OPT Overview and OPT, H1B, LPR Workshops

Overview of  Initial 12 months Optional Practical Training:

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in your major field of study.  Its purpose is to complement your academic work. There are two types of Optional Practical Training: 

  • 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 (20 hours or less) while school is in session. They may work full time (20 hours or more) when school is not in session.You use pre-completion OPT before finishing your program of study. For most students, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a better option. It allows for off-campus work authorization in your field of study without using any of the 12 months of OPT time. See our web site for a detailed description of Curricular Practical Training.
  • Post-Completion OPT: F-1 students may apply to participate in post-completion OPT after completing their studies. Students authorized for post-completion OPT must work at least 20 hours per week or more. 

Please Note:  Students may participate in OPT both before and after completing their studies. However, all periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT. Also, study in another degree or a higher educational level while engaged in optional practical training is not permitted. Full time study is prohibited during OPT. You may study on an incidental basis which is defined as part time, non-degree status or a certificate program. If you do choose to pursue a new degree and an I-20 is issued, your OPT will be forfeited as of the start date listed on the new I-20

A student may be authorized for the initial 12 months of practical training, and become eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher  educational level.

Accruing time on Pre-Completion OPT 

Pre-Completion OPT counts towards your twelve-month total. Part-time (20 hours per week or less) will count 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 optional practical training. Any amount up to 20 hours is considered as part-time and will be deducted at that rate.

Workshop Information

If you are interested in attending a workshop to gain valuable knowledge about the process before you apply for OPT, OPT STEM, H1B or LPR; then the ISSS office offers several workshops a semester to help you begin the process. You canfind the workshop schedule by clicking here.

The OPT Workshop PowerPoint presentations can be downloaded by clicking here.