Getting Started

You may not begin to work until you: 1) receive your EAD card and 2) reach the start date on your EAD card. Please be aware that your start date may be slightly different from the date you originally requested. You can stay in the U.S. until you receive your EAD card.


If you need to check the status of your OPT application, please visit USCIS Case Status. The Office of International Education may not be able to provide much more information than what is on the USCIS website. Below, please find some things to consider at the beginning of your time on OPT. If you would like to share additional information with your potential employer, please share these employment guidelines

US Health Insurance

If you graduated in Spring, your health insurance will end on July 31 of your graduation year.  Please obtain US Health Insurance if you plan to do OPT.  Generally speaking (although there are case-by-case variations), if you are considered a 'resident alien' for tax purposes, the Affordable Care Act enables the IRS to issue you a fine if you do not have health insurance.  You can determine whether you are a resident alien here (scroll down to the part of the page for student visa holders students). Please consider different insurance plans to determine which one is best for you. If you would like suggestions for where to look, please contact internationaleducation@mica.edu.

Keep Your Information Up to Date

F1 visa holders on OPT are required by US law to report employment information and changes within 10 days of any changes in the SEVP Portal.   Failure to report your employer information will result in your F-1 status being automatically terminated by the US Government. You should receive an email about the SEVP Portal close to your start date. Login as soon as you can before your access to the Portal expires! 

International Travel on OPT

Travel signatures are only valid for 6 months while you're on OPT. If you plan to travel internationally while you are on OPT, please remember to request a travel signature from International Education in advance. Also, make sure to travel with a letter from your employer that shows the dates and purpose of travel. Travel signatures will be done digitally and emailed to you until further notice. 


When you reach 90 total days of unemployment during your authorized work time, your OPT will be cancelled, and you should plan to leave the U.S. immediately. If you have difficulty leaving the country at that time, please feel free to contact International Education.