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Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows F-1 students to engage in temporary training directly related to their field of study. 

Different OPT Categories: 

There are three different types of OPT. Pre-completion OPT is OPT that students can engage in before completion of their studies. Post-completion OPT is OPT that students can engaged in after completion of their studies. Students who majored in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) fields may be eligible to apply for STEM OPT extension after completion of post-completion OPT.  

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • Maintained F-1 student status at the time of application. 
  • Be enrolled full time for three consecutive quarters before OPT benefit starts (time spent studying full time in a status other than F-1 may be counted)
  • Has not exceeded 12 months of full time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). 

Disclaimer: ISSS is able to provide students with general guidance on how to apply for OPT and maintenance of F-1 student status during OPT.  However, any advice provided to students by our office, as well as information on this website, should not be construed as legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, U.S. government entities may change its interpretation of these immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits, at any time. We will do our best to provide students with the most current guidance.  Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that students contact experienced immigration attorneys or seek advice from USCIS officers at a USCIS Field Office .