Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows eligible F-1 students to work off-campus in jobs directly related to their major area of study. The maximum authorization is for 12 months, and most students use OPT after graduation (this is called Post-Completion OPT). Students may choose to use OPT part-time while enrolled in their program (Pre-Completion OPT).  Since the application goes through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the process can take several months, it is a good idea to plan early. Please see the OPT handout for details, below.

OPT Handout


Apply for Post-Completion OPT (full-time)


Apply for Pre-Completion OPT (part-time)


Important Information for Students on OPT

Requirement to update changes while you are on OPT

  1. Create your SEVP Portal Account. Update information in the SEVP Portal
  2. Obtain your updated I-20 form from an F-1 specialist


For other options for off-campus work that are not commonly used due to narrow eligibility requirements, please talk to an F-1 specialist at International Education.