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Visa Information

F1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International students in F-1 status can be authorized for optional practical training (OPT) for periods of time either before or after the completion of their programs of study. A total of 12 months of such training authorization can be given to a student during his or her stay in the United States. As of April 2008, students completing degree programs in certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields may be eligible for an additional 17 months of OPT. Optional practical training that is granted for periods of time before a student completes the program of study will be deducted from the 12 months allowed. For example, a student who engaged in 3 months of optional practical training during the summer vacation period preceding his/her final year of study would have only 9 months of optional practical training authorization remaining of the original 12 months. If a student uses his/her allotment of optional practical training after the completion of a bachelor’s degree and then goes on for the master’s degree, he/she is eligible for more optional practical training. There are several conditions which must be met, and procedures which must be followed for students to be granted optional practical training:

  1. You must be in continuous F-1 status for at least one academic year (9 months) just prior to your application for optional practical training.
  2. Optional practical training employment must be directly related to your field of study and appropriate to your academic level.
  3. Optional practical training can be granted under the following conditions:
    1. during the summer vacation period, or
    2. after the completion of your academic program

Eligibility

Criteria

Application and Authorization

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