USCIS-Approved OPT End Date The date OPT is authorized to end.
  • Reflected on the EAD.
  • Received from USCIS via interface and automatically noted in SEVIS.
Actual OPT Start Date The date OPT actually begins.
  • SEVIS populates this field. 
  • By default, it is the same date as the USCIS-Approved Start Date.
Actual OPT End Date The date OPT legally ends
  • SEVIS populates this field. 
  • Initially, it is the same as the USCIS-Approved End Date.
  • It is modified to reflect:
    • Transfer Release Date — when the student transfers to another school.
    • Registration Date — when the student changes their educational level.
    • Program completion
    • Cap-Gap extension, if a qualifying H-1B cap-subject petition was filed with USCIS.

NOTE: SEVIS does not change the Actual OPT End Date, if a reinstatement, data fix, or correction request is approved. Call the SEVIS Help Desk (1-800-892-4829) for a data fix, if needed.

 

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.

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