Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that is related to an F-1 student’s academic program. The work done does not count towards course credit; therefore, it is the student’s option to apply for OPT. OPT may be used during a degree program as well as after completion of course requirements. The application process takes approximately 3 months for both initial applications and renewals.
For further information, please go to the USCIS F-1 Optional Practical TRaining (OPT) website.
You must have been lawfully enrolled full-time for 1 academic year with a valid F-1 visa to apply for optional practical training (OPT). While on OPT, the work you will perform must directly relate to your major area of study. If you are starting a business, the majority of the work you perform must be directly related to your major area of study.
An F-1 student may be authorized up to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training at each educational level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate). If the student chooses to engage in pre-completion OPT, he or she may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, but may work full-time during his or her annual vacation and other times when the school is not in session. If a student engages in pre-completion OPT, the student’s eligible period of post-completion OPT will be reduced by 1 month for every 2 months of part-time pre-completion OPT that is worked when he or she graduates.
For post completion OPT the application must be submitted 90 days prior or 60 days after the completion of your program or before the ending date of your I-20, whichever comes first. The start date of the OPT must be within 60 days of your program completion. Therefore, please plan beforehand and consult with the school in advance.
Bring the following documents to the Administrator of Student Services:
The OPT card is approved for a specific beginning and ending date: Please have these dates ready to give to the Administrator of Student Services.
Evidence of Employment must be completed by the employer and include the following information:
If you have any questions or need further information in regards to optional practical training, please contact the Administrator of Student Services.