According to uscis official definition ,Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study.
Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). However, all periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT.
Types of OPT
All OPT must be directly related to the student’s major area of study. Students may participate in OPT in two different ways:
- Pre-completion OPT: F-1 students may apply to participate in pre-completion OPT after they have been enrolled in school for one full academic year. Students authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT must work part-time while school is in session. They may work full time when school is not in session.
- Post-completion OPT: F-1 students may apply to participate in post-completion OPT after completing their studies. Students authorized for post-completion OPT may work part-time (at least 20 hours per week) or full-time.
STEM OPT Extension
Students who have earned degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT employment authorization if they:
- Are an F-1 student who received a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List (PDF),
- Are employed by an employer enrolled in E-Verify, and
- Received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization based on their STEM degree
Applying for OPT： Generally, if you are an F-1 student who wants to apply for OPT, you must:
- Request that your designated school official (DSO) at your academic institution recommend the OPT. Your DSO will make the recommendation by endorsing your Form I-20 and making the appropriate notation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
- Properly file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS, accompanied by the required fee and the supporting documentation as described in the form instructions.