OPT application: man walking alone on a wooden bridge in America

What is OPT? (Pocket Guide for US study aspirants)

Confused about what ‘OPT’ is, and how you should go about it? Worry not- we’ve put together a pocket guide that answers all the FAQs that students generally have on this topic.  For more information, feel free to ping us on our Facebook page; we’ll be more than happy to help you out!

What does this mean? 

Optional Practical Training is a work benefit allowed to international students in F-1 immigration status who are enrolled in, or completing a degree program in the U.S. This employment can be managed in the following ways:

  1. Pre-completion of studies
  2. Over the annual vacation or a leave
  3. Post-completion of studies
  4. After the student finishes the degree.

What is the duration of OPT employment authorization? 

Students can apply for 12 months. This is the initial post-completion period. The requested employment start date must be between the program’s end-date and 60 days later.

Exception: The employment authorization period for the 17-month extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.

Am I eligible for OPT?

F-1 students who have been enrolled in legal status for a minimum of nine months are eligible for up to twelve (12) months of Optional Practical Training work authorization by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Employment must relate to the student’s field.

Do I need a job to be eligible to apply for OPT?

No, you do not need a job offer prior to applying for it, and your job may be anywhere in the United States. You may also change jobs during the course of your waiting period, but you must notify our office of any interruption or change to your employment.

When can I apply for OPT?

The earliest you may apply for itis 90 days (3-months) prior to the completion of studies. The latest you may apply for it is 60 days following program completion. It can take several months to receive the OPT work card, so we recommend that you apply at least 90 days prior to the beginning of your intended job opportunity.


Have more questions? Give us a call at 022-25681775 or +91 9820611001



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