Q. Can I do CPT while I'm waiting for my OPT approval?
A. No. CPT is only available prior to the completion of your degree program. If you have applied for OPT, it means you have completed your program already, therefore CPT is not available anymore.
Q. How long does it take to get authorization for OPT and when should I apply?
A. Average of 3-5 months. Because of that, MCC recommends (if you are sure about your program completion date) that you apply for the authorization well in advance of the date you wish to start working. You may apply up to 90 days before completion of studies and no later than 60 days after. Your application must be filed to USCIS within 30 days of the DSO signature on the Form I-20.
Q. Do I need to have a job or job offer to apply for OPT?
A. No. If you don't a job or offer yet. You can submit a personal explanation regarding how you are going to secure an employment that's directly connect to your major area of study (please see the sample here).
While on OPT
Q. What if I lose my employment in the middle of my OPT or never find a job after OPT is approved?
A. You must not be unemployed during OPT in total of 90 days. If you lost your job, please immediately update in SEVP portal and report to the DSO. If your unemployment accumulates equal or more than 90 days, your OPT may be terminated automatically.
Q. What type of status am I on during OPT?
A. F-1. OPT is not a different immigration status. A person with OPT authorization is still an F-1 Student holding an EAD for OPT.