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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is Optional Practical Training?

Optional Practical Training allows F-1 students 12 months of full-time, practical work experience in their field of study per degree level.  Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)

OPT Eligibility

F-1 students who have been enrolled in full-time (or approved Reduced Course Load) degree status for a minimum of one academic year in a valid non-immigration status may be eligible to apply for OPT.  If you have questions about your eligibility to apply for OPT, meet with an ISSS advisor.
Any proposed OPT employment must directly relate to the student’s field of study to be eligible for OPT.

Important Notes for OPT

  • While on OPT, you will no longer be eligible for student health insurance after August of your graduation year. You may want to enroll in your employer’s insurance benefit or seek individual options.
  • You have a 60-day grace period after your OPT completion date. During that time, you may apply for change of status, transfer your record electronically to another school or prepare to leave the United States.
  • When you leave the United States, make sure to use official ports of departure to exit the US. Allow time at airports and land crossings to complete exit interview, even if traveling to Mexico and Canada, if you are subject to Special Registration.
  • If you leave the US before your OPT ends, please communicate to the ISSS office, so that your SEVIS record could be properly marked as completed, so you have a clean record for future visas applications.

Steps to Apply for OPT ►