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Optional Practical Training. What is OPT? Optional Practical Training (OPT): Temporary employment that is directly related to a F-1 student’s major area.

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Presentation on theme: "Optional Practical Training. What is OPT? Optional Practical Training (OPT): Temporary employment that is directly related to a F-1 student’s major area."— Presentation transcript:

1 Optional Practical Training

2 What is OPT? Optional Practical Training (OPT): Temporary employment that is directly related to a F-1 student’s major area of study OPT is F-1 status Pre-completion OPT: Applicable to students who intend to do a paid practical training while they are pursuing degree Post-completion OPT: Applicable to students who intend to do a paid or non-paid practical training after they complete program of study (granted for 12 months per degree level) STEM extension OPT: A 17-month extension of OPT for students with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors

3 What is OPT? Cap Gap Extension: Allows certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status until the start date of their approved H-1B employment period, even if the OPT authorization and/or F-1 grace period would have otherwise expired before October 1. H1-B: visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine.

4 Eligibility & Requirements  Student must have enrolled in a degree program for a minimum of 1 year prior to applying  There is no job offer required prior to applying  Student may apply even if visa has expired  Student’s passport must be valid  Student must remain registered for a full- course of study while engaged in Pre- completion OPT (except during summer and winter break)

5 Important OPT Dates  Student can submit OPT application to USCIS anytime between 90 days before through 60 days after your program completion date.  Program completion date is NOT graduation day; it is the day student completes all program requirements.  USCIS needs to receive and key in OPT application information in their system before the 61st day of program completion date.  OPT start date can be anytime within 60 days after program completion date.  USCIS typically takes days to approve OPT application. During their busiest time (May-October), they often take longer than 90 days. Student may wait in the U.S. even if her/his 60 day grace period is over.  Student must start working within 90 days of OPT start date. 

6 Important OPT Dates  Example:

7 Employment  Job has to directly relate to F1 student’s major field of study.  Full-time, multiple full-time, part-time, multiple part-time, un- paid, volunteer work are all OK to maintain OPT status as long as the cumulative work hours is 20 hours/week or more.  If one job is secured to maintain OPT status, F1 student can take volunteer work that is not related to major field.  All paid jobs have to relate to major field.

8 Studying  Part-time non-matriculated, no-certificate program is OK during OPT.  OPT has to stop when F1 student enrolls in matriculated or certificate course.


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