Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment

About Optional Practical Training: 

Optional Practical Training is an off-campus employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience. To be eligible for Optional Practical Training, an F-1 student must meet the following basic requirements:

·         Be in F-1 visa status. 

·          Be in a degree-seeking program and be in good academic status. 

·         Have completed at least one academic year (nine months) of your program as a full-time student. 

·         Not have used more than twelve months of OPT in the past at your current degree level. 

You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT, although once you are approved for OPT, the time is deducted from your 12 months regardless of whether or not you actually work.

If you are interested in either post-completion OPT or in the STEM program, please scroll down the page to read the elibigility requirements for those programs. 

OPT requires an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS may take up to three months to process an application for OPT. It is recommended that you apply as early as possible. 

If you are interested in applying for OPT, please stop by International Student Services to pick up an application.  


Optional Practical Training (OPT) Spotlight: 

A blank photo (new spotlight coming soon)Mayumi Iwata, a Japan native has recently completed her degree in Deaf Education and Elementary Education. Iwata successful completed this dual program at Gallaudet University in December 2012. After graduating from her program, Iwata took advantage of a wonderful opportunity and obtained a position teaching fourth grade at the California School for the Deaf through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Mayumi Iwata describes her overall experience with Optional Practical Training to be excellent crediting it for how the job she received effectively matched the degree she had obtained from Gallaudet University.This training experience provided her a sample of what opportunities lay ahead.

When asked if she had any advice for future students considering taking advantage of this opportunity Mayumi stated "If there is a job that fits your degree then why not take advantage of this opportunity. The one-year time limit may be short, but the experience you gain is worth it. You can apply the work experience and training you receive through this program and to your home country when you return."

F-1 Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

 In order to be eligible for Post-Completion OPT, the following must apply:

· You must have been a full-time student at Gallaudet for at least one academic year.

·  You must currently be in F-1 status.

·  You must be in good academic standing at the time of application

· You must have made normal, full-time progress toward degree completion.

·  You must not have used more than 12 months of pre-completion OPT in the past at your current degree level.

·  You must not have been authorized for more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training.

·  You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT, although once you are approved for OPT, the time is deducted from your 12 months regardless of whether you actually work.

F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT)

In order to be eligible for the 17-month OPT extension, the following must apply:

·  You must have received a degree included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. The current list of STEM degrees can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm.

·  You must have a maintaining valid F-1 status

·  STEM employment may be authorized only to you with current post-completion OPT authorization.

 ·  STEM employment is authorized for only full-time employment after the completion of program requirements and current OPT.

·  Authorization ends 17 months after end of initial period of standard post-completion OPT.

·  STEM application must be received by USCIS prior to end of initial period of post-completion OPT.


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