“Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on
work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.
You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently in active F-1 status.
- You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year in the U.S.
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.)
- You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for the 12-month OPT authorization
without a job offer.
- You have not previously completed 12 months of OPT at the same degree level.
- You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you
may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor's degree and then another
12 months after completing a master's degree. Extensions may be granted to students
in STEM fields. See the “STEM OPT Resources” link for more information.
- You may apply for OPT authorization during your academic program, after your program
completion, or a combination of both.”