Graduate International Student Admissions & Services
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment for practical training that is directly related to the student's program of study. F-1 students may receive 12 months of OPT per educational level.
May 2013 Graduates
- Earliest date to apply: February 10, 2013
- Latest date to apply: July 3, 2013
- OPT Guide – Covers all aspects of OPT, 17-month STEM extension and Cap Gap Relief.
- OPT workshop dates - Coming soon
- OPT workshop presentation slides - Coming soon
- GISAS OPT forms
- Pre-Completion OPT - Part-time work while continuing as a full-time student
- Coursework Completion OPT - Part-time or full-time work for students who have completed all course work excluding thesis or dissertation
- Post-Completion OPT - Full-time work after graduation
- H-1B Cap Gap Relief - Between OPT and H-1B
- 17-Month OPT Extension - Second OPT for students in certain degrees
General Application Process
- Review the requirements and processes for your selected OPT type.
- Complete the appropriate forms.
- Submit required documents to Graduate International Student Admissions & Services.
- The graduate international student advisor will issue your OPT Form I-20 and email you further instructions.
- Applicants for pre- and post-completion OPT will schedule an OPT appointment with the graduate international student advisor at which their OPT application will be assembled.
- Applicants for 17-Month OPT extension will assemble their own OPT application packet.
- All students are responsible for mailing their OPT application packets to USCIS for processing.
- USCIS processing time for OPT applications is approximately 3 months. If approved, USCIS will mail you an Employment Authorization Card for OPT.
Requirements During OPT
- Limit unemployment
- Employment is directly related to program of study
- Report changes in employment and address
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) limits the number of days of unemployment permitted during OPT.
- Students in standard OPT Period – Limited to a maximum of 90 days during the Post-Completion OPT period.
- Students with a 17-Month OPT Extension – An additional 30 days is provided, limiting unemployment to a combined total maximum of 120 days during the 27-month OPT period.
Students should report all periods of employment to avoid unnecessary accrual of unemployment days.
DHS has ruled that acceptable employment during standard OPT can include standard employment, contract employment, self-employment and volunteer positions. Employment during 17-Month OPT extension must be with an E-Verify employer. All employment must be directly related to the student’s program of study and average no more than 20 hours per week for part-time OPT and average more than 20 hours per week for full-time. Please refer to the OPT Guide for more details.
Students participating in OPT are required to report any change of official name, address, employer name and address, and change of employment status within 10 days of each change. Students participating in 17-Month OPT extension must also submit validation reports 6 months and 12 months after the start of the extension period. Failure to fulfill all reporting requirements may result in termination of F-1 status. Refer to the OPT Guide for reporting instructions.
International Travel During OPT
- Valid, unexpired passport with an expiration date at least six months into the future
- Valid, unexpired visa
- OPT Form I-20
- OPT Employment Authorization card
- Proof of employment