US Students: OPT Information
Q: What is “OPT”?
A: Optional Practical Training (OPT) 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 used pre-completion of studies, over the annual vacation or leave term, or post-completion of studies, after the student finishes the degree.
Q: What is the duration of OPT employment authorization:
A: the initial post-completion period for which students can apply is 12 months, less any OPT time used pre-completion. The requested employment start date must be between the end of program date, and 60 days later. The employment authorization will begin on the date requested or the date the employment authorization is adjudicated, whichever is later. Exception: The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.
Am I eligible for OPT?
A: 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 (OPT) work authorization by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Employment under OPT must be directly related to a student’s field of study and appropriate to the level of education.
Q: Do I need a job to be eligible to apply for OPT?
A: No, you do not need a job offer prior to applying for OPT, and your job may be anywhere in the United States. You may also change jobs during the course of your OPT period, but you must notify our office of any interruption or change to your employment.
When can I apply for OPT?
A: The earliest you may apply for OPT is 90 days (3-months) prior to the completion of studies*, and the latest you may apply for OPT 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.
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