Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus.
- You don't need a job to apply for OPT.
- Most students are eligible to apply for a total 12 months of OPT.
- You can use OPT during your program of study (pre-completion OPT) or after you complete your program of study (post-completion OPT).
- Students can use pre-completion OPT full time (at least 20 hours per week), or part time (less than 20 hours per week) and deduct it at a half time rate. Note that full time work is not permitted while school is in session.
- Post-completion employment must be full time (at least 20 hours per week).
- Students who remain in the U.S. to pursue a second higher degree may be eligible for an additional period of OPT (e.g. OPT after a BA and then OPT after a masters or PhD).
To be eligible for the initial 12 month OPT period, the student must:
- be a full-time registered student for at least one full academic year
- be physically present in the United States
- be maintaining valid F-1 status at the time of application
- intend to work or volunteer in a professional development opportunity directly related to the major field of study