Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a work benefit allowed to international students in F-1 immigration status who are enrolled in, or completing a degree in the U.S. This employment can be used pre-completion of studies, over the annual vacation or leave term, or post-completion of studies, after the student finishes the degree.
Types of Optional Practical Training:
Whatever the scenario, the student must carefully plan when to participate in OPT because it is limited to only one year (12 months).
F-1 students who have been enrolled in legal status for a minimum of nine months are eligible for up to twelve (12) months of OPT work authorization by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Employment under OPT must be directly related to a student's field of study and appropriate to the level of education.
To be eligible for OPT, you must have:
PERIODS OF PARTICIPATION
You may participate in OPT:
WHEN TO APPLYThe earliest you may apply for OPT is 90 days (3 months) prior to the completion of studies, and the latest you may apply for OPT is 60 days following program completion. It can take several months to receive the OPT work card, so we recommend that you apply at least 90 days prior to the beginning of your intended job opportunity.
To apply for OPT authorization, you must make an appointment with the Office of International Education at 631-420-2624. At this meeting your advisor will check your eligibility, review your paperwork, and recommend OPT and put the application packet together. You will also need to fill out a I-765 Form.WHEN MAY YOU BEGIN WORKING?
You may begin working:
RESPONSIBILITIES WHILE ON OPT
You are still in F-1 status while on OPT and should be advised by the Office of International Education. You are required to report to the Office of International Education the following information:
The student must hold a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math), be hired by an employer signed up for the government program "E-Verify", and will have to apply for the 17-month extension on Form I-765 with Fee. Students who timely file an application for the 17-month OPT extension will be able to continue employment while the extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
TRAVEL WHILE ON OPT
You may travel while on OPT. However, please keep in mind that you are still in F-1
status and that you will need the following in order to re-enter the U.S.:
If your visa stamp has expired, or you have not received your EAD card, or you are not working yet, then please see an advisor before traveling during OPT. If you have graduated and have not applied for OPT, then you cannot travel and then return to apply for OPT later.AFTER OPT
You will be allowed a sixty-day grace period beyond the last day of training as indicated on the EAD card. You may not work during this time. You must notify the the office of International Education if you plan on transferring to another program after your OPT.