Optional Practical Training Overview
Optional Practical Training (OPT) gives an F-1 student the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a degree program through off-campus employment after completion of all degree requirements.
Employment approval takes at least 90 days, so careful planning is required.
Helpful Acronyms and Terms
- OPT — Optional Practical Training
- USCIS — U.S. Customs and Immigration Service
- EAD Card — Employment Authorization Document
- SEVP — Student and Exchange Visitor Program
- Grace Period — the 60 days following the last day of the quarter you complete the requirements for your degree OR the 60 days following your authorized OPT period
- OPT Timelines
- Handout for Employers — A handout to help educate potential employers about hiring international students
- Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act — A factsheet from the U.S. Department of Labor
- Employment for F-1 Students On, Off Campus and International Interns — Basic employment guidelines from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Pursuing Employment in the United States — How to navigate the U.S immigration system
- Social Security and Tax Issues — Information about social security and medicare tax exemptions