Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is an option for F-1 students to gain work experience in their major. CPT can be authorized for two full semesters (fall or spring) and one summer per student. To learn more about CPT you can open the CPT request in your International Student Portal or schedule an appointment with one of our IPM/SEVIS Advisors by visiting our Staff Profiles page.
On-Campus Employment

Students are allowed to work on-campus for no more than 20 hours per week, except during summer and holidays, then full time is permitted. As a new student, your on-campus employment can begin no sooner than 30 days prior to the start of classes.

To find a job on campus, you must reach out to different departments on campus to see who may be hiring. Some examples include: working as a safety aide, in the cafeteria, library, computer, math, writing, and tutoring labs, or even in the Office of International Education!

Departments Hiring On Campus

Berkeley City College Learning Resources Center

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT Application Periods:

Final Semester Program End Date OPT Application Opens OPT Application Closes
Spring/Summer July 31st March 1st

August 1st

Fall December 31st October 1st January 1st

OPT Employment Resources

While you are on OPT, you are required to report your employment related to your course of study within 10 days of being hired and are not permitted to be out of employment for more than 90 total days during your approved OPT period. Please report your employment in the SEVP Portal. OPT Data Report (12-20-19)

Peralta Career/Employment Services
Peralta Career Contacts

Berkeley City College:

College of Alameda:

Laney College:

Merritt College:

Employment Search Resources

OPT Employment Workshops

OPT Application Process

Apply in the International Student Portal (ISP)
  1. First, log into your international student portal.
  2. Once logged in, click on Student Requests & Documents and scroll down to click on the OPT Request icon on the right. If you do not see the request you might be outside the time when OPT applications are open. Please read through the application process carefully.
  3. If you are interested in applying for PRE-COMPLETION OPT instead, please indicate that on your OPT request in ISP.
Petition to Graduate

If you are in your final semester, congratulations on completing your Program! If you have not done so already, please be sure to complete the Petition to Graduate form and have it signed by your counselor. You will need to upload a copy of the signed Petition to GPS to verify you are completing your Program. The original will need to be submitted to the Admissions and Records offic.

The form will look like this:

For AA/AS degrees 
For Petition for Certificate of Achievement/Completion/Skills Certificates

Also, please make sure your major is updated correctly in the PASSPORT Student Center (a counselor can assist with this if it is not accurate). This will also make sure the major on your I-20 is accurate.

Documents Required

Please fill out OPT Request by answering the questions and click Done and Read through OPT Training Rules and Regulations and Travel information.

You will also need to attach the following documents to your OPT Application Record in GPS:

  1. Petition to Graduate signed by a counselor. (Please contact Todd Shima, international counselor at for assistance)
  2. A completed I-765 application (For Question #27, use (C) (3) (B) for Post-Completion OPT)-
  3. Your most recent I-94 (which can be downloaded here:

Please email Thomas Torres-Gil once you upload it to ISP and you will then receive a new I-20 with directions for filing and all the documents you will need to mail.

Once you have done so, here are the documents you will need to collect in order to file for OPT:

Once Approved for OPT

You will receive an email with instructions on creating an SEVP Portal account. This email will come from If you do not see the email, check your spam or junk mail folder. If you still do not see it, contact Thomas Torres-Gil to have the email sent again.

Try this link if you don’t get the email:

The SEVP Portal will allow you to update your employment information which you are required to report. As a reminder, while you are on OPT, you are required to report your employment related to your course of study within 10 days of being hired and are not permitted to be out of employment for more than 90 total days during your approved OPT period.

On the SEVP portal, you may also:

  • View details about your post-completion OPT.
  • Report changes to your address, telephone, and employer information.
  • View and update data on all your employers in one place.

Any data updates you make in the portal will be sent directly to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

Please email Thomas Torres-Gil once you update your employment information so he can create a new I-20 for you.

When OPT is Completed

You will have several options to consider:

  • Transfer out to another school – You will need to submit a letter of acceptance and complete our transfer out process so that we can transfer you out before the date your 60-day grace period will end. Please keep in mind that your new program must begin within 5 months of your OPT End Date.
  • You may also re-apply to our colleges for the next available term. To do so, you must re-apply to our college by our transfer deadline. Please follow the instructions on the How to Apply page to apply as a transfer student, and make an appointment with one of our admissions staff by visiting our Staff Profiles page to see what is required to return and inform them of your decision to return to our college.
  • The final option is for you to return to your home country or submit documentation to our office informing us of a change of status. Please complete our Departure process in your GPS account for these options.

If no action is taken, your I-20 will be automatically completed 60 days after your OPT End date.

Health Insurance for OPT Students


Post-Completion OPT:

While on Post-Completion OPT you will not be automatically enrolled in the Peralta Health Insurance Plan. You may choose to enroll and pay for the plan separately by visiting your home campus link below and selecting OPT Enrollment.

Berkeley City College | College of Alameda | Laney College | Merritt College

You must do this within 30 days of the end of my coverage date or you will be ineligible. You also will be responsible for any gaps in coverage.


Pre-Completion OPT:

While on Pre-Completion OPT, you WILL be automatically enrolled into the Peralta Health Insurance plan. You may apply for a Health Insurance Waiver if you believe you meet the conditions for a Health Insurance Waiver.