|Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary work authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical off-campus work experience in the student’s field of study for a maximum duration of one year per educational level.
Students may use some or all of the available 12 months of practical training during their course of study or save the full twelve months to use after completion of program. Authorization for optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS - and can take at least 90 days and frequently up to 120 days to obtain. It is important that students apply for the authorization at the earliest possible date through International Services.
In order to apply for OPT, F-1 students must be in full time student status for at least one full academic year preceding the submission of the OPT application, be maintaining valid F-1 status at the time of the application, and intend to work in a position directly related to your major field of study.
Reporting Your OPT Employment
OPT Extension Rule and H1-B Cap Gap
How to apply
Students are required to complete an OPT Workshop to obtain instructions and application material. Please view the OPT Workshop Guide (pdf)and complete the quiz at the end (Requires Adobe Flash). Once you have successfully completed the quiz, you will be able to access all forms necessary to file the application.
When to apply
- Students applying for OPT prior to completion of studies can submit the application 120 days prior to the desired start date or 90 days prior to being enrolled for one full academic year.
- Students applying for OPT based on completion of an academic program can submit the application 90 days prior to the date of completion. For most students the date of completion coincides with the date of graduation.
- Applications for OPT following completion of studies must be filed prior to the end of the 60 day grace period following graduation.
- Students applying for the STEM Extension, may apply 120 days prior to the end of the initial 12 months of OPT.