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Optional Practical Training

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) is benefit given to F-1 students that allows you to work off–campus in a job related to your field of study. This training must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) and requires an application process and fee.

You are given a benefit of OPT for a total of 12 months per educational level. This does not accumulate or carry-over to higher educational levels.


Other Reminders while on OPT:

  • You must continue to report any change of address to the ISSO within 10 days of your move. 
    Failure to do so may place your status in jeopardy.
  • You must report your employer information and any changes in employment while on OPT
  • Employment may not begin until your EAD card has been received.
  • OPT will allow you to work only in a job related to your major area of study.
  • Once authorized – you may accept employment anywhere in the United States – provided the employment is within your field of study.
  • While on OPT – you must get your I-20 signed every six months
  • If you transfer to another University to enter another degree program – your OPT authorization will automatically be terminated.
  • Review the FAQ’s on travel while on OPT.


Optional Practical Training - Instructions  (updated 2/2013)

F-1 OPT Request Form - this form has been revised and will be completed the student and the academic advisor

USCIS Application for Employment Authorization

Form I-765 (updated 2/28/2011)

Form I-765 Instructions (updated 2/28/2011)

Photo Requirements

Direct Filing Addresses for I-765 (updated 3/2/2010)

Travel while on OPT

New OPT Rules In Effect

STEM Extension Request Form

Responsibilities While on 17-Month STEM Extension

STEM Validation Report - must be completed every 6 months on 17-month STEM extension (mandatory)