International Students and Scholars Office

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of work authorization that permits F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study while in the United States. OPT is not a visa; rather, it is a type of employment benefit for F-1 students who are maintaining their visa status. In order to be eligible for OPT, students must first apply for an OPT recommendation I-20 from the ISSO. Upon receiving the I-20, students then mail their documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adjudication. 

There are three(3) types of OPT:

Work experience that is permitted during the student’s academic program (before the student’s program end date that is printed on the I-20).
Students interested in pre-completion OPT must consult with your International Student Advisor for more information.


Work experience that occurs after the student’s academic program ends.
Please visit the Post-Completion OPT page for additional information.


Additional 24-months of work authorization for students who are in an approved period of post-completion OPT and have a degree in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors on DHS’ STEM Designated Degree Program list. Please visit the STEM OPT Extension page for additional information.


OPT Cap-Gap Extension

The Cap-Gap Extension is an automatic extension of F-1 status and work authorization past the EAD End Date, for students transitioning to an H-1B work visa. Please visit the OPT Cap-Gap Extension page for additional information.

Upcoming Events

CEU Footer