What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months are permitted by the USCIS to work towards getting practical training to complement their field of studies. 

While there is some right to work under OPT while still in school (“pre-completion OPT”), the main use for OPT is the right to work for 12 months after completion of a degree (“post-completion OPT”).

One update to OPT is that students who have graduated from a US college or university with a specific degree in the STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - can apply to extend their OPT for an additional 17 months, bringing their total post-graduation OPT available time up to 29 months.

Students must visit International Services to determine if they are eligible for OPT and must have their SEVIS record (I-20) updated as part of the application process.


  • Students must be in status in order to apply.
  • Students must be in good academic standing and cannot be on any type of academic warning or probation.
  • Students must have completed a full course of study for one academic year before applying
  • Job offer is not a prerequisite for OPT.
  • Students are eligible for 12 months of OPT per academic level—associate, bachelor’s level, master’s and doctoral.
  • Students are not eligible for OPT if they complete a higher degree in the U.S. and then revert down to a lower-level degree.


Application Process:


Article ID: 24689
Fri 2/10/17 3:08 PM
Wed 10/4/17 11:13 AM