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Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

OPT is program that allows F-1 students to gain experience working in their field after graduation. OPT is authorized for 1-3 years depending on your field of study. OPT is completed at the end of your program. It is important to begin planning for OPT before your graduation date.

Applying for OPT

OPT applications involve International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), your academic or faculty advisor, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Appling for OPT has multiple steps, and we recommend that you begin your application 90 days before your graduation date.

We have created a guide on the OPT process at How to Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

We also require that you complete a training seminar online at Optional Practical Training (OPT) Seminar.

Reporting Requirements while on OPT

All students currently on OPT must report the following information within 10 days of any change. Use the OPT Reporting Form to report the information.

  • Change of name or address
  • Beginning or ending a job
  • Change in name or address of the employer
  • Interruption or loss of employment
  • Change of status from F-1 to a new status
  • Departure from the US

Unemployment on OPT

While on OPT, a student must be employed to maintain F-1 status. Students are allowed only 90 days of unemployment. If you are approaching 90 days of unemployment, contact an international student advisor to discuss your options. These options could include leaving the US, beginning a new degree program, or changing to a different immigration status.