Travel and Visa / Travel on OPT
If you have been authorized for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and wish to travel, you will need the following documents to re-enter the U.S:
According to the December 15, 2004 Operating Instructions from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), there are new provisions and interpretations of the regulation 8CFR 214.2(f)(13)(ii) which states that: "An F-1 student who has an unexpired EAD issued for post-completion practical training and who is otherwise admissible may return to the United States to resume employment after a period of temporary absence. The EAD must be used in combination with an I-20 endorsed for reentry by the DSO within the last six months."
This rule applies only to Post-Completion OPT, not pre-completion OPT. The new interpretations also address the issue of departure and reentry while OPT I-765 is pending. The SEVP provided the following answers to these two questions:
Yes, you may reenter to search for employment.
(i) If your OPT has been approved and you depart before you get a job, your OPT ends and you cannot reenter.
(ii) If you have a job, you may travel and reenter to resume work at the same job.
The following documents are required for re-entry:
If your visa has already expired, you must apply for a new visa before you return to the U.S. Please note that travel is especially risky if you have to apply for an F-1 visa based on Optional Practical Training as you have to prove that you do NOT intend to stay in the U.S. beyond OPT.
Students with both an EAD for Post-Completion OPT and a job or a job offer should not experience difficulty reentering the U.S. If either of these two conditions is missing, then students are traveling at their own risk.