Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an extension of F-1 student status that allows international students to work in the United States in order to gain practical experience. 

OPT Online Application

OPT Timeline
The OPT must be recommended on your I-20 by an ISSO advisor, and it must be authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS – Division of the Department of Homeland Security).

Please review the OPT FAQs for a detailed overview of OPT rules and application procedures.

Refer to our checklist to make sure you have a complete application mailed to USCIS. You may refer to our supplemental guide in addition to USCIS's instructions on completing the USCIS form I-765 for Employment Authorization.

A Note of Caution to F-1 Students: Do not begin any off-campus employment (paid or unpaid) without first obtaining employment authorization.  Working off-campus without obtaining employment authorization is a serious violation of F-1 student status.

Reporting Employment and Address Changes while on OPT

As of March 23, 2018, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) launched the SEVP Portal. The portal is a tool that F-1 students on post-completion optional practical training (OPT) can use to report changes to their home address, telephone number and employer information. You will receive an automated email from SEVP with an invitation to create an account after your OPT has been approved. For more information about the SEVP Portal visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevp-portal-help

Any updates to employment or address information should be made within 10 days of the change. 

If you need an updated I-20 based on new employer information, please request a print of your I-20 after submitting your update to the Portal.