Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Eligible Visas:
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f1students

Introduction

F-1 students who plan to work in the U.S. can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a temporary employment authorization that provides an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. Most students are eligible to apply for a total of 12 months of OPT at each higher degree level (e.g. OPT after a Bachelors degree and then OPT after a Masters degree or Ph.D.). You do not need to have a job offer before applying for OPT.

To be eligible OPT, the student must be enrolled full-time 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, and intend to work or volunteer in a professional development opportunity directly related to the major field of study.

After determining when you can apply, the overall OPT process is as follows:

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Collect your passport, I-20, I-94, all previous I-20s, and any previous OPT (EAD) cards.

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Online OPT Workshop

Complete the appropriate online OPT workshop for summer internships or work after graduation. Choose below between the Pre-Completion or Post-Completion workshop, depending upon when you will start OPT.

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At the end of the workshop, you will fill out your OPT application online. Complete, print, and sign the forms.

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Meet with an OISS adviser to hand in your OPT application materials during open business hours.

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An OISS adviser will review your materials for accuracy and issue you a new I-20 that recommends you for OPT. You will be contacted when the new I-20 is ready to be picked up at OISS.

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Mail your application with a copy of the new I-20 to USCIS.

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Application processing with USCIS can take up to 90 days. Once you have received your OPT (EAD) card and reached your start date, you are eligible to begin employment.


 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Related Links

Change

Report updated OPT information to SEVIS

F-1 Students

 

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Employment Authorization