Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training is employment that must also be directly related to the student’s field of study or degree program but is not required to be integrated into a student’s curriculum. F-1 students who have maintained lawful status can qualify for OPT after they have completed one academic year at a college or university. OPT can be either part time or full time, but the maximum amount of time it can last is 12 months. Part time OPT occurs prior to a students degree completion and is limited to 20 hours a week or less with a full time enrollment in coursework.  If a student works part time, the length of employment is only counted as half.  For example, if a student works for 6 months part time, only 3 of the total 12 months allowed is used.  Full-time OPT occurs when a student is not currently taking courses and is not limited to a certain number of hours per week.

 OPT can be completed in the following four ways:

Full or part-time OPT during a student’s annual vacation period or at another time when classes are not  in session if the student is currently enrolled and eligible and intends to register for the following academic term.  Part-time OPT while classes are in session, provided the employment does not exceed 20 hours per week and the student is registered for the 12 credit minimum.  Full-time employment after completion of a full course of study. To obtain authorization for OPT you must apply for it through USCIS. You can apply for OPT after completing an undergraduate degree, masters degree and doctoral program. Eligibility for a second and third OPT occurs when a student changes to a higher level of education. The twelve month maximum requirement for OPT time allowance must be completed within fourteen months of the student’s degreecompletion date. Authorization for OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfers to another school.

Optional Practical Training Application Checklist:

· Pick up a OPT application packet

· Complete EOU Off-Campus Employment Application form

· Complete Form I-765

· Complete academic advisor’s recommendation

· Complete Student Responsibility Statement

· Photocopies of all I-20 forms, I-94, passport and visa

· Check or money order for $380 (do not send cash)

· 2 passport style photographs


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