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.

Conditions for Optional Practical Training:

  1. You must be in good legal F-1 status and in the last semester of your academic program.
  2. Your I-94 departure Record must indicate F-1 status.
  3. Your passport must be valid for at least the duration of the Employment Authorization.
  4. You may begin work only after you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS. The EAD Document is a plastic identification card with your photograph, fingerprint, signature and validity of your permission to work
  5. USCIS authorizes OPT employment for a maximum period of twelve months, with certain exceptions.
  6. Working under Curricular Practical Training Employment Authorization for a period of 12 months or more on a full-time basis eliminates OPT
  7. Previous Economic Hardship Employment Authorization and occasional or part-time CPT will not diminish any time from the allowed twelve months for Optional Practical Training.
  8. With an OPT Employment Authorization you are allowed to work only in a field that is directly related to your major.
  9. Processing time takes from 60  to 120 days and you may apply no sooner than 120 days before your graduation. You must apply before the 60h day following your graduation.

Application Procedures for OPT:

Applications packets are available from the Office of International Student Services (IS) located in Jarvis 208. These packets will contain the following documents:

The USCIS will acknowledge receipt of your request in 3 to 4 weeks and notify you of their decision in writing in 2 to 3 months.


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