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F-1 OPT Recommendation Request Form Explained

Below are detailed instructions on how to fill out the OPT Recommendation Request form if you are applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The only items highlighted on this form are those that students commonly have questions on or are confused about. Please review each item carefully to ensure your your form is filled out correctly. Each item discussed is highlighted in the image as to where it appears on the actual OPT Recommendation Request Form. We recommend you fill out the pdf online and then print the form to sign it once completed. Be sure to sign the form in blue ink.


Complete all of section A.

The expected completion date for most students is the last day of classes and exams for the semester. For example the last day of the Fall 2012 semester is 12/21/2012. For GSAS Ph.D. students, please see the special note in the application procedure section here. If you are unsure, confirm with your academic advisor, dean, department chair, or program coordinator.

Expected Completion Date

When requesting a recommendation, select pre-completion OPT if the proposed work will happen prior to you finishing your degree. Select post-completion OPT if the proposed work will happen after finishing your degree.

Select Pre or Post OPT

When selecting the dates to work you have a few options:
If applying for pre-completion OPT, your start and end-dates should be the specific dates you would like to work. For example if your planned employment is from 05/22/2013 to 08/31/2013, you will want to choose these dates.

If applying for post-completion OPT, your start date can be anywhere from on day after your completion date to 60 days after your completion date. For example, if your completion date is 12/21/2012, your start date can be anywhere from 12/22/2012 to 2/20/2013. Your end-date is dependent on the remaining OPT time you have.

You are eligible for one year of OPT per academic level. Please take into consideration any previous OPT time taken at the educational level listed on your I-20 when selecting your end-date.

Enter Begin and End Date

Select whether or not you have applied for OPT before.

If you have previously been issued OPT at ANY educational level, enter information on this here.


Enter previous OPT information here.

Read these statements carefully and then check each box after reading to confirm that you have read and understand the contents.

Read each statement carefully and confirm you understand contents.

Don’t forget to sign and date here.

Sign and Date

Section B should be completed in its entirety by your department chair, academic advisor, or program coordinator.

Section B to be completed by your advisor.

Want to figure out your
OPT time?

Use our OGS Student OPT Calculator to determine how much time you have left or when you can do OPT.

Download here.

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