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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month period in which international students who are currently enrolled or have graduated from a U.S. college or university are given special work authorization. OPT can be authorized as pre-completion or post-completion. OPT is designed to allow students to gain valuable working experience in the area of their most recent degree.

Pre-completion OPT can be authorized while a student is still attending school and pursuing a degree in higher education. If a student chooses to engage in pre-completion OPT, he or she may not work more 20 hours per week while school is in session but may work full time during his or her annual vacation and other times when the school is not in session. In addition, the student’s eligible period of post-completion OPT will be reduced by one month for every two months of part-time pre-completion OPT when he or she graduates.

Students on OPT may not enroll in classes, including online courses, at another education level. Enrolling in classes at another educational level, part-time or full-time results in automatic termination of OPT.

Post-completion OPT may be used following the completion of a student’s degree. The student is still considered to be of valid F-1 Status by the U.S. government for the duration of their post-completion OPT period. A student is eligible for one period of OPT per degree level (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate).

Please note: Students cannot work until the start date of their approved OPT and they must have their card in hand, this includes any job-related training.


Application Process

Optional Shipping Instructions (eShipGlobal) – Only applicable for paper filing

Reporting Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

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