Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an off-campus employment benefit for F-1 international students. You do not need to have a job offer to apply but your proposed employment must be in your major field of study.
Students are allowed a total of 12 months of employment at every degree level. Students with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) may be eligible for a 24 month extension of OPT. Students who have participated in 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training will not be eligible for OPT.
Employment is permitted only after you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), and only during the period specified on the card.
If you decide not to submit your application to USCIS after receiving the OPT endorsed I-20, please contact Bechtel International Center.
It may possible to withdraw the OPT application prior to approval by USICS.
Once the EAD is issued, it is not possible to change or cancel the authorized employment.
OPT processing times may take 115-120 days. Once the application is adjudicated, it will take 5-20 business days to receive final notice. The EAD usually arrives within 3 - 5 working days after being mailed to the student.
To be eligible for OPT, you must
You must posses a valid EAD and I-20 endorsed for OPT by the time you go to work.