Relevance of Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students, after finishing their degree at graduate level degree level in the United States are facilitated to undergo the OPT. The sole aim of OPT is to throw open an avenue for accessing an employment experience in the area of study which he student is undergoing. The Operational Practical Training (OPT) is recognized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) lasts for a period during which time the undergraduate as well as the under graduate students holding the F-1 status and have finished or have been undergoing their degrees for over nine months are allowed  by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to pursue some work for a maximum period of one year on a student visa without the necessity of accessing  a work H-1B visa for attaining the  practical training in support of  their domain  of study. 

These F-1 Visa students are allowed a total period of 12 months time for getting practical training, that is approved by the degree study adviser, which can be spread over between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as well as OPT.  Some of the students who hold the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree may be entitled to an extra 17 months of OPT apart from the normal 12-months of OPT. 

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) is provisional employment approval that facilitates F-1 students an occasion to use apply their understanding accessed in the classroom to a realistic work experience outside the campus.

  • Students who look forward to get an employment have to make an application for OPT.
  • Students mostly are entitled to make an application for OPT lasting for a total period of 12 months.  
  • Students are facilitated to make use of the OPT during the course of their study (pre-completion OPT) or once they finish their study (post-completion OPT).
  • In order to enroll for the pre-completion OPT, the students can apply for OPT at the USCIS up to a period of 90 days before getting enrolled themselves for full-time for an academic year or 90 days prior to the desired job beginning date for those students who have already satisfied the academic year conditions. You can enquiry at the International Student officer for further information.
  • Students are facilitated to make use of the pre-completion OPT as full time (with a minimum of 20 hours per week), or as part time (20 hours or less per week) and reduce it at a half time rate. You need to remember that full time work is not allowed when the school session is going on.
  • Students who desire to undergo the post-completion OPT can make an application at the USCIS up to 90 days prior to the date of the finishing of programme. You need to apply in advance! Do not hang around to get an offer for job. It is not necessary for you to get an employment offer, in order to make an application for post-completion OPT. You cannot work until you receive OPT approval.  If an International student intends to make application for post-completion OPT, the starting date ought to be before 60 days of the conclusion date of the studies by the student. Hence, an OPT application ought to be received by mail and approved for processing by the USCIS before 60 days after the date of completion of program. You can visit the official website of USCIS to get to know more on this.
  • Remember, the Post-completion employment ought to be full time (for a minimum of 20 hours per week).
  • Those students who stay back in the U.S. to undergo a second higher degree may be entitled for an extra period of OPT (For instance, OPT after completion of BA and then OPT after completion of masters or PhD).


  • In order to get entitled for initial 12 months OPT period, the student:
  • Needs to be a full-time student who is registered for a minimum of one full academic year
  • Has to be present in person in the United States
  • Has to possess a valid F-1 status while submitting the application
  • Needs to have a desire to work or intent to work in a professional development occasion directly connected with the major domain of study.



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