Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment authorization that provides an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in an academic program to a practical work experience.
Read through each section of this web guide for detailed information and instructions about what OPT is, how to apply for it, and much more.
Description and Eligibility
Learn about what OPT is, as well as eligibility requirements for applying for F-1 OPT.
When To Apply
Whether you apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT, you need to apply as early as possible because you need to have your work authorization card (EAD) to start working and to travel.
To apply for OPT you must first review all sections of the OPT pages of this site, and then complete the forms and gather the necessary materials described on this page.
Requirements and types of employment allowed on post-completion OPT.
What you must report while on post-completion OPT. The consequences for not following all of the rules for maintaining OPT status are more severe in the current immigration environment.
There are certain travel considerations for people on OPT, learn more here.
Cap Gap Extension
If your OPT is expiring before your H-1B status begins, you may be eligible to extend your OPT for a few months in order to continue working.
If you plan to continue working in the U.S. after your OPT period, there are a variety of employer-sponsored work visas that may be available to you depending on your employer, the kind of work you engage in, your qualifications and your citizenship.
STEM OPT Extension
F-1 students with degrees in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) may be eligible for an extension of their Post-Completion OPT work permission.