Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment authorization benefit for F-1 students, allowing students to work in a job directly related to their major area of study for a maximum of 12 months per academic level.  Most students who apply for OPT plan to use their 12-month period of OPT immediately following graduation, or soon after.  Students interested in applying for OPT should take steps to learn about the application process (and what is and is not permitted with OPT authorization), and should contact their International Student Advisor for specific application  procedures at their college.

For information on the 24-Month STEM OPT Extension, please visit the 24 Month OPT Extension Page, linked here.

Information on Optional Practical Training

Use the links below to navigate through information about OPT:

OPT Eligibility Requirements and Types of Employment Permitted

Find out if you are eligible to apply for OPT and learn about which types of employment are permitted under OPT. Other frequently asked questions answered.

When and How to Apply for OPT

Timing of OPT application and required application materials.

Maintaining F-1 Status While on OPT

During the OPT period, students are still considered to be in F-1 immigration status and must maintain F-1 status at all times so that their OPT remains valid. The requirements of maintaining status change during the post-completion period and should be taken seriously.

Information on the 24-Month STEM Extension

Students graduating from a STEM-designated degree program may be eligible for an additional 24-month extension.

Helpful Links

OPT Information Page (for all students planning to apply for OPT) | OPT Application Information | Maintaining Your F-1 Status During OPT
STEM OPT Extension Information Page (for students currently engaged in OPT, only – includes application and other important information)
Form I-765 : Application for Employment Authorization
Form Instructions for I-765
Study in the States: USCIS Explains the Form I-765
Direct Filing (Mailing) Address for Form I-765
USCIS Form Filing Tips
Form I-94 : Travel Records for U.S. Visitors 
Form G-1145: E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
Information on the H-1B “Cap-Gap
Employer Update Form (for CMC alumni)