Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Travel

F-1 students are allowed to travel after applying for OPT, but the student must show specific documentation upon re-entry to the United States depending upon the status of your OPT application and job situation.

While your OPT application is pending

Waiting for approval and issue of EAD card, you will need to show the following documents upon re-entry to the US at the Port of Entry:

After your OPT is approved

After you have received your EAD card, you are only allowed to re-enter the United States to resume or continue employment.

To re-enter the U.S. after OPT has been approved, you will need to present the following documentation at the Port of Entry:

Important

You can not apply for a new F-1 visa stamp abroad (the one in your passport for Travel Purposes) until your OPT has been approved.

Time spent outside the United States will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits. If a student travels while employed either during a period of leave authorized by an employer or as part of their employment, the time spent outside the United States will not count as unemployment.

If you have applied for a 17-month OPT STEM extension, and your current EAD card has expired, you can NOT travel outside the United States, even if employed, until the new EAD card is received.