Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training is defined as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major/area of study."
- You must be lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis (12 credit hours) for nine (9) consecutive months before being eligible. OPT is available both before and after completion of the educational objective, but different rules apply pre- and post-completion OPT.
Pre-completion OPT - completed during official school breaks (Jan term, Winter Break, Spring Break etc.)
Post-completion OPT - completed after student has completed all coursework required for educational objective.
**those pursuing an English Language training program is NOT eligible for OPT.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I work?
You may engage in OPT for any employer for the duration of OPT authorization.
How long can I work?
You can accumulate a maximum of 12 months during any uninterrupted stay in F-1 status.
How many hours can I work?
Twenty (20) hours a week (part-time) limit for pre-completion OPT. Anything over twenty (20) hours
per week (full time) can be requested as pre-completion OPT or after student has completed all coursework required for their educational objective. Post-completion OPT can only be requested at full-time basis (40 hours or more).
What kind of job can I get?
The job must be DIRECTLY related to and commensurate with the level of your course of study.
Do I need a job offer to apply?
No offer of employment is required to apply but you are expected to work or be looking for employment after OPT is authorized.
What can affect OPT authorization?
- Prior use of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for one year or more eliminates you from OPT eligibility.
- Use of part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT.
IMPORTANT- OPT application must be received by USCIS BEFORE your last day of classes.
When can I begin work?
You must apply for and receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card from USCIS before you can begin employment.
You must start your position within ninety (90) days from the date on the EAD card.