Optional practical training (OPT) is a form of work permission that allows F-1 students to work off-campus anywhere in the United States in a field related to their area of study. Students do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. Students may apply for Pre-Completion practical training and/or Post completion practical training.

While participating in OPT, you may work:

  • Part-time during the semester (pre completion)
  • Full or part-time during the summer, or
  • Full-time after completion of the course of study (post completion practical training).

You are eligible for a maximum of 12 months of full-time practical training for each educational level (with a possibility of a 24 month extension request, in effect until May 9th, 2016, once you are participating in your 12 month OPT for those students employed by E-Verify employers and for those students who hold STEM degrees. That is in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, talk to ISSS Staff for more information). You must however complete your practical training within 24 months of finishing your degree.

Any periods of OPT used before the completion of studies will be deducted from the total twelve month period available. (Students enrolled in Intensive English are not eligible for OPT)