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Events
  • Creative Action and the Otis Radio class present weekly broadcasts each Monday.

  • Objects In Crisis is a series of two-person exhibitions by students in the Photography 3 class. 

     

    Exhbition 1--November 18-22:  Greg Toothacre and Lani De Soto

    Reception: Thursday, November 20 @ 6 pm

     

    Exhibition 2--December 2-6:  Allison Mogan and Tia Chen

    Reception:  Thursday, December 4 @ 6 pm

     

    Exhibition 3--December 8-12: Yijia Liu and Cara Friedman

  • Mary Alinder

    Dec 02| Lectures
    More

     

  • Professor Julia Czerniak is educated in both architecture and landscape architecture, and serves as Associate Dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. Through her own design practice, CLEAR, and most recently as the former inaugural Director of UPSTATE: Syracuse’s SOA’s Center for Design, Research and Real-Estate, Julia’s  research and practice draw on the intersection of landscape and architecture.

  • Alumni from Otis, Art Center, and CalArts are invited to celebrate the holidays at our second annual alumni holiday mixer. Eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy live music! Alumni are invited to bring a guest, but this event is closed to the public.

     

    RSVP by December 1

    www.CalArtsOtisArtCenter.eventbrite.com

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Optional Practical Training

OPT Overview

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary 12-month work authorization available to international students who have successfully completed at least two consecutive semesters with F-1 status. The employment must be related to the student's field of study. Temporary employment authorization is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

OPT can be taken during annual summer vacation, part-time during regular school session, after completion of course requirements or after completion of course of study.

 
Pre-OPT
  • Pre-Completion OPT is temporary employment available to F-1 students prior to completion of the course of study (i.e. prior to the program end date on the I-20).
  • The employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study and commensurate with the student’s education level.
  • Participation in Pre-Opt will cut into your Post-Opt. For example, if you use 6 months of Pre-OPT you will only have 6 months of OPT remaining that can be used after completion of your degree.
  • A student may be eligible for up to 12 months of OPT per degree level.
  • A student will become eligible for another 12 months of OPT when he/she completes a higher educational level i.e. Master’s, Ph.D.
  • A student must receive an EAD card from the USCIS Service Center and the start date on the EAD card must arrive before they may begin their OPT employment.

 

Post-Opt

Post-Completion OPT is temporary employment available to F-1 students following completion of the course of study (i.e. after the program end date on the I-20).

The employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study and commensurate with their education level.

  • A student may be eligible for up to 12 months of OPT per degree level.
  • A student will become eligible for another 12 months of OPT when he/she completes a higher educational level.
  • A student must receive an EAD card from the USCIS Service Center and the start date on the EAD card must arrive before they may begin their OPT employment.

 

How Does Pre-Completion OPT differ from Post-Completion OPT
  • Pre-Completion OPT occurs before the I-20 program end date. Otis will not shorten the I-20 program end date.
  • Days of unemployment do not accrue during Pre-Completion OPT.
  • A student may not be able to work full-time (see the section above).
  • If a student does not graduate by the program end date on their I-20, the student may request an F-1 Extension of Program.
  • Students are not eligible to apply for the STEM OPT Extension.
  • Students are not eligible for the H-1B CAP GAP fix.

 

Time Period

During the period of OPT, a student continues in F-1 status, since OPT is considered to be part of the program of study.

Pre-OPT:

  • A student who still has coursework remaining to complete his/her educational objective or degree program is limited to 20 hours per week of Pre-Completion OPT during the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • All students may apply for full-time Pre-Completion during annual vacation (summer) and other official school breaks.

 

Post-OPT:

A student may work full-time while on Post-OPT

  • For OPT purposes, your completion date is the day you complete your final degree requirements: Your completion date is considered to be the last day of final exams of the semester your degree requirements are fulfilled.
  • You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date to leave the U.S., change your status, or transfer your F-1 to a new school or program. Please keep your address information updated during this period as well (you are not allowed to work during the grace period).

 

Eligibility

You are eligible for Pre-OPT if:

  • An F-1 student who has completed full-time enrollment for at least one Fall and one Spring semester or who is within 90 days of doing so.
  • Students who work full-time for 12 months or more on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are not eligible for OPT.

 

You are eligible for Post-OPT if:

One year of OPT is available after completing each higher level degree program.  

 

Employment
  • A job offer is not required to apply for OPT. However, once you find a qualifying job, you must notify the CCP Office.
  • Unemployment is allowed for no more than 90 days.
  • For Post-OPT the employment may occur anywhere in the U.S.
  • No special permission is required to change employers or terminate your employment. However, you must notify the CCP Office of your unemployment and/or new employer's information using the OPT Reporting Form
  • Once you complete your degree, you cannot work on-campus or off-campus until you have the EAD in your possession and your chosen start date has arrived.

 

Employment may include:

You should be employed at least 20 hours per week. Regardless of your job title or how the position is classified, such as an "intern," "temp," "freelance contractor," "post-doc," etc., the following employment options are allowed:

 

  • Multiple employers: you may work in your field of study for more than one employer.
  • Short-term multiple employers (performing artists): musicians and other performing artists may work for multiple short-term employers (gigs). Keep a list of all positions, dates, and duration.
  • Work for hire: contract employment in your field of study
  • Self-employment: you may start a business and be self-employed in your field of study. You must have a business license and document your active engagement in business related to your degree.
  • Employment in your field of study through an agency or consulting firm.
  • Volunteer service: you may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern in your field of study, as long as this does not violate any labor laws.

 

OPT Reporting

Using the OPT Reporting form You are required to report your employment to the Center for Creative Professions with-in 90 days. Failure to do so will result in termination of record.

 

Travel & OPT

Pre-OPT:

If your pre-completion OPT application is pending or approved, you may travel and reenter the U.S. (However, please note that the USCIS sometimes sends a request for more information or for you to correct a problem with your documentation. These requests are sent by postal mail, so it might be difficult for you to respond if you are not inside the U.S. It is your application, so Otis College does not have the authority to respond for you.)

Post-OPT:

If your post-completion OPT application is pending, you may travel and re-enter the U.S. but you must carry your

  • I-797 Notice of Action
  • I-20 signed for travel by an international student adviser within the last 6 months
  • Valid passport
  • Unexpired F-1 visa

 

After graduation, if your post-completion OPT has been approved and your EAD issued, you may not re-enter the U.S. unless you have evidence of employment. You should carry the following documents with you:

  • I-20 signed for travel by an international student adviser within the last 6 months
  • EAD card*
  • Valid passport
  • Unexpired F-1 visa (unless you are Canadian or are returning from a short trip to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean)
  • Evidence of employment in your field of study (letter of employment, written job offer)

* On the EAD card, there is a statement "Not Valid For Reentry" which means that the EAD card alone is not a proof of your legal status to seek entry into the U.S.  You must have all of the documents mentioned above to be able to reenter the country.

Once the approved period of OPT has begun, time spent outside the U.S. will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits.  However, travel while employed either during a vacation authorized by an employer or as part of your employment will not count as unemployment. Please keep the CCP informed of any travel plans while on OPT that may affect your status.

If you have dependents in F-2 status who will travel without you, be sure they carry a photocopy of your EAD card and proof of your employment along with their updated F-2 I-20 that is properly signed for travel.

 

Study While on OPT

While approved for OPT you may take recreational courses, but if you begin a new degree program, your OPT is automatically terminated. 

 

After your Post-OPT Ends

Students who do not exceed 90/120 days of unemployment and report employment to the Center for Creative Professions as required are automatically granted a 60-day grace period after the end date listed on the EAD (Employment Authorization Document). Within this 60-day grace period, you have the following options: 

  • Depart the U.S. Once you leave the U.S. (including trips to Canada and Mexico) after completing your studies and OPT period, you are not eligible to reenter with your current I-20. The grace period is meant for travel within the states and preparation to depart the U.S.
  • Request a new I-20 if you will continue at Otis College in a new degree program. If you are an undergraduate and will begin graduate studies, your new I-20 will be issued by the Graduate School you choose.
  • Transfer your SEVIS record to a new school.
  • Apply to change status to another visa category.

 

Application Deadlines

It can take the USCIS three to five months to issue the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that allows you to begin working on OPT. There is no way to expedite an application.

Once the OPT application is submitted to the USCIS, it is very difficult to change or cancel the application.

Pre-OPT:

Students may apply up to 120 days prior to their requested Pre-Completion OPT start date as long as they are within 90 days of attaining a complete academic year of full-time enrollment or they have already attained it.

 

Post-OPT:

The earliest you can apply for OPT is 90 days before your "completion date." The latest date the USCIS will accept your application is 60 days after your completion date. In addition, OPT applications must be submitted to USCIS within 30 days of receiving an OPT I-20 from the Center for Creative Professions Office.

 
HOW TO APPLY

Please read the following instructions carefully. The OPT application belongs to you. Otis does not approve the application or have the authority to influence the process. If there is a request for information or to correct a problem,  it is your responsibility to respond. Please note that if you choose to travel, it could be difficult to respond to requests from USCIS about your application.

  • Attend a Mandatory OPT Workshop (see schedule)
  • Complete your OPT Request Form. (See below for details.)
  • Submit OPT Request Form and supporting documents to the Center for Creative Professions. (See below for details.)
  • Pick up your OPT I-20 from the Center for Creative Professions and mail to USCIS. (See below for details.)

 

STEP 1: Application Procedure
  1. Attend an OPT workshop -MANDATORY
  2. Complete and submit an OPT Request Form to the Center for Creative Professions
  3. Complete and bring a copy of your Petition for Graduation (Post OPT Applicants Only)
  4. Complete form I-765 Make sure to use the latest version of Form I-765, to use the appropriate eligibility code on question # 16 on Form I-765 and to sign Form I-765. The
  5. appropriate eligibility codes for question #16 on Form I-765 are listed here:                 Pre-Completion OPT: ( c ) ( 3 ) ( A )                      Post-Completion OPT: ( c ) ( 3 ) ( B )
  6. Make a photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card--or, if you do not have an I-94 card, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at CBP.gov/I94
  7. Picture ID: 1) Photocopy of your last EAD (front and back) or, 2) Federal Government-issued identity document, such as a passport; visa issued by a foreign consulate; birth certificate with photo id; national id document with photo and/or fingerprint.
  8. 2 color photos on white background (The photos should be approximately 2” x 2”. Write your name and I-94 number on the back of each photo in case they get separated from your application)
  9. Check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $380.00
  10. Obtain a new OPT I-20 from the Center for Creative Professions. Please contact DSO, Lusine Balikyan
  11. Make Photocopies of all prior I-20 forms (pages 1 and 3) and a photocopy of your new OPT I-20
  12. Completed G-1145 Form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application's arrival at USCIS)
 
STEP 2: Submit and Review your OPT Application Package with Center for Creative Professions

Please contact DSO, Lusine Balikyan to make an appointment with the Center for Creative Professions,  to review your OPT and supporting documents. CCP will inform you of any missing documents or changes that need to be made to the I-765, and you will be issued a new, updated I-20 with an OPT recommendation printed on the back of the page. Your OPT submission package to USCIS must include:

  • I-765 Application
  • I-94 Photocopy or Printout
  • Picture ID Photocopy (Visa, Passport, etc.)
  • 2 color photos on white background (approximately 2” x 2”) with your I-94 number written on the back of each
  • Check or Money Order ($380)
  • Photocopies of all prior I-20 forms (pages 1 and 3) and a photocopy of your new OPT I-20 (page 1 and 3)

 

STEP 3: Mail your Application to USCIS

It is YOUR responsibility to mail application and supporting documents to appropriate USCIS:

  1. Review your checklist and your application to make sure it is completed
  2. Sign your OPT endorsed I-20 at the bottom of page 1 before photocopying it and mailing it to USCIS
  3. Mail your application within 30 days of the new OPT endorsed I-20 being issued. Late applications will be denied by USCIS.
  • DO NOT mail your original passport, I-94, or I-20
  • DO NOT have your I-797 or EAD card mailed to Otis...You must have these documents sent to your current mailing address.
  • It is recommended that you send your application by certified mail, return receipt requested

 

For U.S.  Postal Service Deliveries

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox (USPS) deliveries:

USCIS

PO Box 21281

Phoenix, AZ 85036

or

Express mail and courier service deliveries:

USCIS

Attn: AOS

1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S

Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034

 

After You Mail Your OPT Application to USCIS

USCIS will send you a receipt notice (I-797 Notice of Action) confirming receipt of your OPT application, assigning a "receipt date," and assigning a case number. Carefully review the notice to make sure your name is spelled correctly. If it is not, contact the Center for Creative Professions immediately.

You may use the case number on your receipt notice to check the status of your application online. It is normal for your case status to say "pending" for most of the 2-3 month processing period.

You may not begin employment until USCIS approves the OPT application and you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

 

OPT Reporting

Using the OPT Reporting form you are required to report your employment to the Center for Creative Professions with-in 90 days. Failure to do so will result in termination of record.