Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International Students can participate in training that is directly related to their majors using OPT authorization. OPT authorization must be filed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services based on a recommendation from ISS. Approval takes approximately 3 months. Most students use OPT after graduation to engage in 12 months of full-time employment.

Reporting OPT Employment and Address Changes

Please report your new employment, end of employment and new address through this online form!

Am I eligible? – all of the following criteria must be met:

  • You are currently in F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (two semesters) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
  • You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility)

How To Apply

The OPT application process can be complicated, so ISS offers OPT workshops each semester for graduating students, usually 3 to 4 weeks into the semester. If you’d like to start preparing to apply for OPT authorization, you can review the OPT Information Sheet and prepare the following documents to bring to the OPT workshop:

  • Copy of current and previous I-20s
  • Copy of valid passport photo page
  • Copy of current F-1 student visa
  • Print-out of I-94
  • Copy of front and back of SSN (if applicable)
  • Copy of front and back of previously issued EAD card (if applicable)

Are you a STEM major?  STEM students can apply for a 24-month STEM OPT Extension.  Learn more.