Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to international students who have been in valid F-1 status for two semesters and who plan to seek employment in their field of study. OPT is recommended in the SEVIS system by the International Advisor but final approval is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Important Information about OPT
- One year of OPT is available after completing each higher level degree program.
- The training must be directly related to the student’s field of study.
- The training may occur before or after the program of study.
- Pre-completion practical training may be part time during the student’s studies or full time during vacations and official school breaks. Post-completion OPT must be full time.
- A job offer is not required to apply for OPT, but students can accumulate no more than 90 days of unemployment while on OPT.
- All 12 months of OPT must be used within the 14-month period following the completion of study after each level of education.
- The employment may occur anywhere in the U.S.
- No special permission is required to change employers or terminate your employment.
- During the period of OPT, a student continues in F-1 status, since OPT is considered as part of the program of study.
- Once you complete your degree, you cannot work on-campus or off-campus until you have your EAD.
- OPT is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level.
- OPT fails when the student fails to comply with F-1 regulations.
- The application requires: a recommendation in SEVIS by the DSO and filing of a form I-765 with the USCIS Service Center. If approved, USCUS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment may not begin until the start date on the EAD.
- Application should be made for post completion OPT no sooner than 90 days before the program end date on form I-20 and no later than 60 days after the program end date.
Note on Health Insurance: Students who complete a program of study are no longer eligible to purchase the Judson Student Health Insurance Plan.