Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is an F-1 student benefit that allows you to work off-campus in a job related to your major. It is meant to supplement your academic experience with practical experience.

Looking for Updates on OPT during the COVID-19 Crisis?

Any changes or updates related to OPT are regularly updated on our COVID FAQ page. Please be sure to check the page for information before contacting ISS.

Not Sure Which Type of Work Authorization is Best?

Read our information comparing common F-1 off-campus employment authorizations to determine which is most appropriate for your situation. 

  • 1/19/21
    Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training may be used before graduation.  It is meant to supplement your academic experience with practical experience.
  • 2/17/21
    Post-Completion Optional Practical Training may be used before or after graduation.  Read more to find how Post-Completion OPT is used in different circumstances.
  • 9/15/20
    Learn what you must do to maintain your F-1 status while you are on Post-Completion OPT.
  • 9/15/20
    The Cap Gap is the period after F-1 students’ OPT has expired, but before their H-1B work authorization begins on October 1. The OPT Cap Gap Extension automatically extends F-1 students’ immigration status and work authorization in order to bridge the gap between the end of their F-1 status and the start of their H-1B status.
  • 2/2/21
    F-1 students with STEM degrees in fields listed on the ICE STEM Designated Degree Program List may be eligible for the OPT STEM Extension.
  • 10/8/20
    To maintain your F-1 status while on a 24-Month OPT STEM Extension, you must satisfy a number of requirements.


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