F-1 OPT Visa Information (Recently Graduated Students)

Employment of Recently Graduated Students

OPT is temporary employment authorization allowing F-1 students the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study. Immigration regulations require that Optional Practical Training be used by students for employment related to the student’s field of study, usually after completion of all degree requirements have been met.

In order for a student to begin OPT employment they are required to have an EAD Card (Employment Authorization Document issued by USCIS), apply for or have a Social Security Card and must be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Please ensure that you are not anticipating or expecting OPT students to work outside of the authorized dates. OPT is granted for full-time employment regardless of part- or full-time employment.

Post-Completion OPT is the most common type of OPT application. Any pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12-months of post-completion OPT. Authorization is granted for one 12-month period of OPT at the completion of each academic level obtained (e.g. 12-months of OPT at the undergraduate level, masters, and Ph.D.). Any student who applied and was approved for OPT at one academic level may not apply for a second period of OPT at the same level. Students in approved STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines are eligible to apply for 24 month extensions.