What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status are permitted by the USCIS to work towards getting practical training to complement their field of studies once they have completed their program of studies.
“Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. 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). However, all periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT.” (from USCIS)
To learn more about OPT, you can visit the OPT information section on the USCIS Website
Students are allowed to apply in their last semester of study 90 DAYS prior to the end of their last semester in their program and up to 60 DAYS after completing their program
In order to be eligible for OPT, F-1 students must:
- currently be in valid F-1 status
- have applied for graduation prior to Post-Completion OPT request.
- be physically present in the United States at the time of application
- have completed two semesters of full-time enrollment prior to Pre or Post-Completion OPT request
This is a time line that shows all the steps within the OPT process, from application to completion. These steps are crucial for a successful and uneventful OPT experience! PLEASE take them into account ALWAYS!
90 DAYS BEFORE YOUR LAST DAY OF CLASS
ONCE YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL/YOUR EAD
WHEN YOU GET A JOB
IF YOU CHANGE JOBS:
IF YOU ARE IN A STEM FIELD AND WANT TO EXTEND OPT
|90 DAYS BEFORE YOUR OPT ENDS:
More important information
- Company’s Job Description: This is the your job description as provided by your company.
- Useful Information on the SEVP Portal Use
- 24-Month STEM OPT Extension Information
- Off-Campus Employment Due to Severe Economic Hardship
- OPT to CPT: Important Information
- Additional Useful Information-OPT Information Sheet
VERY IMPORTANT! Non-immigrant students must remember to report employer information related to Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Without this information, students could be viewed as having failed to obtain employment and potentially be considered out of status for exceeding permissible periods of unemployment while participating in OPT
MANDATORY FOR ALL THOSE WHO RECEIVE THEIR EAD CARD