Optional Practical Training

You are here

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. Authorization for optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and can take 2-4 months to obtain. 

OPT Eligibility

  • must be in full time student status for at least one full academic year preceding the submission of your OPT application

  • be maintaining valid F-1 status at the time of the application, and

  • intend to work in a position directly related to your major field of study.

Here is an OPT video that explains the process. 

For detailed instructions please see the ISS OPT Application Form.

Once you have completed and turned in your application to ISS, we will process your request and issue you a new I-20 form. With a copy of this new I-20 and the other materials listed in the ISS OPT application form, you will mail your OPT application to the USCIS.  USCIS will process your request and issue your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if it is approved.

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

G-1145 - USCIS E-Notification

24-Month STEM OPT Extension

Post-completion Optional Practical Training can be extended by 24 months for certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree holders that meet the requirements.

ISS 24- Month Extension Request Form

ISS will need a copy of the completed Form I-983 before your request can be processed.  See the I-983 tutorial for help.