Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This page provides information about Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Please click on the links below to view information about OPT application processes and requirements.

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Trainging (OPT)

Pre-completion OPT is employment authorized before the completion of a student's program of study. Students may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and more than 20 hours while school is not in session. For example, students may work beyond 20 hours per week during an authorized summer vacation term or during official school breaks.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 12 Month Application

OPT is temporary employment authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security to F-1 students. F-1 students may use OPT to participate in employment related to their degree following graduation.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 24 Month Extension Application

The U.S. government published a new set of rules that will become effective on May 10, 2016.  Among the changes include an extended period of OPT STEM up to 24 months instead of 17 months, requirements for a special Training Plan to list learning objectives and expected outcomes, and new responsibilities for employers.  ISSS is in the process of updating this website with the new information.  If your 12-month OPT is ending soon as you are planning to apply for an OPT STEM extension, you should consult an ISSS advisor first because the timing of the application will be crucial during this transition period through the end of May.  Please continue to watch this site for updates.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Reporting Requirement

While on OPT you are still legally required to report certain information to ISSS. Changes to any of the following must be reported within 10 days of certain events.

H-1B Cap-Gap Extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Current regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.

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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15