Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a type of temporary employment that allows you to do practical training directly related to your program of study for the purpose of complementing your academic work. You may take part in OPT employment for a maximum of 12 months per educational level.


  • Have been in lawful status as a full-time student for one full academic year
  • Available both before and after completion of a degree 


  • Student may engage in OPT only for any employer for the duration of authorization, as long as the employment qualifies under OPT standards


  • Cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level
  • Part-time training counts at one-half the full-time rate (For example, if you work for 10 hours per week for two months, you will have used one month of OPT) 

Hours per

  • Limited to 20 hours/week during the student's studies
  • Full-time during official school breaks and after program completion

of Work

  • Must be directly related to student's field of study and commensurate with the student's educational level and may occur anywhere in the United States

Offer of 

  • No job offer is required when applying but after OPT starts, you have a maximum of 90 days of unemployment.

Effect on 
Other Work

  • Prior use of full-time CPT for one year (365 days) or more eliminates eligibility for OPT


  • Submit the application 90 days before the work start date and must be filed with USCIS prior to the completion of the course of study.
  • Must apply for and receive an EAD from USCIS before work begins

What to 

  • Complete internal school OPT request forms
  • Academic advisor's OPT recommendation form
  • Student information sheet
  • Two passport photos
  • I-20 with DSO recommendation for OPT (photocopy)
  • Completed form I-765
  • Application fee of $380
  • Photocopies of passport photo page, and renewal page (if applicable)
  • Photocopies of I-94 (both sides)
  • Photocopies of old I-20's and visa page
  • Previous EAD (if applicable; photocopy)


More Information

Authorization May Not Be Rescinded or Deferred. Once authorization to engage in OPT is granted and the EAD is issued, it may not be rescinded, canceled, or deferred. This means that after OPT is authorized, unexpected delays in completing degree requirements, inability to find an appropriate job, or loss of a job may reduce the time you have available for work.

International Student Office