Optional Practical Training, commonly referred to as OPT, is one type of temporary work permission directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study.

Authorized by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, OPT allows an international student to get real work experience. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion).

Complex rules, timelines, and guidance apply to the proper filing of the OPT application, which is the responsibility of the individual student. Information on this website is available to assist students when filing for OPT and is intended for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Students should refer to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services directly for specifics about Optional Practical Training for F-1 Students and requirements to complete the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Practical Training Workshops

International Services offers monthly workshops for interested students detailing the requirements and application process for interested students and advisors.

Training Opportunities in the United States

The United States allows eligible international students and new graduates the opportunity to gain on-the-job-learning that supplements knowledge gained in their academic studies.

Types of OPT

All OPT must be directly related to your major area of study. The following types of OPT are available for an eligible F-1 student.

Work authorization used before the student’s program end date, part-time during the academic semester / full-time during the summer. A student must be in valid F-1 status for one year at a degree-seeking level, and has not used all OPT available at the current level of study to be eligible. No offer of employment is required to apply. Part-time pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12-month cumulative limit at a 50% rate.

Work authorization after the student’s program end date. This type of employment must be full-time. A student must be in valid F-1 status for one year at a degree-seeking level, has not used all OPT available at the current level of study, and has not been authorized for 12 months or more of full-time CPT to be eligible. No offer of employment is required. Part-time pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12-month cumulative limit at a 50% rate.

A 24-month extension to an eligible student’s active OPT. A student must have a qualifying paid job with an E-Verify Employer for at least 20 hours per week, and received an initial grant of OPT employment authorization based on a qualifying STEM Designated Degree.

An F-1 student with a timely filed H-1B petition and change of status request may be eligible for an extension of employment authorization through September 30. F-1 students who have entered the 60-day grace period are not eligible for this extension of employment but will receive the automatic extension of their F-1 status.

USCIS Regulatory Resources

Employment authorization is adjudicated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please refer to these government resources for eligibility and application procedures.
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